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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 14
2012
DEN at OAK (THU) *CHI at MIN MIA at SF SD at PIT
*ARI at SEA *DAL at CIN *NO at NYG *STL at BUF
*ATL at CAR *DET at GB NYJ at JAC *TEN at IND
*Updated BAL at WAS KC at CLE PHI at TB HOU at NE (MON)

Prediction: CHI 27, Adrian Peterson 20 (Line:CHI by 3)

Players Updated: Earl Bennett, Michael Bush

Players to Watch: Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson

The 8-4 Bears travel to Minnesota with a 3-2 road record and face the 6-6 Vikings who are on a two game losing streak. This is a replay of week 12 - just two games ago - when the Bears won handily 28-10 in Chicago.

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 28-10
4 @DAL 34-18 13 SEA 17-23
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 @ MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler 20 240,2
RB Matt Forte 70 5-40,1
RB Montell Owens 60 4-20
WR Brandon Marshall 8-120,1
TE Martellus Bennett 5-50,1
PK Jay Feely
PK Robbie Gould 2 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Bears are not going to catch up to the 11-1 Falcons but they are a half game behind the 49ers who they lost to in week 11. That makes getting a #2 seed daunting and a home game versus the 8-4 Packers looms on the other side of this game for what will likely be the divisional title. That makes looking past this week something that the Bears cannot afford to do since every win is important and in particular divisional wins since the Packers already beat Chicago back in week two.

Jay Cutler passed for 188 yards and one score in the first meeting with the Vikes in his first game back from a concussion. He's thrown for multiple scores in the last three road games along with healthy yardage.

Matt Forte only gained 42 yards on 14 runs when the Vikings visited but left that game in the third quarter with an ankle injury. He was able to play against the Seahawks just last week when he ran 21 times for 66 yards and added three catches for 30 yards and one touchdown. He'll be healthy entering this game and Michael Bush accounted for 21 runs and 60 yards replacing Forte in that game. Bush also rushed in two touchdowns as well. The 126 rush yards and two scores are why Cutler did not need to throw as much in the last matchup.

As always, only Brandon Marshall matters in the passing game and he turned in a season high 12 catches for 92 yards on the Vikings. Just last week versus the Seahawks, Marshall was able to rack up ten receptions for a season best 165 yards. The equation is not hard to decipher here - Forte runs and catches the ball, add in a little Michael Bush and then throw every other pass to Marshall. That gets you to 8-4 tied for the division lead.

There is still an outside chance that Alshon Jeffrey returns this week to a limited role since it has been over two weeks since he had his knee scoped. LC Brian Urlacher will miss this and the next couple of games with a hamstring strain which will not hurt the stats of Adrian Peterson.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 28 14 18 31 9 1
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 22 16 11 20 14 12

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Jay Cutler, CHI NO 0000030021 ***
The last time Cutler hosted a beatable secondary from the NFC South he went belly-up against the Bucs, so it's understandable if you're skittish about using Cutler here. The Saints have served up 661 passing yards and five passing scores the past two weeks, however, so there's some cause for optimism as well. You know the risks of using Cutler; at least with this matchup there's an upside.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, CHI NO 9017601000 ***
It's an extremely favorable matchup for Forte against a Saints defense that's allowed four straight feature backs to top 150 yards from scrimmage and three straight to find the end zone. When you consider Forte has at least 100 combo yards in every home game as well as at least one TD or 169 combo yards in each game at Soldier Field this season, he may be one of the best fantasy plays of the week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI NO 0091201000 ***
No Brandon Marshall makes Jeffery the man, though with touchdowns in four straight it's tough to argue he wasn't at least WR1A already. The Saints have let opposing WR1s score in five straight, as if you needed validation to get Jeffery in your lineup this week.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Marquess Wilson, CHI NO 003400000 ***
Wilson likely inherits Brandon Marshall's role, though he isn't likely to see the same volume of touches. Plus, the Saints haven't allowed multiple WRs to score in the same game since Week 7 so after Alshon Jeffery takes his bite the pickings might be pretty slim.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, CHI NO 007800000 ***
Bennett is the most likely beneficiary of Brandon Marshall's absence. When you consider that he already has seen 26 targets the past two weeks, and faces a defense that has allowed 19-164-1 to the tight end position the past two weeks, he's without question a quality fantasy play this week.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Jay Feely, CHI NO 2133 ***
After a two-point dog against the Cowboys in his return to the league, Feely has a real opportunity against a Saints defense that's allowed multiple field goals in five straight and double digits in three straight.

