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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
November 9, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM Mon 9 PM
BAL at JAC NE at MIA NYJ at CAR On Bye:  
KC at BUF WAS at TB* STL at SEA TEN. NO Times ET

Prediction: Minnesota 13, NY Giants 30

The new look Vikings are now 2-1 over the last three weeks and though Moore and Culpepper were gone last week, Johnson and Bennett looked as sharp as the offense has been this year. The Giants are on a roll now with three straight wins and they've only allowed six points over the last two weeks. This would have to be a trap game before the Vikings could match up will but played in New York, the Giants shouldn't be caught looking to week eleven when they host the Eagles.

The Giants beat the Vikings 13-34 last year in week eight.

Update: Mewelde Moore has returned to practice but is wearing a splint on his sprained right wrist. Moore says that he will play but there's an obvious question mark to a back having a splint on a sprained wrist - plus Bennett was effective in relief last week. I am not changing the projections but be aware that there is a chance that Moore plays and Bennett is used less or not at all. Chances remain good that Bennett will be getting play regardless.

Minnesota Vikings (3-5)
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 23-20 GBP 16 Dec 25 @BAL
8 13-38 @CAR 17 Jan 1 CHI
9 27-14 DET . . MON
MIN at NYG Rush Catch Pass
QB Brad Johnson 0 0 250,1
RB Michael Bennett 50 20 0
TE Jermaine Wiggins 0 10 0
WR Nate Burleson 0 50 0
WR Marcus Robinson 0 50,1 0
WR Troy Williamson 0 60 0
WR Travis Taylor 0 40 0
PK Paul Edinger 2 FG 1 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Vikings got a spark for the running game from Michael Bennett and the passing game may not be dead just because Culpepper is gone for the year. The offense posted 27 points last week and that's going to need to be a common occurrence if the Vikings want to keep winning since they have never allowed less than 28 points on the road this season.

Quarterback: Brad Johnson did not throw for a lot of yards last week in his first start, but he completed 15 of 22 passes for 136 yards and two scores - with no interceptions. The good running by Bennett and game management by Johnson secured the win over the Lions and could set the tone for the rest of the season. Johnson favored no receiver to be sure with only 136 yards passing and the one thing he seems to be bringing to the table is better game control and less turnovers.

The Vikings had 231 passing yards and one receiving score against the Giants last year.

Running Backs: Mewelde Moore injured his wrist last week when he was hit out of bounds and ended with only 11 carries for 49 yards. Michael Bennett stepped in and had 106 yards on 18 carries. More than any other Viking runner this season. He also had one catch for a five yard touchdown. Pending reports on Moore's wrist, I am assuming for now that Bennett gets the start here.

The Vikings only had 49 rushing yards against the Giants last season though Michael Bennett did rush in one score.

Wide Receivers: Johnson never showed any preference last week when he hit all four wideouts with passes and yet none of them had more than Travis Taylor's four catches for 27 yards. Nate Burleson had an impressive touchdown catch but only had two receptions for 16 yards and Marcus Robinson ended with just one snag for 12 yards after appearing to be the favorite last week for Johnson. This week against the Giants should be a much better indicator of what Johnson can do passing and who he may prefer but the Vikings are using a rotational system for the wideouts that doesn't allow any of them to be on the field at all times.

Nate Burleson had six catches for 43 yards and one score against the Giants last year as the leading receiver for the team.

Tight Ends: Bad news here, at least potentially. In Johnson's first start, he only threw one pass to Jermaine Wiggins for an 11 yard completion - the lowest production of the season for Wiggins. Just one game so far though...

Match Against the Defense: The Giants defense has been unbelievably great in the last two weeks but that is because they really wanted to cream the Redskins and then played the 49ers. Neither game was a true measuring stick and prior to those games the Giants had allowed about average rushing and three games with over 300 yards passing including an NFL season high of 442 yards to Bulger. Look for Bennett - or Moore if he returns - to turn in just a moderate rushing game at best here and likely won't get the volume of carries to even reach that.

Johnson will have to throw if the Vikings are to remain in the game and there should be plenty of passing in the second half. Johnson is obviously hard to rely on after only one game, but history says he can throw for around 250 yards and at least one or two scores in this game. Even if only in trash time, the Vikings should manage some passing yards against the normally softer corners of the Giants.

New York Giants (6-2)
1 42-19 ARI 10 Nov 13 MIN
2 27-10 @NOR 11 Nov 20 PHI
3 23-45 @SDC 12 Nov 27 @SEA
4 44-24 STL 13 Dec 4 DAL
5 Open Bye 14 Dec 11 @PHI
6 13-16 @DAL 15 Dec 17 KCC
7 24-23 DEN 16 Dec 24 @WAS
8 36-0 WAS 17 Dec 31 @OAK
9 24-6 @SFO . . SAT
NYG vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Eli Manning 0 0 250,2
RB Tiki Barber 90,1 10 0
TE Jeremy Shockey 0 70,1 0
WR Amani Toomer 0 60 0
WR Plaxico Burress 0 80,1 0
WR Tim Carter 0 10 0
PK Jay Feeley 3 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Giants have this one game as a respite of sorts before facing the tough part of the schedule that includes games against PHI, SEA, DAL, KC and WAS. This could be a trap game but the Giants offense consistently is posting 24 points or more a week and the defense has stiffened up remarkably in the last couple of weeks. Played at home this should be a Giants win but not one that they'll be highly motivated to excel - that comes next week against the Eagles.

Quarterback: Eli Manning has scored in every game this year and the only times that he has failed to throw for decent yardage has been in games that Barber runs well and the Giants win handily. That could happen this week but against the 1-7 49ers last week, Manning still turned in 251 yards and one score.

Running Backs: Tiki Barber had a tougher time rushing last week in San Francisco when he gained only 71 yards on 21 carries, but that came right after he racked up 206 yards against the Redskins and the 49ers actually have a decent rushing defense. Oddly enough Barber has never scored in a road game and yet never failed to get a touchdown while at home. His best five games this year all were at home for yardage as well.

Tiki Barber ran for 101 yards and two touchdowns against the Vikings in 2004.

Wide Receivers: The fortunes of Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer rely mostly on the game being a high scoring shootout. That hasn't happened in the last two weeks and neither have scored or gained more than 79 yards in a game. The opportunity should be there this week - the question is if the need will be as well.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey's production is much less tied to game situation. He has scored in four of the last five games and typically is thrown around eight to ten passes per game regardless of what is happening.

Shockey had three catches for 60 yards against the Vikings last season.

Match Against the Defense: Barber always runs hot at home and the Vikings rushing defense has been only average at best this season. Consider Barber a lock for one touchdown, possibly two and at least moderate yardage that could turn into big numbers if the Giants get a significant lead early enough.

Manning could have some fun against this secondary that has allowed 14 touchdowns already this year and even Joey Harrington had 263 yards last week. There's no way he can resist posting a touchdown here and while there is a chance for big yardage and more scores, it will depend on game situation and what HC Tom Coughlin wants to do. There is a game against the Eagles waiting for them the following week.

Shockey should be a lock for a score here as well since tight ends have eight touchdowns against the Vikings this year - more than any other position including wide receivers. Burress also has the matchup that produces scores after Shockey is done with his.