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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 GB 0000026020 ***
Cutler's on a roll, with multiple TD tosses in every game this season. He threw for 262 and 2 the last time he faced Green Bay, and while the Packers have been relatively successful in limiting opposing passers thus far this year... well, did we mention Cutler is on a roll?
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Forte, CHI GB 8016500000 ****
After a couple of disappointing weeks look for Forte to get back in the saddle against the Pack. Last year Forte produced 336 yards from scrimmage and four TDs in the two-game set, and now he catches a reeling Green Bay run D that's allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing backs.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Alshon Jeffery, CHI GB 0071001000 ***
Jeffery was the understudy to Brandon Marshall in last season's series with Green Bay, but last week's 8-105 while Marshall hobbled on and off the field demonstrates he's just as capable of being a WR1. The Packers haven't surrendered much of anything to opposing wideouts thus far this season, so maybe the best course of action would be start whichever Bears wideout is healthiest--though that seems to change from snap to snap.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Brandon Marshall, CHI GB 006501000 ***
Marshall has scored the last three times he's faced Green Bay, not to mention four TDs already this season. So if he's healthy enough to take the field he belongs in your fantasy lineup.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Santonio Holmes, CHI GB 002200000 ***
The Bears have yet to go three deep into their wide receivers; meanwhile it's been tough enough for opposing WR1s to find success against the Packers, let alone secondary targets. Holmes is an option only if either Brandon Marshall or Alshon Jeffery is ruled out due to injury.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Martellus Bennett, CHI GB 004400000 ****
Bennett has been money this season, in part capitalizing on one (or both) of Chicago's receivers missing time due to injury. The Packers have locked down tight ends, but with Brandon Marshall still hobbling the door remains ajar for Bennett to carve out fantasy value.
Update: Marshall did not practice all week due to his injured ankle. If he's active you almost have to play him given his track record this season, but be wary of a pre-kickoff scratch.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Robbie Gould, CHI GB 2233 ****
The Packers haven't been averse to giving up kicker points; Gould hasn't been opposed to scoring them. A solid fantasy option again this week.

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 ATL 20000020011 ***
Atlanta's improved secondary has limited the likes of Drew Brees and Andy Dalton to one TD toss apiece; maybe they surrender Bridgewater's first NFL scoring strike, but don't expect much more than that.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
RB Matt Asiata, MIN ATL 5014300000 ***
Unlikely this undermanned version of the Vikings offense gets Asiata close enough for a goal line plunge, but if he remains the pass-catching back--no lock, as Jerick McKinnon is creeping up on him targets-wise--he could salvage fantasy value against a Falcons defense that's allowed the second-most RB receptions and third-most RB receiving yards thus far this year.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN ATL 3005701000 *
Two reasons to like Patterson this week. First, big-bodied receivers have found success against the Falcons, from Marques Colston's 110 yards to Vincent Jackson's touchdown. Second, the Vikings are fresh out of playmakers and desperately need to find ways to get the ball into Patterson's hands.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
WR Greg Jennings, MIN ATL 006600000 ***
Jennings saw an uptick in productivity with the Vikings changing quarterbacks and forced to the air, but there's still no reason to expect much more than adequate numbers here.
  Opp RuYDRuTDRecReYDReTDPaYDPaTDInt ConFac
TE Rhett Ellison, MIN ATL 002100000 ***
Ellison's a nice special teams player, but he's no replacement for Kyle Rudolph--especially in a matchup with a Falcons D that has yet to allow a TE TD this year.
  Opp fgaFGMxpaXPM ConFac
K Blair Walsh, MIN ATL 1122 ***
Pros: Kicking inside, an offense that has a demonstrated ability to settle for field goals. Cons: an offense that may not provide many opportunities on the business side of midfield.

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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