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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
Player Projections by Team
Game Predictions Summary
The Huddle
November 29, 2006
Season Ticket
Sunday Late
Sunday night
ATL at WAS MIN at CHI   TB at PIT Updated

Prediction: MIN 3, CHI 20

The Vikings come off a win that broke their four game losing streak and all it took was hosting the Cardinals who are 0-5 on the road. Now the Vikings are the visitors and are only 2-3 in those games away from Minnesota. The Bears can be beaten at home, surprising as that seems, but unlikely against a well-known foe that the Bears already beat 19-16 in Minnesota in week three.

Update: Chester Taylor is questionable this week because of a sore wrist and while he missed part of practices on Wednesday and Thursday, this is not a new injury and he is expected to play again this week. Jermaine Wiggins has a slight MCL sprain and has not been able to fully participate in practice. I am downgrading him slightly since a knee is much worse than a wrist injury like Taylor has. Marcus Robinson has been held out some this week to rest his ankle but he will play.

Thomas Jones is still bothered by his sore groin and missed some practice on Wednesday. That explains why Cedric Benson was actually used on a road game at the goal line last week. I am downgrading Thomas slightly because he is not yet completely healthy and the Bears are getting nice returns on using Benson.

Minnesota Vikings (5-6)
1 19-16 @WAS 10 17-23 GB
2 16-13 CAR 11 20-24 @MIA
3 16-19 CHI 12 31-26 ARZ
4 12-17 @BUF 13 --- @CHI
5 26-17 DET 14 --- @DET
6 Open Bye 15 --- NYJ
7 31-13 @SEA 16 --- @GB
8 7-31 NE 17 --- STL
9 3-9 @SF - MON THU
MIN at CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Brad Johnson 0 0 180
RB Chester Taylor 70 20 0
TE Jermaine Wiggins 0 20 0
WR Marcus Robinson 0 40 0
WR Billy McMullen 0 20 0
WR Travis Taylor 0 50 0
PK Ryan Longwell 1 FG 0 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Vikings have hit hard times to be sure. The defense had been a strength earlier in the season but has allowed the last three opponents to score over 23 points. The offense with Brad Johnson was always supposed to be dink and dunk, but they forgot to make it dink-dunk and score. Relying on Chester Taylor works every so often but not nearly as much in the last five weeks. The remaining schedule is not bad after this Sunday, but the Vikings are showing no signs of improving in this inaugural season for Brad Childress.

Quarterback: Brad Johnson comes off his season best game when he threw for 271 yards and three scores against the Cardinals. That was more touchdown passes then he had thrown in the five previous games combined. But on the road, Johnson has only three scores in five games and never more than one per week. He has not score in a road game since week seven. Johnson is getting better at passing yardage lately, but that stems mainly from using his tight ends more.

Johnson threw for 194 yards and one interception against the Bears earlier this year.

Running Backs: Chester Taylor comes off one of his best efforts of the year when he ran for 136 yards and one score against the Cards last week. Taylor has scored in each of the last two games but he had gone four games without a 100 rushing yard effort until last week. Taylor is the main focus of this offense but he only gained 74 yards on 20 carries in week three against the Bears and that was in the home game.

Wide Receivers: While there is no argument that Troy Williamson has blazing speed, he apparently needs to slow down just long enough to actually catch the ball. Williamson leads the league with ten dropped passes and has been benched by Childress. That leaves Travis Taylor and Marcus Robinson as primary receivers. Robinson leads all wideouts here with four receiving touchdowns and has the confidence of Johnson more than any other wideout here. Billy McMullen scored last week for the second time in three games but he had not catches in week 11. Travis Taylor only has one score on the year but has been consistent around 65 yards for the last three games.

Back in week three against the Bears, Travis Taylor led all receivers with six passes for 82 yards. Williamson only had 39 yards on four receptions.

Tight Ends: Jermaine Wiggins has been increasing his role lately with six catches in each of the last two games and yardage of 66 and 52 yards. On this team - that is one of the more consistent performances by any player.

Wiggins only gained nine yards on one catch against the Bears this year.

