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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 12
2012
HOU at DET (THU) *BAL at SD *MIN at CHI *SF at NO
NE at NYJ (THU) BUF at IND *OAK at CIN *STL at ARI
WAS at DAL (THU) DEN at KC PIT at CLE TEN at JAC
*UPDATED *ATL at TB GB at NYG SEA at MIA *CAR at PHI (MON)

Prediction: MIN 20, CHI 23 (Line: CHI by 6)

Players Updated: Percy Harvin, Jay Cutler

Players to Watch: Jason Campbell, any CHI receiver besides Brandon Marshall. Anyone. Anyone at all.

The 6-4 Vikings hit the road where they are only 1-3 to face the 7-3 Bears who are on a two game losing streak. This is one of those schedule quirks where these teams play this week and again in two weeks. The Bears swept the Vikings last year, winning 39-10 at home and later 17-13 in Minnesota.

Minnesota Vikings
Homefield: Metrodome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 JAC 26-23 10 DET 34-24
2 @IND 20-23 11 BYE -----
3 SF 24-13 12 @CHI -----
4 @DET 20-13 13 @GB -----
5 TEN 30-7 14 CHI -----
6 @WAS 26-38 15 @STL -----
7 ARI 21-14 16 @HOU -----
8 TB 17-36 17 GB -----
9 @SEA 20-30 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MIN @ CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Christian Ponder 10 220,1
RB Adrian Peterson 80,1 4-20
WR Jarius Wright 3-40,1
TE Kyle Rudolph 4-40
PK Blair Walsh 2 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The Vikings come off their bye with a 6-4 record and that is probably as good as it will get. Their final schedule is perhaps more brutal than any other team with four of six games on the road and a chance to play the Packers and Bears twice while adding in the top defenses of the Rams and Texans - at their stadiums no less. This is a tough way to finish a year that seemed promising.

Christian Ponder's been decent when facing a bad secondary. He even threw for 352 yards and two scores in Washington. But each time he faced a good secondary, the results were bad. At Detroit he only threw for 111 yards and no scores. At Seattle it was just 63 yards and no touchdowns. When the Cardinals visited, he threw for 58 yards and one score. Now he is looking down the barrel of a new gun every week. At Chicago will be his worst matchup so far this year.

Adrian Peterson has made a miraculous recovery from his torn ACL last January and is on a four game streak over 120+ rushing yards and at least one touchdown every week. He even had his best game of the year while in Seattle when he ran for 182 yards on 17 carries and scored twice. Breaking off a 74-yard run helped his stats but his production has been consistently great. He has been the entirety of the offense in recent games. No doubt defenses will key on him but for that matter - so did Seattle.

Peterson rushed for 39 yards on 12 carries and scored once in Chicago last year.

Percy Harvin was held out of the week ten game with a sprained ankle but is expected back this week after resting on the bye. Unfortunately for the Vikings, Harvin is almost the entirety of the passing effort with five games over 90 yards and four touchdowns on the season. No other wideout score more than once and almost never gain more than around 40 yards in a game.

Kyle Rudolph is the leading scorer for receivers with six touchdowns but that's just one in the last four games and two of those were when he had no catches. Rudolph can catch a touchdown but has been of little use in the passing scheme.

To the advantage of the Vikings, the Bears are coming off a horrible showing on Monday night.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 28 13 23 19 4 17
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 4 5 9 16 5 26

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Teddy Bridgewater, MIN CHI 10000028020 ****
Since a disappointing 158 and 1 in Chicago in Week 11 Bridgewater has been steadily building, with four multiple touchdown games and two 300-yard efforts in the five games since. The Bears have allowed 13 passing touchdowns and 1,085 passing yards over their past three road games; while that 361 and 4 average may be aggressive for Bridgewater, it does suggest he'll be on the positive side of a fantasy helper this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Asiata, MIN CHI 5013200000 ***
Asiata is a similar style back to Joique Bell and Mark Ingram, who have combined for four TDs in three games against the Bears. Asiata's rushing yardage isn't likely to overwhelm, but he's been bringing more to the table in the passing game and the Bears have given up 70 RB receiving yards per game over the past month.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Charles Johnson, MIN CHI 0071001000 ****
Johnson left last week's loss to the Dolphins prematurely, and early word this week is that he may not be able to practice. If that's the case, no need to risk him in a meaningless game. We'll check on his availability later this week.
Update: Johnson worked his way up to a full practice session Friday. He's listed as probable, and if he's probably going to play he's probably going to receive plenty of attention from Teddy Bridgewater.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Greg Jennings, MIN CHI 005601000 ****
In just shy of one season's worth of meetings with the Bears Jennings has amassed 974 yards and six TDs against them. Sure, much of that came with the Pack but despite shaky quarterbacking he mustered 12-162-1 in last season's series. He had one catch in the earlier meeting this year but has taken on a larger role of late and if Charles Johnson can't go could provide Teddy Bridgewater with the WR1 target he'll be needing.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarius Wright, MIN CHI 002400000 ***
With Charles Johnson injured and potentially out for this game expect Wright to continue to step up for the Vikings. Over the past three games he's scored twice and topped 100 yards once--and that was with Johnson hogging the looks. The same defense that let Louis Murphy go for 113 yards and Cole Beasley score twice isn't likely to be able to slow Wright's roll, either.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN CHI 2233 ****
The Bears have allowed at least seven kicker points in every game this season and multiple field goals in nine of their last 10. Walsh didn't miss last week, ending a 1-for-6 stretch, and he was two for three on treys the last time he faced the Bears, so seven feels like a baseline this week.

