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Predictions & Projections
By David M. Dorey
 
The Huddle
WEEK 10
November 5, 2003
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM TB at CAR Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Bye Weeks
ARZ at PIT HOU at CIN TB at CAR BAL at STL Denver
ATL at NYG IND at JAX MIN at SD Mon 9 PM New England
CHI at DET MIA at TEN BUF at DAL PHI at GB New Orleans
CLE at KC SEA at WAS NYJ at OAK *updated San Francisco
   
Minnesota vs San Diego Sun, Nov 9; 4 PM on FOX at Qualcomm Stadium
  Minnesota Rush Catch Pass
QB Daunte Culpepper 20 0 260,2
RB Michael Bennett 60 10 0
RB Moe Williams 50,1 10 0
TE J. Kleinsasser 0 20 0
WR Randy Moss 0 110,2 0
WR Nate Burleson 0 50 0
WR D'Wayne Bates 0 40 0
  San Diego Rush Catch Pass
QB Doug Flutie 20 0 220,1
RB L. Tomlinson 130,2 30 0
TE Josh Norman 0 10 0
WR David Boston 0 100,1 0
WR Reche Caldwell 0 30 0
WR Tim Dwight 0 40 0

Game Prediction: MIN 27, SD 21

Update: Schottenheimer still has not named a starting quarterback since he feels it is a big strategic bonus for him to keep the Vikings guessing. But the fact that Flutie took the majority of snaps in practice the last two days seems sort of wasted if Brees is the intended starter. Flutie seems the most likely pick and there seems little reason to reduce the snaps that Brees is taking in practice if he is struggling but is still considered the starter.

Michael Bennett will be playing, but he is not expected to carry a full load quite yet. I have changed the numbers to respect this but realize with Bennett that any single run could go for 60 yards and completely change his production.

I'm not changing his numbers, but keep an eye on Jim Kleinsasser this week. He is becoming a bigger part of the gameplan. I am increasing Bates numbers at the expense of Burleson since Bates has resumed the #2 role again. Kelly Campbell will still figure in though just as likely on a reverse as an actual pass.

Minnesota still has a great record but has been showing holes in their defense in the past few weeks. The return of Michael Bennett will help the offense but this game will be all about catching Tomlinson and batting the ball away from Randy Moss. In the end, the Chargers will make a game of it and fall short.

Minnesota Notes

The Vikings fall to 6-2 in the NFC North with the loss to the Packers.

Quarterbacks: Daunte Culpepper started out hot last week when he connected on another touchdown with Randy Moss that looked ridiculously easy. It was not to continue. Culpepper did end the game with 202 yards and two touchdowns and rushed in a third one himself at the end of the game but once Moss was tripled teamed and taken out of the equation, the Vikings were unable to keep up with Green Bay.

Running backs: The positive note from last week was the reappearance of Michael Bennett who ran eight times for 43 yards and had 15 yards on three catches. Bennett's quickness was apparently not affected during his time away as he showed speed normally reserved for military aircraft. Moe Williams had 12 carries for 63 yards on Sunday but should start to see his numbers decline back into the short yardage and touchdown stealing variety.

Onterrio Smith still returns kicks if he is on your roster and you want to see him in uniform. If you have Doug Chapman on your roster, you might consider dropping him since the Vikings almost did the same thing last week when Bennett returned.

Wide Receivers: Randy Moss grabbed the early touchdown and ended with 87 yards on six catches but was a non-factor after the first quarter. Nate Burleson turned in 51 yards on three catches and D'Wayne Bates finally made a reappearance in time to catch one pass for five yards late in the game. He was bothered by a hamstring in the game though he missed the last several weeks with an injured foot. He is becoming oddly similar to Brandon Stokely this season.

Tight Ends: Jim Kleinsasser scored once in the game and actually had a three yard carry in the game. With the injury to LT Bryant McKinnie last week, Kleinsasser did more pass blocking.

Match against the defense: The Chargers defense has been so across-the-board bad this year that teams get to choose how they want to beat them. Look for Michael Bennett to ease back into the primary rushing role against a soft defense and Daunte Culpepper to also enjoy finding Moss against a secondary that made Byron Leftwich and Brian Griese look like scoring machines.

