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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
November 16, 2005
Season Ticket
Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 1 PM Sun 4 PM Sun 8:30 PM
DET at DAL NO at NE Sun 4 PM PIT at BAL* MIN at GB*
IND at CIN OAK at WAS SEA at SF* Updated* Times ET

Prediction: Minnesota 17, Green Bay 31

Here's the rematch of week seven when the Vikings won 23-20 back in Minnesota. With Brad Johnson as the starter, the Vikings are 2-0 even though it may have nothing to do with him. The Vikes come off a huge win over the Giants in New York under the strangest of circumstances and the Packers also return home after a shocking beat down of the Falcons last week in Atlanta. Both these teams evidently visited a phone booth and came out as superman last week but only one of them did it using actual offense. Advantage - Green Bay. This is a Monday night game that looked a whole lot better six months ago.

Update: Mewelde Moore has been named the starter but that doesn't neccessarily mean that Bennett has no further role. I have adjusted the MIN rush game to reflect this. Nate Burleson was held out of practice on Thursday to rest some nagging injuries to his knee and hip but he has not been ruled out for Monday night. But HC Mike Tice said that Burleson is pretty beaten up right now so I am lowering his projections. He is still listed as probable on the injury report which Tice said was only because he missed practice on Thursday.

Minnesota Vikings (4-5)
1 13-24 TBB 10 24-21 @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 GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Brad Johnson 0 0 230,2
RB Michael Bennett 20 10 0
RB Mewelde Moore 50 10 0
TE Jermaine Wiggins 0 30 0
WR Nate Burleson 0 30 0
WR Marcus Robinson 0 50,1 0
WR Troy Williamson 0 40 0
WR Travis Taylor 0 50,1 0
PK Paul Edinger 1 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: Never before has a team scored touchdowns on the returns of a punt, kick and interception in one game. The Vikings were completely punchless on offense last week but suddenly had one drive at the end of the game to post a field goal for the win. Exciting for the Minny fans to watch but it is rather hard to rely on something that had never before happened in NFL history.

Quarterback: Brad Johnson has started two games now and going against the Lions and Giants only produced two scores and never more than 144 yards passing. Basically, Johnson has been about half of the yardage of Culpepper and none of the rushing yards. Then again, he's not thrown an interception yet.

Culpepper had 280 passing yards and two scores against the Packers back in week seven.

Running Backs: After Michael Bennett turned in a surprising 106 yards on only 18 carries against the Lions in week nine, the Vikings opted to use him as the starter last week and let Mewelde Moore just return punts. Bennett responded with 19 carries for a whopping 11 yards. And scratch the Bennett experiment. This week should see a combination of the two runners and going against a defense that has been good against the run this year, don't expect either to have a good game.

Moore and Bennett combined for only 67 rushing yards and no scores against the Packers earlier this year though Moore did have 60 yards on four receptions and one score.

Wide Receivers: With Johnson as the quarterback, no wideout has turned in more than 44 yards and even that was one catch by Koren Robinson. Nate Burleson has one touchdown in the last two games but only two catches for about 15 yards in each. Johnson is not connecting with the wideouts well as a starter and the Lions and Giants match-ups should have produced much more than it did. Johnson has no favorite receiver yet nor any one that can catch more than a handful of passes for minimal yardage.

Marcus Robinson had 60 yards and one score against the Packers while no other wideout had more than 37 yards in the previous meeting this year.

Tight Ends: Jermaine Wiggins was the most productive receiver last week and that was only for 42 yards on five catches. He only had one catch for 11 yards in the previous game.

Wiggins caught six passes for 56 yards against the Packers in week seven.

Match Against the Defense: The Packers have a very good rush defense hidden behind a terrible passing defense. Expect moderate numbers at best and since there is a lack of clarity regarding the starter and primary runner this week, neither Bennett nor Moore is reliable.

The Packers have lost games this year because their secondary could not even cover statues in Central Park. All teams throw for two or more scores against them - even Michael Vick. Look for Johnson to shake off the rust this week and get something done in the passing game. That favors the wideouts strongly but there is no primary in this rotational system used by the Vikings that employs up to five different wideouts in the game.


Green Bay Packers (2-7)
1 3-17 @DET 10 33-25 @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 20-23 @MIN 16 Dec 25 CHI
8 14-21 @CIN 17 Jan 1 SEA
9 10-20 PIT . . MON
GBP vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre 0 0 270,3
RB Sam Gado 70,1 10 0
TE Bubba Franks 0 40,1 0
TE Donald Lee 0 30 0
WR Donald Driver 0 100,1 0
WR Andrae Thurman 0 20 0
WR Antonio Chatman 0 50,1 0
PK Ryan Longwell 1 FG 4 XP -

Pregame Notes: Green Bay notched their second win of the season when they took down the Falcons in Atlanta last week. Sure, maybe it was a trap game of sorts since the division leading Falcons were hosting a 1-7 team but even once the surprise attack was apparent, the Packers scored 16 points in the second half. When teams cannot throw well, they miss the beauty of a Packers game since these Cheeseheads can stop the run. And now Green Bay has a means to go all "Gado" on opponents.

Quarterback: Brett Favre still is declining from the numbers he posted earlier this year but his 252 yards and one score was enough to beat the Falcons last week and he's scored in all but one game this year. Favre already has thrown for 315 yards and two scores against the Vikings this season.

Running Backs: Maybe it is just one of those freak starts that was perfected by Cadillac Williams or maybe the NFL overlooked one very productive back in the draft last spring. Whatever the case, it's time for Gado-mania in Green Bay when he comes off a 103 yard game with two scores against the Falcons last week. That's almost double the yardage of any other Packer back this season and Sam Gado has scored at least once in both starts this year.

The future match-ups in Philly, Chicago and Baltimore may be a rude awakening, but there's no reason why this week won't extend the legend of Gado. He's appeared out of nowhere like Zorro and leaves the big "G" from his helmet embossed onto defender's chests.

Come! We ride!

Wide Receivers: Donald Driver had 114 yards and one score and Antonio Chatman added another touchdown on five catches for 31 yards in the previous meeting against the Vikings in week seven. Both were the last time that either wideout scored. Robert Ferguson has returned to practice to some extend but was still inactive for the Atlanta game last week. He could make it back for this Monday night game but pending a more optimistic report from practice, I am assuming he will sit out one more week. Updates if warranted.

Tight Ends: The Packer tight ends continue to be involved every week, with Bubba Franks turning in around 30 yards a week and Donald Lee doing almost as much since David Martin has been out. The trio combined for almost 90 yards back in week seven against the Vikes but Martin remains out.

Match Against the Defense: The main difference in this match-up versus the week seven one is that Culpepper is gone, the Packers are at home and apparently a running back has broken out. The Vikings rush defense is nothing special and has already allowed ten rushing scores this season. Expect a Gado-rific game here of one score and at least 70 yards or more rushing. He could score twice potentially has have several other runners.

Favre already threw for 315 yards and two scores against the Vikings earlier this year. He'll keep the two scores, but the yardage may decline a bit with better rushing. This is a Monday night game and Favre loves those - make that three scores because he can.