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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
October 19, 2005
Season Ticket
FRI 7 PM Sun 1 PM SF at WAS* Sun 4 PM Sun 4 PM
KC at MIA* NO at STL Sun 4 PM DEN at NYG TEN at ARI*
Sun 1 PM PIT at CIN* DAL at SEA* On Bye: Mon 9 PM
GB at MIN* IND at HOU BUF at OAK CAR, TB Updated*

Prediction: Green Bay 20, Minnesota 17

This is always a great game and this year features the Packers - who have perfected the three point loss when they are not winning by 49 points - against the Vikings who are redefining "team funk" as well as the term "pleasure cruise". In the last two games, the Packers have scored 81 points and the Vikings have 13. But that doesn't matter, since anything goes in Minnesota, particularly when they leave the dock.

The Packers swept the Vikings last year, winning both games 34-31.

Update: Bubba Franks is listed as questionable again but he has returned to practice and appears likely to play this week. I am adding him into the projections and removing David Martin though both could be used. Ahman Green is also likely to play this week though he is not yet 100% healed from his knee sprain and thigh bruise. HC Mike Sherman said he intended on running Green more than normal, but that has not been much in any game this year, let alone his first back from injury.

Green Bay Packers (1-4)
1 3-17 @DET 10 Nov 13 @ATL
2 24-26 CLE 11 Nov 21 MIN
3 16-17 TBB 12 Nov 27 @PHI
4 29-32 @CAR 13 Dec 4 @CHI
5 52-3 NOR 14 Dec 11 DET
6 Open Bye 15 Dec 19 @BAL
7 Oct 23 @MIN 16 Dec 25 CHI
8 Oct 30 @CIN 17 Jan 1 SEA
9 Nov 6 PIT . . MON
GBP at MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre 0 0 260,2
RB Ahman Green 50 20 0
RB Tony Fisher 20 40 0
TE Bubba Franks 0 20,1 0
WR Donald Driver 0 100 0
WR Robert Ferguson 0 40,1 0
WR Antonio Chatman 0 30 0
PK Ryan Longwell 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Packers come off their bye week after finally winning a game. They throttled the Saints back in week five in a manner rather unlike the previous four games and it was the perfect set-up for a team that needed a win. In fairness, the Packers had lost their previous three games by three points or less but they've not improved either. Favre can still play but he has a lot fewer friends to rely on this season.

Quarterback: There's nothing wrong with Brett Favre. He's thrown for 12 touchdowns in the last four games and topped 300 yards twice this season. Even more inspiring, he hasn't thrown an interception in the last two games though Carolina and New Orleans were hardly the best secondaries in the league. Then again, going against the Vikings this week won't be any more challenging.

Favre was at his best when he played against the Vikings in 2004, throwing for 236 yards and four scores at home and later 365 yards and three touchdowns in Minnesota.

Running Backs: The Packers got two touchdowns out of Najeh Davenport before he was lost for the season with a broken ankle. Now Ahman Green returns to find Tony Fisher as his back-up and Reshard Lee is the only other running back on the active roster. Fisher has been the third-down back but he has good size and has played well in the relief work of the past. Green remains questionable this week with a bruised knee and a strained quadriceps tendon, so I am projecting for Fisher and will update on Friday if Green appears likely to play.

Ahman Green had 145 yards in the first meeting with Minnesota last year but only managed 64 yards as a visitor. He scored once.

Wide Receivers: Robert Ferguson stepped in for Javon Walker back in week two and he has scored once in three of the four games that he has started. Ferguson has topped out at 84 yards in a game, but Walker's injury is the best thing that has ever happened to Robert since he was considered on his way out prior to being promoted. Antonio Chatman had touchdowns in the games of weeks three and four but had no catches against the Saints. He's basically only a slot receiver that rarely has more than two or three catches per game if that.

Donald Driver only managed five catches for 48 yards in the last game and with his constant double coverage now, Ferguson has become a better option for Favre when the secondary is at least average or better. That won't be the case this week.

Javon Walker was the key receiver last year against the Vikings though in the second meeting as a visitor, Donald Driver had 162 yards and one score.

Tight Ends: David Martin has been filling in for Bubba Franks and he has scored in each of the last two games, including a nice five catch, 53 yard effort against the Panthers. Franks has been out with a bruised knee but until there is information that he is playing this week, I am projecting again for David Martin who has been just as good.

Franks scored once in each game against the Vikings in 2004.

