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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night
On Bye

Prediction: SD 24, MIN 10

After opening to a 1-3 mark, the Chargers have won their last three games in impressive fashion while the Vikings have fallen to 2-5 on the season and lost both the most recent home games by the same 16-23 score. This will be a good defensive test for the Chargers but in the end, the Vikes are limited to little more than Adrian Peterson on offense.

Update: Though he has been limited in practice, the Vikings now expect Tarvaris Jackson to be the starter this week and I am adding him back into the projections. Bobby Wade has not practiced this week because of his knee hyper-extended knee and remains likely to miss this week. As if the passing game with Jackson and without Wade is not bad enough, Troy Williamson had a death in his family and has not been with the team the last couple of days but is still expected to play.

Craig Davis was held out of practice entirely on Wednesday and Thursday because of his sprained ankle and is likely to miss this week. I am adding Malcolm Floyd in his place.

San Diego Chargers (4-3)
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CHI 14-3 -5.5 42.5
2 @NE 14-38 +3 47
3 @GB 24-31 -5 43
4 KC 16-30 -13 38.5
5 @DEN 41-3 -1 43
6 OAK 28-14 -9.5 44
7 BYE - - -
8 HOU 35-10 -11 45
9 @MIN   -7 41
10 IND 11-Nov SUN 8:15 PM
11 @JAC 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 BAL 25-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
13 @KC 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 @TEN 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 DET 16-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
16 DEN 24-Dec MON 8:00 PM
17 @OAK 30-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
SDC at MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers     270,2
RB LaDainian Tomlinson 70 20  
TE Antonio Gates   100,1  
WR Vincent Jackson   50  
WR Craig Davis 20
WR Malcolm Floyd   20  
WR Chris Chambers   70,1  
PK Nate Kaeding 1 FG 3 XP  
Pregame Notes: Quite the change over the last three weeks with the Chargers averaging around 35 points per game while never giving up more than 14. First Tomlinson got back on track and now Philip Rivers is finding it easy to throw touchdowns. Just as important is that the Chargers have stopped giving up 30+ points per game and that makes it all work much easier. This upcoming stretch - @MIN, IND, and @JAC will present three chances to show what the team can do against top defenses.

Quarterback: Last week Philip Rivers only threw 11 passes but completed seven for 130 yards and two touchdowns to Antonio Gates. Now that is effective play. That marks four games this year where Rivers has tossed at least two scores and he has only been sacked twice in the last four games. The offense is coming together again and the addition of Chris Chambers should help Rivers a great deal. Vincent Jackson was decent enough but now Rivers has three great options for receivers and four if you count Tomlinson.

Running Backs: While LaDainian Tomlinson only gained 90 yards on 17 carries, he ran effectively against the Texans but did not score. Since the turn around, the only "down" game he has produced was the only road game - in Denver where most players have been running wild but Tomlinson only came up with 67 yards on 21 carries. Another concern about Tomlinson is that he's always been good for at least three catches in every game but last week only reeled in one pass. Granted - there were only eleven thrown in the game but Tomlinson's fantasy value has always had a boost from his receiving. The presence of Chambers now gives Rivers another outlet. Only one game is not worthy of drawing conclusions form but it is something that merits watching.

Wide Receivers: Too early to tell if it means anything (and it likely does not) but Chris Chambers first game with the Chargers produced two catches for 35 yards and a touchdown. And Chambers was thrown five passes - almost half of the eleven attempts. Vincent Jackson only had one pass and it was incomplete. Again - Chambers role bears watching in the offense that would be more diverse with a good possession wideout other than Vincent Jackson.

Tight Ends: Five touchdowns and four games over 90 yards already this season. Chambers is there now but Antonio Gates still had three catches for 92 yards and two scores last Sunday.

Match Against the Defense: Tomlinson faces one of the best rushing defenses in the league this week and the Vikings have only allowed two rushing scores all season. The best performance in Minnesota so far has been Westbrook with only 46 yards on 21 carries. Expect a lower game from Tomlinson this week with a lesser chance that he will score.

