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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 @TB 20000019011 ***
Four straight QBs have thrown for multiple touchdowns and at least 286 yards against the Bucs. Bridgewater may not be ready to step up to that level just yet--he's been sub-200 yards the past two weeks and just threw his first NFL touchdown last week--but the opportunity certainly is there.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Jerick McKinnon, MIN @TB 9014200000 ****
McKinnon has topped the century mark in two of the past four games; a defense that's allowed Justin Forsett to rush for 111 yards and the likes of Khiry Robinson (89 and 1), Antone Smith (50 and 1), Steven Jackson (54 and 1), and Zac Stacy (71 and 1) to have success doesn't exactly project to be a stopper here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Greg Jennings, MIN @TB 006701000 **
Since the Vikings steadfastly refuse to throw high-volume targets at Cordarrelle Patterson, Jennings remains fantasy relevant. And in a matchup with a defense that's allowed 10 different wideouts to top 50 yards and four different wide receivers to score touchdowns last week alone, relevant means opportunity this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarius Wright, MIN @TB 004600000 ***
Tough to see Teddy Bridgewater feeding three mouths in the passing game, but Wright has managed to carve out some fantasy value on a somewhat regular basis. It's an incredibly favorable matchup, so if you're reaching you could certainly do worse than Wright.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN @TB 002100000 ***
10 receivers have racked up at least 50 yards against the Bucs; four scored against them last week alone. Patterson still isn't getting the targets, but there's no question the Vikings are making an effort to get the ball in his hands. Against this defense, that may be all he needs to have that bustout game we've been waiting for.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rhett Ellison, MIN @TB 001100000 ***
The Vikings didn't complete a single pass to a tight end last week, and nothing in this matchup suggests digging this far down into the Vikings passing game for fantasy help is a smart move.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN @TB 1122 ****
When you're giving up 34 points a game, as the Bucs are doing, opponents are bound to get their kicks against you. And right now Walsh might be the Vikings' best/only offensive weapon.

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 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 @NE 0000026021 ***
The list of quarterbacks the Patriots have held without multiple touchdowns includes Matt Cassel, Derek Carr, and the Geno Smith/Michael Vick dual entry. While Cutler was held in check by the Dolphins last week, he's certainly more quarterback than any of the aforementioned strugglers so pencil him in for his usual rounds against New England this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, CHI @NE 8016600000 ***
Nothing in the three 100-yard rushing games or four RB receiving scores the Patriots have allowed suggest New England has any hopes of containing Forte this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon Marshall, CHI @NE 006701000 **
Assuming Darrelle Revis shows up on time, does he get Marshall or Alshon Jeffery, or some combination of the two? The Pats haven't allowed a receiver to top 81 yards on them, but they also haven't much in the way of WR talent; the two best they've seen, Mike Wallace and AJ Green, both hit that 81-yard mark and scored. Marshall hasn't seen the Pats since his Dolphins days, but he ruined them the last two times he saw them (both in 2011) with a combined 13-282-1. Pencil him in for a minimum of the 81 and 1 and we'll go from there.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI @NE 003400000 ***
If Bill Belichick remembers how Brandon Marshall torched them during his days as a Dolphin it might mean Marshall gets Darrelle Revis... and Jeffery gets to run unabated through the New England secondary. He's as talented a wideout as the Pats have seen, and the talented targets have wound up with 80 yards and a score--a decent day's work for Jeffery.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, CHI @NE 005601000 **
Bennett's been relatively quiet since both Bears' wideouts returned to health, but he could return to fantasy relevancy here against a Patriots defense that's allowed two TE TDs in the past four games.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Robbie Gould, CHI @NE 1133 ****
Gould hasn't cracked double-digits yet this season, has multiple field goals just once in the last month, and can no longer be considered a plug-and-play fantasy option.

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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