San Diego Notes

The Chargers fall to 1-7 and have a decent chance to beat the Falcons to the first pick in the 2004 draft.

Quarterbacks: After Drew Brees only completed 7 of 15 passes for 49 yards, he finally got the hook last week in Chicago. Doug Flutie entered the game and completed 8 or 11 passes for 70 yards and showed enough spark to make Brees uncomfortable. The decision on which will start this week will not be made until later, but I am assuming that Flutie starts. Brees is the quarterback of the future, but the Chargers need a win now and Schottenheimer is not looking like the coach of the future anyway.

Running backs: LaDainian Tomlinson ran for only 61 yards last week but had only 16 carries and he did score once. Guaranteed that LT likes the visiting Vikings much more than the Bears.

Wide Receivers: Chicago has decent corners and the Chargers had no quarterback so the wideouts had only five catches for 51 yards combined. David Boston had only 29 yards on four catches but both were team highs last week for all receivers. Reche Caldwell finally returned to the playing field last week but did not catch either of his passes.

Tight Ends: Justin Peelle's two catches for 23 yards last week was actually better than the last three games combined for Charger tight ends.

Match against the defense: LaDainian Tomlinson should have a big game here. The Vikings rush defense has been shredded lately against top backs like Portis (117) and Ahman Green (137) and those teams have better passing attacks.

Flutie could provide better numbers against a team that has reverted to their old form in the secondary. In the past four games, only Danny Kanell failed to score twice through the air and he still managed one score. This should be the best game for David Boston since his week five explosion back in week five.

Team Comparisons - Current team rankings (1-32) for FF points scored or allowed by position
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
MIN Scores
2
12
4
27
18
6
SD Allows
22
22
23
30
23
13
MIN AP
20
10
19
3
5
7
Rank (1-32)
QB
RB
WR
TE
PK
DEF
SD Scores
28
5
24
28
27
18
MIN Allows
27
28
28
13
27
4
SD AP
-1
23
4
-15
0
-14
Offensive ranks lower = gains more points, Defensive ranks lower = allows less points
AP = Advatage Points, the net difference between a positional rank gained or allowed by the teams.
MIN
SD
2003 Game Averages
SD
MIN
Gains
Allows
QB's
Gains
Allows
253
232
Pass yards
189
272
2.3
1.8
Pass TDs
0.7
1.5
0.5
0.8
Interceptions
1.5
2.2
13
2
Rush yards
10
6
0.5
0.0
Rush TDs
0.0
0.0
---
---
RB's
---
---
103
109
Rush yards
117
120
0.7
0.8
Rush TDs
1.0
0.7
44
30
Receive yards
45
60
0.2
0.3
Receive TD's
0.0
0.3
---
---
WR's
---
---
195
168
Receive yards
131
167
1.8
0.8
Receive TD's
0.5
1.2
---
---
TE's
---
---
14
34
Receive yards
14
45
0.2
0.7
Receive TD's
0.2
0.0
---
---
PK's
---
---
1.0
1.7
Field Goals
1.2
2.0
3.5
2.8
Extra Points
1.8
2.2
---
---
DEF/ST
---
---
0.2
0.5
Fumbles
0.5
0.0
2.2
1.5
Interceptions
0.8
0.7
0.2
0.0
Touchdowns
0.2
0.0
2.3
2.0
Sacks
2.2
2.3
0.3
0.2
Safeties
0.0
0.0
Vikings (6-2)
Score Opp.
30-25 @GB
24-13 CHI
23-13 @DET
35-7 SF
39-26 @ATL
Week 6 BYE
28-20 DEN
17-29 NYG
27-30 GB
Week 10 @SD
Week 11 @OAK
Week 12 DET
Week 13 @STL
Week 14 SEA
Week 15 @CHI
Week 16 KC
Week 17 @ARZ
Chargers (1-7)
Score Opp.
14-27 @KC
13-37 DEN
10-24 BAL
31-34 @OAK
21-27 @JAX
Week 6 BYE
26-20 @CLE
10-26 MIA
7-20 @CHI
Week 10 MIN
Week 11 @DEN
Week 12 CIN
Week 13 KC
Week 14 @DET
Week 15 GB
Week 16 @PIT
Week 17 OAK

* Fantasy point rankings calculated using standard Huddle fantasy points