Match Against the Defense: The Bears have yet to allow any opposing running back to score in Chicago this year and other but both Gore and Ronnie Brown had decent yardage games as a surprise. Expect nothing more than a moderate game here by Taylor who should have at least respectable numbers since the Vikings will want to run as much as possible.

Brad Johnson did not score against the Bears last time and he is certainly no better this go around. With the last home game by the Bears being when the Dolphins won, expect a big defensive showing this week that could make even field goals a challenge.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 23 13 21 17 15 3
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 1 3 6 1 2 18


Chicago Bears (9-2)
1 26-0 @GB 10 38-20 @NYG
2 34-7 DET 11 10-0 @NYJ
3 19-16 @MIN 12 13-17 @NE
4 37-6 SEA 13 --- MIN
5 40-7 BUF 14 --- @STL
6 24-23 @ARZ 15 --- TB
7 Open Bye 16 --- @DET
8 41-10 SF 17 --- GB
9 13-31 MIA - - MON
CHI \vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Rex Grossman 0 0 240,2
RB Thomas Jones 50 0 0
RB Cedric Benson 40 10 0
TE Desmond Clark 0 20 0
WR Muhsin Muhammad 0 80,1 0
WR Rashied Davis 0 30 0
WR Bernard Berrian 0 90,1 0
PK Robbie Gould 2 FG 2 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Bears continue their hold as the #1 stingiest defense with only 137 points allowed and coming off just their second loss of the season won't put them in a good mood. Since this is the first home game to follow the loss to the Fins in Chicago, it makes this week have twice as much reason to beat up on the Vikings again. Grossman has been erratic lately but the defense and rushing game should be enough in this one.

Quarterback: Rex Grossman comes off his second bad game in a row. After only managing 119 yards and one score against the Jets, he only completed 15 of 34 passes for 176 yards and three interceptions in New England last week. But Grossman has consistently played much better when at home where he has thrown for at least two scores in four of five games - only the Dolphins shocker was the odd game with just one score. Grossman also has thrown interceptions in one home game - again the Dolphins. There is every reason why the Bears in general and Grossman in particular will want to have a good game here.

Grossman threw for 278 yards and one score against two interceptions against the Vikings this year.

Running Backs: An interesting development of sorts came up last week when not only did Cedric Benson get 10 carries in a road game, they came during a loss and not a blowout. And Benson remained in at the goal line and scored. And he gained 46 yards. Thomas Jones had 23 carries and netted 99 yards so both were productive last week. But Benson had more playing time - and at a critical point - than he had in previous games. And he played well. Jones remains the primary back with a 2:1 ratio over Benson, but apparently the Bears are getting more comfortable with Benson - and being rewarded for it.

Jones only gained 54 yards on 18 carries in Minnesota this season. Benson never had a carry that week.

Wide Receivers: Bernard Berrian is back healthy and comes off a 104 yard effort last week. That dwarfed the mere 37 yards gained by Muhsin Muhammad who had a bad game in week 11 as well. Muhammad has cored four times this year and all but one came in home games. Rashied Davis is now sharing time with Mark Bradley but with Berrian back, neither wideout had more than one catch last week.

Muhammad turned in 118 yards on nine catches against the Vikes this year while Berrian gained 70 yards on six receptions. Rashied Davis had the lone score on his three grabs for 45 yards.

Tight Ends: Desmond Clark has been little used for the last three weeks. He scored in week ten but only had one short catch the same as the following week. Against the Patriots in a loss, Clark only had two receptions for 14 yards.

Clark gained 39 yards on three catches in Minnesota this year.

Match Against the Defense: The Vikings rush defense has been outstanding and has only allowed three rushing scores on the entire season. No runner has gained more than 78 yards against them and the Bears are going to split duty between Benson and Thomas. Look for only mediocre numbers here from the rushing game and likely no score.

Grossman faces a secondary that has bee getting worse each week. Their last three opponents all threw for more than 250 yards and at least one score while three teams have topped 300 passing yards against them. Look for a good game here by Grossman with two scores but only good yardage. No need to throw too much when the defense alone may do the trick.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM    QB   RB   WR   TE   PK  DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 17 15 11 10 1 2
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 22 2 30 8 28 25