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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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WEEK 8 CAR at TB (THU) DAL at DET NYJ at CIN SEA at STL (MON)
ATL at ARI GB at MIN PIT at OAK On Bye:
BUF at NO MIA at NE SF at JAC BAL, CHI, HOU
*UPDATED CLE at KC NYG at PHI WAS at DEN IND, SD, TEN

Prediction: GB 26, MIN 17 (Line: GB by 9.5)

Players of Interest: Brandon Bostick, Andrew Quarless, Josh Freeman

Update: James Jones is downgraded to doubtful and hasn't been able to practice. Josh Freeman is already ruled out because of a concussion and not merely because he appeared to have never played the position before. Adrian Peterson was held out on Wednesday to rest his hamstring but returned for full days on Thursday and Friday and will be active. He's still not 100% but a 90% Peterson still might be better than anyone else.

Well this late game on Sunday isn't shaping up to be what we expected. The 4-2 Packers have a half game lead in the NFC North and a three game winning streak going but are losing players at a historic pace. The Vikings are 1-5 and still winless in the continental U.S. and come off a Monday night loss where they not only looked like they had never played together before, but that they all just met in the high school cafeteria. This is messy to forecast since the Packers have no players and the Vikings have no idea what to do with the ones they have.

The Vikings won 37-34 against the visiting Packers last season.

1 @SF 28-34 10 PHI -
2 WAS 38-20 11 @NYG -
3 @CIN 30-34 12 MIN -
4 BYE WEEK 13 @DET -
5 DET 22-9 14 ATL -
6 @BAL 19-17 15 @DAL -
7 CLE 31-13 16 PIT -
8 @MIN - 17 @CHI -
9 CHI - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
GB @ MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers 280,2
RB Eddie Lacy 80,1 5-40
WR Jarrett Boykin 5-70,1
WR Jordy Nelson 6-90,1
TE Andrew Quarless 4-30
PK Mason Crosby 3 FG 3 XP

Pregame Notes: The Packers will likely be down three receivers this week but they had little trouble against the Browns last Sunday. Fortunately the injury to Jermichael Finley is not considered career ending but it will almost certainly result in him missing the rest of 2013. This was his contract year as well though healthy really is more important than money. Lost in all the injuries is a defense that is rising to the occasion with only 13 points a game allowed since the week four bye.

QUARTERBACKS: After three straight games with only one touchdown, losing the wideouts last week was feared to affect Aaron Rodgers even worse. Instead he passed for three touchdowns and 260 yards. Rodgers lost almost all of his past rushing yards and scores but still throws a touchdown every week and if any one can make a marginal player play better, it is Rodgers.

Rodgers threw for 365 yards and four scores in Minnesota for 2012.

RUNNING BACKS: Losing the wideouts meant relying on the ground game more and while Eddie Lacy ran for 82 yards on 22 carries and scored once, he also caught five passes for 26 yards. With Jermichael Finley gone, Lacy's role as a receiver should only expand while also maintaining a heavy load as a runner. Lacy's already been used for 23+ touches in the last three weeks. That could actually increase.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Jarrett Boykin was an unknown before last week but his name is already plenty familiar after posting eight receptions for 103 yards and one score versus the Browns. With Cobb out for a while and Finley gone for the year, Boykin should only get better in this pass-first offense. Myles White had his first playing time but only fielded one pass. The Packers also will use wideout Chris Harper but Boykin's great game gives optimism that the Packers may still be okay in the passing effort. James Jones has not been ruled out for his week but his knee will more likely need one more week and it would be preferable to have a healthier Jones for the Bears next week than risk anything against the Vikings.

Jordy Nelson was held to his worst game of the year when Joe Haden limited him to five catches and only 42 yards but Nelson still managed one touchdown catch. This week should be a replay of last Sunday with Nelson and Boykin holding up the wideout workload.

All three starting wideouts scored in Minnesota last season with Greg Jennings scoring twice and leading with 120 yards.

TIGHT ENDS: Jermichael FInley bruised his spinal cord and is expected to miss the rest of the season. Andrew Quarless will become the #1 tight end but he's just a blocker and only totals 28 receptions over his three year career. Brandon Bostick may get some playing time as the receiving tight end though this offense can operate without much production from the position. At least for now, the projections will only consider Quarless and review what happens this weekend.