The Vikings weakness that all exploit is their pass defense and virtually all opponents score at least once through the air and Favre had 344 yards and two scores there as well. Figure Rivers as good for those same two scores that will likely have the same split as last week. I like the chance for a defensive score here but it could also end up with Tomlinson potentially. The Vikings have surrendered over 270 passing yards to each of their last four opponents.

Gaining Fantasy Points SD 21 2 32 1 28 3
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 28 6 30 24 22 13


Minnesota Vikings (2-5)
Homefield: Metrodome
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 ATL 24-3 -3 36
2 @DET 17-20 +3 42.5
3 @KC 10-13 +3 33.5
4 GB 16-23 +1 38
5 BYE - - -
6 @CHI 34-31 +5 35.5
7 @DAL 14-24 +9.5 46
8 PHI 16-23 +1 37.5
9 SD   +7 41
10 @GB 11-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
11 OAK 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 @NYG 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 DET 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 @SF 9-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
15 CHI 17-Dec MON 8:30 PM
16 WAS 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 @DEN 30-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
MIN vs SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Brooks Bollinger 150
QB Tarvaris Jackson 10   160
RB Chester Taylor 30 20  
RB Adrian Peterson 70,1 10  
TE Visanthe Shiancoe   40  
WR Troy Williamson   30  
WR Sidney Rice   40  
PK Ryan Longwell 1 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: Just when the Vikings were finally feeling good about themselves again from the win in Chicago, they had to play the Cowboys and Eagles to remind them that a lack of offense outside of Adrian Peterson is exactly why they are 2-5 and beyond hope of the playoffs this year. As if the offensive struggles were not enough, the Vikes are now onto their third quarterback and the prospects for a passing game here are slim and none.

Quarterback: Tarvaris Jackson missed last week because of a fractured index finger and Kelly Holcomb managed to throw for a score before he was crushed by a defender and injured his neck. At this point, I am expecting that the Vikings have no other choice than to stick with Brooks Bollinger as the starter this week but will update as warranted. At best Jackson returns and that is hardly a big upgrade to the passing game anyway.

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson has been given the starting nod (amazing it only required seven games) but last week he had his worst game of the year when he ran 20 times for only 70 yards and had no catches for the first time this year. The quarterback situation is no help here and defenses are loading up to stop him but he is clearly the best weapon - and maybe about the only one - that the Vikings have. Chester Taylor was only given six carries last week so the roles have reversed.

Wide Receivers: Not that it matters greatly, but Bobby Wade hyper-extended his knee last week and may not be ready to return for this game. Without Holcomb under center, this unit is devoid of any reliable fantasy value and Sidney Rice and Troy Williamson both only had one catch last week. Rice is an up-and-comer if he only had a decent quarterback. Maybe next year.

Tight Ends: Perhaps worthy of minor note is that Vishante Shiancoe had a season high five catches for 50 yards and a score last week. The touchdown was thrown by Holcomb - not Bollinger. But Bollinger did connect three times for 29 of those yards and in Minnesota, that is big time use.

Match Against the Defense: The problem here is that the Chargers have a very good rushing defense that has only allowed two rushing scores this season. Outside of the one game with Larry Johnson, no runner has gained more than 77 yards though Peterson should get the volume of carries to at least have a moderate game here. I like the Vikings to score one touchdown in this game and that almost has to be Peterson. The biggest question is if Peterson is used as a receiver as well.

Bollinger faces a secondary that has given up plenty of scores to good quarterbacks but third string in Minnesota is not where those kind hide. Plus the Chargers have intercepted nine passes in the last five games so expect a rough time for Bollinger. If there was a passing score, it would have to end up with Shiancoe but that doesn't mean it will happen.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 30 3 31 28 17 2
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 19 4 23 29 7 16

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night
On Bye

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