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

Prediction: MIN 27, SF 13

Now is the time of the season for the truly bad teams to sink a little lower and the surprising teams to move ahead. That pretty much defines these two teams. The 49ers have never won outside their division this year and that is not about to change.

The 49ers won 9-3 when the Vikings visited in week nine last season.

Minnesota Vikings (6-6)
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 42-10 -3.5 44.5
14 @SF   -7.5 39
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 at SFO Rush Catch Pass
QB Tarvaris Jackson     160,1
RB Chester Taylor 60,1 20  
RB Adrian Peterson 110,1 10  
TE Visanthe Shiancoe   10  
WR Bobby Wade   50  
WR Sidney Rice   60,1  
PK Ryan Longwell 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: What to think about a team that has been horrible at the pass all season but that has scored 113 points over the last three weeks? One that was shutout 34-0 by the Packers just four weeks ago? Or that has a quarterback who has been the most ineffective of any show up with 204 yards and two scores last week? It would be easy to say that it is all about Adrian Peterson and his effect but two of the most recent wins came with him out. The Vikings are making a move at just the right time and the combination of a good defense, devastating rushing game and apparently a smidgeon of passing could see these Vikings reach the playoffs this year.

Quarterback: Okay, it was against the visiting Lions but Tarvaris Jackson passed for 204 yards and two scores last week for career highs on both counts. He even had a score the previous week in New York. What he has done so far this year and minimize mistakes with only two interceptions in the last six games but at least in one game, he could actually pass, Having a tremendous ground game does open it up for even Jackson.

Brad Johnson was the starter in the game against the 49ers last year and only passed for 136 yards.

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson is such a slam dunk for Offensive Rookie of the Year that no one knows or cares who #2 might be. He is not only #1 in the NFL with 1197 rushing yards, he did that in just ten games and the #2 best Willie Parker has 103 yards less than him. Peterson also ranks #2 with 10 rushing scores. He missed two games with a knee injury and when he returns with a brace on, he still gained 116 yards on 15 carries and scores twice. It is rare to see a rookie that just smacks of greatness. Even less common to see him display it in his rookie season above a league of veterans.

And despite that, Chester Taylor remains a decent start as well. He had 70 yards on 14 carries last week and scored once. It's just fun to watch this running game.

Taylor gained 96 yards on 26 carries in San Francisco last season.

Wide Receivers: Troy Williamson was inactive for the third time this year due to lingering effects from a concussion. But in his absence that no one has really felt, Bobby Wade caught his first touchdown of the year last week and Sidney Rice scored his third touchdown in the last four games. Hard as it is to believe, Rice is becoming worthy of a fantasy start each week. But with this running game, no wideout is likely to ever turn in big numbers, particularly with Jackson as quarterback.

No wideout had more than 19 yards in San Francisco last year.

Tight Ends: Thanks for the one catch per week, Visanthe Shiancoe. That's not even worth learning how to spell your name.

Match Against the Defense: The 49ers rank as just below average against the run but realize that comes with so many games against bad rushing teams and the fact most opponents just pass for the win. No reason not to expect a great game here from the runners with a score for each. The slower field at Monster Park is less ideal than the Metrodome but not enough of an factor to consider much.

Jackson has been better these last two weeks and faces a secondary that has always given up a score or two. Figure on the one this week which has to favor Rice the most. Chances are too that it could just end up with the running backs on a rush anyway.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 30 1 28 30 23 1
Preventing Fantasy Points SF 20 21 22 20 26 31


San Francisco 49ers (3-9)
Homefield: Monster Park
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 ARI 20-17 -3.5 45
2 @STL 17-16 +3 44
3 @PIT 16-37 +9 35.5
4 SEA 3-23 +1.5 40.5
5 BAL 7-9 +3.5 34.5
6 BYE - - -
7 @NYG 6-33 +9.5 40
8 NO 10-31 +2.5 40
9 @ATL 16-20 +3 37
10 @SEA 0-24 +10 39.5
11 STL 9-13 +2.5 41
12 @ARI 37-31 +10 38
13 @CAR 14-31 +3 35.5
14 MIN   +7.5 39
15 CIN 15-Dec SAT 8:15 PM
16 TB 23-Dec SUN 8:15 PM
17 @CLE 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
SFO vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Trent Dilfer     230,1
RB Frank Gore 60 30  
TE Vernon Davis   30  
WR Darrell Jackson   50,1  
WR Arnaz Battle   70  
WR Ashley Lelie   30  
PK Joe Nedney 2 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Cardinals are the only saving grace for the 49ers this year since they have supplied two of the three wins. Were it not for them, the 49ers would be on a ten game losing streak. In non-Cardinal games this year the 49ers have never scored more than 17 points and have eight times scored only one or no touchdowns in the game. Being the 49ers scoreboard operator is like the easiest job in the world.

Quarterback: Though the offense struggles, at least Trent Dilfer has thrown for two scores in each of the last two games and he's been far more effective than Alex Smith was. Granted, he had four interceptions last week and has been sacked 26 times in six games. And he has seven scores against 11 interceptions and two lost fumbles. But that is still superior to Smith.

Smith only passed for 105 yards and one interception against the visiting Vikings last year.

Running Backs: The season of agony continues for Frank Gore. The equation is pretty simple so far. If the 49ers win the game (ie. face the Cardinals), then Gore has been great and scored five times in three games. If they lose the game, which is up to nine times so far, then he never scores and averages around 57 rushing yards per game. His only saving grace is catching about three passes for maybe 25 yards. While he has been wildly less productive this year, he still has a four yard per carry average. He just rarely gets more than 15 carries in any game.

Gore ran for just 41 yards on 19 carries against the Vikes last season.

Wide Receivers: Arnaz Battle gets the benefit of being the wideout no one cares about and has scored in each of the last two games. He still has never had more than 86 yards in a week so far but at least his yardage has increased since Dilfer took over. Not so for Darrell Jackson who hasn't been over 43 yards in a game since week three and has only one touchdown on the year.

No wideout had more than 24 receiving yards against the Vikings last year.

Tight Ends: Vernon Davis is perhaps setting up for a nice 2008 if a real quarterback lands in San Francisco but this year he has balanced nice efforts with too many clunkers to rely on him., He had six catches for 45 yards and a score in Arizona and followed that up with only once catch for 19 yards. His best game of the year was catching seven passes for 77 yards in Atlanta and then followed that up with one catch for four yards against the Seahawks. Been that kind of year.

Match Against the Defense: Let's see, Frank Gore the best weapon going against the #3 rushing defense who knows he is the best weapon. Expect more mediocrity this week with a few catches to give him just moderate fantasy value.

Dilfer not only faces the #27 defense against quarterbacks, he only has the #31 passing attack to use. Look for one touchdown here via the pass that goes to a wideout. Battle has been the most productive but I like Jackson this week. He is due for a score and hardly commanding much attention anymore. Vikings opponents have been throwing for 250 yards every week but that is likely out of reach for this offense.

Gaining Fantasy Points SF 31 29 30 21 31 31
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 27 3 29 21 21 9

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

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