Minnesota Vikings
Homefield: Metrodome
FieldTurf
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 JAC 26-23 ot 10 DET 34-24
2 @IND 20-23 11 BYE -----
3 SF 24-13 12 @CHI 10-28
4 @DET 20-13 13 @GB 14-23
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 vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Christian Ponder 10 180,1
RB Adrian Peterson 120,1 6-40
RB Ben Tate 20 2-10
WR Greg Jennings 5-60
WR Jarius Wright 3-50
TE Kyle Rudolph 6-60,1
PK Blair Walsh 3 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: The killer schedule is still drawing blood and these final four games could all be losses - the Vikings will be underdogs in each. This is a replay of just two weeks ago when the Vikings lost by 18 points and the offense is struggling outside of Adrian Peterson. Greatly struggling. Enough so that now HC Leslie Frazier gets the weekly task of throwing his support behind his starting quarterback.

Christian Ponder has only gotten worse as the season progressed and he's only scored six times over the last six games while throwing seven interceptions and four times failing to pass for more than 160 yards. In Chicago, he was only good for 159 yards and one score with both an interception and turnover.Last week was 119 yards and one score in Green Bay.

Ponder is getting little help outside of Kyle Rudolph who scored in Chicago with 55 yards on five catches. The second-year tight end scored in each of the last three games while remaining just above 50 yards in each and on this offense that is wildly productive.

Percy Harvin remains out and with him any chance of a success passing effort. Harvin was initially hoped to return last week but that never happened. He has been diagnosed with a Grade 3 ankle sprain which involves a completely torn ligament. He may be able to play this week but will require pain injections to do so. In his place Jarius Wright has been of little help along with every other wideout. There is no element of this passing offense that contains fantasy relevancy.

Adrian Peterson literally is carrying the entire offense. He is on a six game streak of 100+ yard games including 210 yards and a score in Green Bay last week. He scored in each of those six games except, of course, the Bears game in Chicago when he "only" managed 108 yards on 18 runs but added six receptions for 30 yards. Peterson currently stands at 1446 rushing yards which is a pace that would end at 1928 yards. He's actually been far more productive as the season progresses and, sadly, as the rest of the offense disappears. Fortunately the Vikings are not squandering Peterson prime years by forcing him to carry the team. No wait. That is exactly what is happening. Imagine Peterson playing in a high powered offense. With a good quarterback.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 27 12 30 16 6 21
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 3 3 7 19 8 25

  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
QB Teddy Bridgewater, MIN @DET 0000022011 ***
Teddy Two Gloves couldn't muster a touchdown pass the last time he faced Detroit; now he steams into this game with multiple scoring strikes in three straight, ready to take on a Detroit defense that's given up multiple TD tosses in four straight and six of seven. With the Vikings devoid of running backs, Bridgewater will have ample opportunity to throw his way into fantasy relevancy here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Asiata, MIN @DET 3004200000 ***
Tough to see the ordinary Asiata carving out any fantasy value against a Detroit defense that hasn't allowed a 100-yard rusher all year and has given up just eight RB TDs all year--only two of them in Detroit.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Ben Tate, MIN @DET 2001100000 ***
Tate could see carries as a compliment to Matt Asiata, but with Detroit putting up a stout run D neither role carries much in the way of fantasy value.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Charles Johnson, MIN @DET 004501000 **
The Lions are stout but not impenetrable, and with Johnson clocking in as Teddy Bridgewater's favorite target he could carve out a fantasy helper in Detroit.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Greg Jennings, MIN @DET 005400000 ***
Jennings isn't flashy, and his numbers back it up as he's averaged 60 yards per game against Detroit with a touchdown every three meetings or so. Not much upside to those stats.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Jarius Wright, MIN @DET 002300000 ***
Wright's numbers from last week were padded by his 87-yard screen pass TD in overtime. He's still the third wheel in Minnesota's passing game, and it's not yet strong enough to produce consistent fantasy help that far down the depth chart.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Kyle Rudolph, MIN @DET 003400000 ***
Rudolph hasn't lived up to the preseason hype, but he'll have an opportunity to rectify that situation against a Lions defense that's given up 227 yards and two TDs to opposing tight ends over the past three games.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN @DET 2111 ***
Think Walsh misses the Metronome? He's five for five on field goals in two dome games, 17 for 23 in 11 games outdoors. That's the good news; the bad news is he'll be facing the Lions' defense, which puts a limit on his upside.

WEEK 14
2012
DEN at OAK (THU) *CHI at MIN MIA at SF SD at PIT
*ARI at SEA *DAL at CIN *NO at NYG *STL at BUF
*ATL at CAR *DET at GB NYJ at JAC *TEN at IND
*Updated BAL at WAS KC at CLE PHI at TB HOU at NE (MON)

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