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

Prediction: DET 20, MIN 23

The Lions beat the visiting Vikings 20-17 back in week two before they knew Peterson was a rookie uber-back and the Lions were still just another team lucky to win their season opener. Now the Vikings have improved considerably - mostly on defense and the running game while the Lions high scoring ways to open the season has taken a downward turn. The key to this game is that Minnesota defense and how well they can keep the Lions from getting into a rhythm with their passing.

Detroit Lions (6-5)
Homefield: Ford Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @OAK 36-21 +1 39
2 MIN 20-17 -3 42.5
3 @PHI 21-56 +6.5 44.5
4 CHI 37-27 +2.5 46
5 @WAS 3-34 +4 44.5
6 BYE - - -
7 TB 23-16 -1.5 43
8 @CHI 16-7 +5 44
9 DEN 44-7 -3 45.5
10 @ARI 21-31 +1 45
11 NYG 10-16 +2.5 49.5
12 GB 26-37 +3.5 48
13 @MIN   +3.5 44.5
14 DAL 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 @SD 16-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
16 KC 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 @GB 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
DET vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna     290,2
RB Kevin Jones 40 30  
TE Sean McHugh   10  
WR Roy Williams   80,1  
WR Mike Furrey   40  
WR Calvin Johnson   70,1  
WR Shaun McDonald   50  
PK Jason Hanson 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: That preseason bluster by Jon Kitna is starting to look a little dicey with only five games to play and four more to win to reach the 10 victory mark he predicted. Particularly with remaining road games in San Diego and Green Bay and a home game against the Cowboys. That's fairly brutal and if the Vikes can end 8-8 on the year that alone will be a success. These Lions are improved this year no doubt but each match-up against a good team shows the progress is far from being complete.

Quarterback: Jon Kitna is back to scoring at least once in every game after taking a three week hiatus from the scoreboard during mid-season but of most concern is that he has only scored just once in home match-ups against the Packers and Giants. He also leads the NFL with 44 sacks - the second worst is Roethlisberger with just 30. Kitna also is top three in both interceptions (12) and lost fumbles (5).

Kitna threw for 245 yards and one score against the Vikes this year and J. T. O'Sullivan came in to add 148 yards and another score.

Running Backs: After two straight horrible weeks against the Cardinals and Giants, Kevin Jones had one of his best games of the year against the Packers on Thanksgiving when he ran for 93 yards and one score and added two catches for 27 yards. That gives him six rushing touchdowns this year during his nine games played. He has been wildly inconsistent week to week though and his scores and typically meager receiving numbers have saved his weekly fantasy value.

The Lions were without Jones in week two and only had 36 rushing yards from Tatum Bell and Brian Calhoun against the Vikes.

Wide Receivers: According to reports, Lions upper management gave OC Mike Martz the directive to start using Calvin Johnson more. On Thanksgiving, he had a record 15 passes thrown to him and caught seven for a career high 83 yards and one touchdown. Roy Williams only had seven passes with three receptions for 32 yards for one of his worst showings of the year. Ditto for Shaun McDonald (2-18) and Mike Furrey (no catches). The question going into this week will be how much of the last game was truly wanting Johnson to earn his paycheck and how much of it was just match-ups and game situation. The Lions went for Johnson to the near exclusion of other receivers.

Roy Williams gained 111 yards on seven carries and scored once in the first meeting with the Vikings. Calvin Johnson turned in four catches for 61 yards and a touchdown as well. Both Furrey and McDonald also had over 60 receiving yards.

Tight Ends: Sean McHugh finally did what he had flirted with all season - he had no catches against the Packers last week. No fantasy value in any week.

Match Against the Defense: The Vikings defense has been great against the run this year and while Kevin Jones is back, he'll be on the road to the Metrodome where runners play on carpet but look like they are stuck in mud. Outside chance of a rushing score here but the yardage will struggle to reach even moderate levels and Jones needs to be used more as a receiver to save his fantasy value.

The Vikings are soft against the pass and while Eli Manning threw four interceptions to lose his game, he still had 273 passing yards. Three of the last five quarterbacks against the Vikings have topped 300 passing yards. I like Kitna to get his groove on here with nice yardage and a couple of scores., The recent change to favoring Calvin Johnson actually fits this game since the Vikes are allowing more to flankers than split ends. Look for him to score once and the other to favor either McDonald or Williams.

Gaining Fantasy Points DET 13 29 3 31 9 3
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 29 5 29 23 22 12


Minnesota Vikings (5-6)
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 35-17 +7 41
10 @GB 0-34 +6.5 40.5
11 OAK 29-22 -5.5 35.5
12 @NYG 41-17 +7 41
13 DET   -3.5 44.5
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 DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Tarvaris Jackson 20   160
RB Chester Taylor 40 30  
RB Adrian Peterson 60,1 20  
TE Visanthe Shiancoe   10  
WR Bobby Wade   30  
WR Sidney Rice   50  
PK Ryan Longwell 3 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Vikings win over the Giants was a perfect example of how they operate. A glance at the score and 41 points says a blowout but the reality was that the Vikings had three interceptions returned for a score, a 60-yard touchdown catch by Sidney Rice which was half the passing totals and one score by Chester Taylor who only gained 2.5 yards per carry. But - it all counts the same. Like the Bears with Hester, the Vikings can win games in all kind of ways.

Quarterback: Tarvaris Jackson comes off his most efficient game of the year when he passed for 129 yards and a score and he completed 10 of 12 in New York. But the score came on a 60-yard score so otherwise, he was 9 of 11 for 69 yards (more akin to his usual pace). In seven starts, Jackson has only tossed three touchdowns and last week was his first since week six. Jackson has never had more than 171 passing yards in any game this year.

Jackson threw for 166 yards and four interceptions in Detroit this year.

Running Backs: The great news is that Adrian Peterson is expected to play this week after injuring his LCL and missing the last two games. His MRI has shown his knee to be healing "excellently" and that is great news for the odds on favorite Offensive Rookie of the Year. But he will be eased back in and not expected to carry another 30 times as he did in his last full start. So - the ratio of sharing depends entirely on how he feels and performs, how well his knee holds up and how effective Chester Taylor is when he carries.

The Vikings got 66 yards on 20 carries from Adrian Peterson in Detroit while Mewelde Moore added 50 yards on six runs.

Wide Receivers: Troy Williams suffered a concussion last week and could not finish the game. I will not project for him though he has not been ruled out because let's be serious - Williams tops out around 30 yards in a good game. Sidney Rice continues to make his mark with that 60-yard score last week which gives him three scores on the year. All combined, the wideouts here have only produced four touchdowns. Rice is still too inconsistent to warrant a fantasy start but at least he has turned in two efforts over 65 yards in the last two games. With Jackson as the starter, this unit is nearly worthless.

No Viking's wideout had more than 34 yards against the Lions this year.

Tight Ends: Like the wideouts, Vishante Shiancoe has been more bad than good and most weeks only have one inconsequential reception. He has been as good as 94 yards in the Raiders game but he cannot be relied on to produce any fantasy points.

Match Against the Defense: The Lions rush defense is actually very good in most games but has been very bad against backs that catch the ball. Expect one rushing score here that hopefully Peterson is healthy enough to take but overall, not a big game thanks to sharing the ball against a decent rushing defense. How many passes go to the running backs will dictate their fantasy value.

The Lions' glaring weakness is against the pass but the Vikings barely have a passing game. There is virtually no chance that Jackson has much yardage and if he did score it would go to Rice. I like the chance for a defensive score this week.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 30 1 31 30 22 2
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 31 30 26 18 10 32

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night

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