Chicago Bears
Homefield: Soldier Field
Grass
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 IND 41-21 10 HOU 6-13
2 @GB 10-23 11 @SF 7-32
3 STL 23-6 12 MIN -----
4 @DAL 34-18 13 SEA -----
5 @JAC 41-3 14 @MIN -----
6 BYE ----- 15 GB -----
7 DET 13-7 16 @ARI -----
8 CAR 23-22 17 @DET -----
9 @TEN 51-20 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
CHI vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler 240,2
RB Matt Forte 70 5-30,1
WR Brandon Marshall 8-110,1
TE Martellus Bennett 3-30
PK Jay Feely 2 FG
PK Robbie Gould 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Just like 2011, it was going all so well and them BAM. The bottom fell out. Jay Cutler's departure last year led to five straight losses and judging by the performance in San Francisco, it may happen again. HC Lovie Smith has been optimistic that Cutler may return this week in the way that all coaches say about all their players that they do not want to be truthful about. Jay Cutler himself said that he would play "again this year" which is kinda less optimistic. Barring a sudden and unexpected development, it appears like that Jason Campbell will once again set up shop behind the offensive line that the three little pigs made out of straw.

Granted - Campbell played against a great defense in their stadium. But he only threw for 107 yards and one gimmee touchdown late in the game. He was intercepted twice and sacked six times. He connected with Brandon Marshall only twice for 21 yards. His main problem was that offensive line that rarely gave him the time to set up and throw as planned.

Making matters worse, Alshon Jeffrey is undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery and is out indefinitely. He may show up by the end of the season but by then it could be over. Jeffrey already last six games from a broken hand. The Bears have no other receivers of any note to persuade the secondary to devote less than three people to stopping Brandon Marshall. After Marshall and Jeffrey, all other wideouts combined for only on touchdown and no games over 50 yards. None.

The offense will lean on Matt Forte may with Cutler out and Marshall standing all alone as a receiver. He received 21 carries just last week though they still are not relying on his as a pass-catcher this year. Mike Tice has not used the tight ends at all and even the backs are doing little to help with the passing. That's unfortunate when you literally have only one wide receiver.

A home game against a familiar foe should end better this week but it is starting to look like deja vu all over again.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 24 19 12 32 5 1
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 26 15 19 18 12 12

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jay Cutler, CHI @MIN 0000026011 **
Cutler returns to the lineup, facing a team he's thrown for 620 yards and six touchdowns (with four INTs) against in the past two games. He won't have Brandon Marshall, but you have to think his "WTF" approach to throwing into coverage will be exacerbated in what could be his final game as a Bear. That's both good and bad; caution on using Cutler if you're penalized for picks.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, CHI @MIN 8016500000 ***
Forte is working on a 10-game touchdown drought against the Vikings, but hopefully you play in a yardage league because he's had triple-digit combo yards in each of his last four against Minnesota. The Vikings have given up 100-plus combo yards to six of the last seven feature backs they've faced. PPR leaguers are also fond of the matchup; Forte has 25 catches in those same four against the Vikings.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI @MIN 0071001000 **
In his last two against the Vikings, Jeffery has 23 catches (not a misprint) for 384 yards and three TDs. With no Brandon Marshall to get in his way, all that stands between Jeffery and more monster numbers is a banged-up Xavier Rhodes.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marquess Wilson, CHI @MIN 003400000 ***
Wilson has been an adequate replacement for Brandon Marshall, but not necessarily someone you should be going out of your way to get into your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, CHI @MIN 006600000 **
Bennett was nearly nonexistent with Jimmy Clausen at the helm last week, so he'll welcome the return of Jay Cutler. And on the heels of the Vikings giving up 149 yards and a TD to the position last week, Bennett will be happy to be facing Minnesota as well.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Jay Feely, CHI @MIN 1122 ***
Hope Feely didn't opt for performance-based pay, as the Bears have provided him with exactly zero field goal opportunities since signing him to replace the wounded Robbie Gould one month ago. He could match the three points Gould scored in the earlier meeting with Minnesota, but that's hardly enough to stir the fantasy pot.

WEEK 12
2012
HOU at DET (THU) *BAL at SD *MIN at CHI *SF at NO
NE at NYJ (THU) BUF at IND *OAK at CIN *STL at ARI
WAS at DAL (THU) DEN at KC PIT at CLE TEN at JAC
*UPDATED *ATL at TB GB at NYG SEA at MIA *CAR at PHI (MON)

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