Match Against the Defense: With Green at least questionable to play and Tony Fisher as the possible tailback, expect only moderate rushing numbers here at most though Fisher could and should add some production catching passes.

Favre faces the team he loves to carve up and he'd hardly be the first quarterback to gain two or more scores or over 300 yards this season. This game is heavily influenced by all the drama surrounding the Vikings and is hard to project with confidence, but there is no reason why Donald Driver shouldn't have at least a respectable showing here as well as a great chance for Robert Ferguson to once again turn in low yards with a touchdown. Favre is the central figure here and where he goes with the ball will be hard to rely on - but you know he will get it done.

Minnesota Vikings (1-4)
1 13-24 TBB 10 Nov 13 @NYG
2 8-37 @CIN 11 Nov 21 @GBP
3 33-16 NOR 12 Nov 27 CLE
4 10-30 @ATL 13 Dec 4 @DET
5 Open Bye 14 Dec 11 STL
6 3-28 @CHI 15 Dec 18 PIT
7 Oct 23 GBP 16 Dec 25 @BAL
8 Oct 30 @CAR 17 Jan 1 CHI
9 Nov 6 DET . . MON
MIN vs GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Daunte Culpepper 0 0 250,2
RB Mewelde Moore 50 50 0
TE Jermaine Wiggins 0 40,1 0
WR Nate Burleson 0 40 0
WR Marcus Robinson 0 20 0
WR Troy Williamson 0 60,1 0
WR Travis Taylor 0 40 0
PK Paul Edinger 1 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: Watching HC Mike Tice deliver his post-game eulogy each week is almost morbidly fascinating. Other than one shining game against the Saints, the Vikings have never scored more than one touchdown in any game and had none last week in Chicago. The Vikings get Burleson back this week but that won't likely do enough to turn this ship around.

Quarterback: If you can disregard the Saints game, and you really should, then Daunte Culpepper has managed to throw one touchdown against 12 interceptions on the season. He has consistently remained about 230 passing yards a game, but the scores are just not there when the Vikes start to cross midfield. He is not rushing this season - he only has one rushing score and stays under 15 yards running in all but the one New Orleans game that you should still dismiss as an anomaly.

Culpepper had 363 yards and four scores in Green Bay last year and later managed 285 yards and three scores while at home against the Packers. Sort of brings a tear to the eye, especially for those that drafted Culpepper this year.

Running Backs: Evidently Mewelde Moore has found his pace since he had exactly 14 carries for 57 yards in each of the last two games. He has not, of course, scored this year but is gaining good yardage receiving and has 115 yards in the last two games. The Vikings do not even pretend that Moe Williams or Michael Bennett exist anymore.

The Vikings never scored on a run last year against the Packers and the only performance more than 21 yards by a running back was when Michael Bennett gained 92 yards at home.

Wide Receivers: The team cannot help but get a spark from the return of Nate Burleson though he only had 45 and 48 yards in the two games in which he did play this season. Koren Robinson had his first catch last week but only gained four yards. The rest of the squad has become indistinguishable from each other. Marcus Robinson, Travis Taylor and even Troy Williamson had battled with mediocrity. Williamson is tied with Taylor for the team high two touchdowns and no other receivers have caught any scores.

Burleson had big games in each meeting with the Packers, recording 141 yards and 110 yards with one score in each game. Moss did not play in the first meeting when Burleson was at his best and even at home, Moss only had 30 yards though scored once.

Tight Ends: Jermaine Wiggins had ten catches for 68 yards last week and that makes twice that he has passed the 60 yard threshold this season but he also has more games under 35 yards. No consistency which is the consistency for the Vikings.

Wiggins had 94 yards and a score in the first meeting against the Packers in 2004, though he only had 37 yards in the game at home.

Match Against the Defense: The Packers have been solid against the run this year and only allowed one runner to score. Expect more of the same from Moore this week though his presence in the passing scheme makes him a worthwhile start from total yards.

Culpepper used to have monster games here and the Packers have not been above doling them out this year but this matchup is about a lot more than merely matching up trends and tendencies. The Vikings need a win desperately and that is exactly how they have been playing. The Packers are coming off a bye week and are fresh and they go against a quarterback that almost inexplicably has lost the ability to throw for a touchdown.

This could be a monster game for Culpepper but it could be just another disappointment. It will be interesting to watch and almost impossible to predict due to the intangibles involved.