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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
WR Brandon Marshall 8-120,1
TE Martellus Bennett 5-50,1
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 @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.

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
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 @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.

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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