Finley turned in eight catches for 72 yards versus the Vikings last year.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Vikings are bad against all positions and there is no reason to bench anyone. Rodgers, Lacy, Nelson and Boykin all have a great shot at big fantasy numbers in this game. This is the defense that gave up over 300 yards to three different quarterbacks not named Rodgers. The rush defense has been decent in terms of rushing yards allowed, but they did yield eight touchdowns to the running backs and a large number of receptions.

WHAT TO WATCH: Doubtful that someone else is going to turn in as good a first showing as Boykin but Finley's absence leaves an opportunity for another tight end to become a receiver. That may be Andrew Quarless or Brandon Bostick. It may not be anyone.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points GB 4 16 2 14 2 22
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 29 31 24 27 19 23

 

1 @DET 24-34 10 WAS -
2 @CHI 30-31 11 @SEA -
3 CLE 27-31 12 @GB -
4 PIT 34-27 13 CHI -
5 BYE WEEK 14 @BAL -
6 CAR 10-35 15 PHI -
7 @NYG 7-23 16 @CIN -
8 GB - 17 DET -
9 @DAL - ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
MIN vs GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Christian Ponder 210,1
RB Adrian Peterson 80,1 3-20
WR Greg Jennings 5-50
WR Cordarrelle Patterson 3-30
TE Kyle Rudolph 4-40,1
PK Blair Walsh 1 FG 2 XP

Pregame Notes: Overall, that could have gone better. Josh Freeman's first start was a disaster and brought the entire team down with him. The Vikings once again have a very demanding out schedule and probably cannot rely on Adrian Peterson to once again suddenly become unstoppable. The Vikings are wobbling and run a risk of losing the team. Even normally optimistic announcers who would never say anything negative about the NFL were openly discussing how badly the Vikings played to the point it was a mockery of the game. "Mockery" should never describe what you do for a living. Except maybe for mimes.

QUARTERBACKS: Perhaps that was too early. Josh Freeman looked completely out of sorts and confused in his first game as a Vikings. He completed only 20 of 53 passes for 190 yards and one touchdown. He threw a few balls that were dropped. He threw even more than were just so bad that announcers had to speculate on the intended target. If this continues, the Vikes may have to find Plan C. Or Plan D. One pictures Brett Favre sitting next to his phone wondering what he will say.

RUNNING BACKS: The defense cared so little about Freeman - and this was the Giants defense - that they loaded up against Adrian Peterson with a ferocity that left him with only 28 yards on 13 carries for a season low. By a factor of two. Peterson did well enough to reach the line of scrimmage before getting mobbed. That is a very bad sign for the only offensive weapon that has worked this year.

Peterson ran for 199 yards and one touchdown against the visiting Packers last year. Hard to imagine this time.

WIDE RECEIVERS: On the plus side, every one had plenty of passes thrown in their general direction. But with Freeman under center, the best was Greg Jennings who caught only four of his ten targets for 41 yards. Jerome Simpson turned nine throws into just three receptions for 32 yards. Cordarrelle Patterson actually had a season best three catches but only gained 22 yards. It is never good with catch percentages look like batting percentages. Improvement is expected because this cannot get much worse.

TIGHT ENDS: You thought Kyle Rudolph was bad before? Nine passes for three catches and 27 yards. Actually that is not all that bad for Rudolph which is even sadder.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: If the Vikings cannot exploit the Giants who were giving up over 30 points per game, then facing the Packers is not likely to be a lot better. The Packers are very good against running backs and have no reason not to commit everything to stopping Peterson. You still must play Peterson because he could break an 80-yard touchdown on any given play (assume all were on the 20-yard line). But no one else here appears low risk enough to merit any fantasy consideration. Not until something positive happens and all the announcers are no longer trying not to openly weep by the end of the game.

WHAT TO WATCH: Josh Freeman. Either to see improvement or just in that "car wreck" sort of way.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 27 17 28 23 21 6
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 21 4 23 30 4 9

WEEK 8 CAR at TB (THU) DAL at DET NYJ at CIN SEA at STL (MON)
ATL at ARI GB at MIN PIT at OAK On Bye:
BUF at NO MIA at NE SF at JAC BAL, CHI, HOU
*UPDATED CLE at KC NYG at PHI WAS at DEN IND, SD, TEN


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