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

Prediction: CHI 13, MIN 27

This is the second meeting between these teams with the Vikings already winning 34-31 in Chicago back in week six. The Bears are only 3-4 on the road this year while the Vikes are 4-2 at home and have Adrian Peterson back... at least in spirit. The Vikings remain in playoff contention with a 7-6 record and have won their last four games while the Bears are slip-sliding away on the heels of two losses. The only truly notable aspect of this game is that for perhaps the first time in NFL history, both starting running backs will have the same name. On a Monday night no less.

Chicago Bears (5-8)
Homefield: Soldier Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SD 3-14 +5.5 42.5
2 KC 20-10 -12 34.5
3 DAL 10-34 -3 41
4 @DET 27-37 -2.5 46
5 @GB 27-20 +3 41
6 MIN 31-34 -5 35.5
7 @PHI 19-16 +4.5 40.5
8 DET 7-16 -5 44
9 BYE - - -
10 @OAK 17-6 -3 38.5
11 @SEA 23-30 +5.5 37.5
12 DEN 37-34 -2.5 41
13 NYG 16-21 +1.5 43
14 @WAS 16-24 +3 37.5
15 @MIN   +9.5 43.5
16 GB 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 NO 30-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
CHI at MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Kyle Orton     180,1
RB Adrian Peterson 40 10  
TE Greg Olsen   20  
WR Bernard Berrian   50  
WR Muhsin Muhammad   40  
WR Devin Hester   50,1  
PK Robbie Gould 2 FG 1 XP  

Pregame Notes: Rex Grossman suffered a partially torn medial collateral ligament that will keep him out for the rest of the year and HC Lovie Smith has already named Kyle Orton as the starter this week. That is one of those "look, I am still trying to win here" sort of moves by the Bears head coach in a season that is not ending any better than it started. After this road game, the Bears finish out at home but still have to face the Packers and then the Saints. If nothing else, a losing season is a lock by now and the Bears will leave 2006 still not knowing which quarterback to use or with any semblance of a rushing game.

Quarterback: The Bears are throwing in the white towel already with opting for Kyle Orton as starter despite Griese throwing for a season high 381 yards and three scores during the first meeting with the Vikings. Orton has not played since 2005 when he played in 15 games and only had nine scores and 13 interceptions. This is a curious move in a season filled with unresolved questions. The only truly good performance by a Chicago quarterback this year was when Griese played the Vikings. Now he sits.

It would be reasonable to question if starting Orton is not just a ploy. On a Monday night game? Just hard to believe.

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson was actually more productive when Cedric Benson was still the starter. After two games without Benson, Peterson has rushed for only 102 yards on 39 carries though he had seven catches for 82 yards against the Giants. Last week - he was back to just one catch thanks mostly to the increased use of Garrett Wolfe who had four catches for 37 yards in a third down role. Going against a tough Vikings defense this week doesn't make any Chicago runner an appealing start.

Cedric Benson only gained 67 yards on 18 carries against the Vikes earlier this year.

Wide Receivers: What to expect out of the Vikings passing attack this week with Orton as starter is hard to gauge. The Bears passed well in the first meeting with the Vikes when Bernard Berrian caught five passes for 78 yards and one score. Devin Hester caught one 57-yard touchdown pass and Muhsin Muhammad scored once on his two catches for 44 yards. back in 2005, Orton only twice managed to throw for more than 159 yards in a game so unless he has been seasoned well on the bench for the last two years, the apparent opportunity against a soft MIN secondary seems to be squandered here.

Tight Ends: So far this year, Griese liked Desmond Clark and Grossman liked Greg Olsen and one-time third-stringer Orton has spent the year throwing to John Gilmore. Not a safe week to start any Chicago tight end.

Olsen had five receptions for 63 yards against the Vikes this year while Desmond Clark caught three passes for 48 yards.

Match Against the Defense: The Vikings have one of those rare defenses that is top ranked against the run and one of the worst against the pass. There is no way that Peterson or Wolfe has any fantasy relevance this week but the Bears are switching to Orton just when they get a chance to really pass well for one week. With Orton on the bench for the last two seasons, whatever he can do is obviously highly speculative, but the Bears will trail in this game and they will not be rushing well.

Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 18 28 21 7 8 7
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 29 2 28 24 16 7


Minnesota Vikings (7-6)
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 27-7 -7.5 39
15 CHI   -9.5 43.5
16 WAS 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 @DEN 30-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
MIN vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Tarvaris Jackson     150
RB Chester Taylor 80,1 20  
RB Adrian Peterson 130,2 10  
TE Visanthe Shiancoe   10  
WR Robert Ferguson   20  
WR Bobby Wade   30  
WR Sidney Rice   60  
PK Ryan Longwell 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: Since being shutout in Green Bay in week 10, the Vikings have been on fire with an offense that is cranking out points and a defense that gets better each week. The Vikings are currently in the lead for the final wild card and with two home games up next, they should end up securing it even if the finale' in Denver goes badly. While all the talk this year has been about the rookie Adrian Peterson, what hasn't received nearly the credit due is an offensive line that ranks among the best in the NFL.

Quarterback: Tarvaris Jackson has throw for a score in each of the last three games thanks in no small part to the running game that has most defensive coordinators wetting their pants. Jackson rarely has more than 160 passing yards in a game because he rarely has the need to lately. He's still sub-standard as an NFL quarterback but the rushing game and defense make him look much more successful than he should.

Jackson passed for 136 yards and one touchdown in the first meeting with the Bears and did not have any rushes.

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson is absolutely the most jaw-dropping running back in the NFL. After two games over 200 rushing yards including the most productive rushing game in NFL history, he ran 14 times for three yards last week in San Francisco. And close your mouth before you attract flies.

But Peterson has been much more effective in home games than on the road with one exception. He rumbled for 224 yards and three scores in Chicago this year. And this time he is at home. Peterson ranks #2 in the NFL with 1200 rushing yards and while he trails Willie Parker by only 17 rushing yards, he has 108 fewer carries. He still averages six yards per carry even after last week.

Chester Taylor still holds onto his fantasy value with a score in each of the last four games and he ran for 83 yards on 20 carries against the Bears back in week six.

Wide Receivers: Sidney Rice continues to be the closest the Vikes can get to a wideout with fantasy value and even he had less than 21 yards in two of the last four games. As if that is not bad enough, Robert Ferguson had the lone receiving score last week. The pathetic passing numbers usually benefit no wideout but Rice has the team lead with four receiving scores this year.

Only Troy Williamson had a notable game in Chicago this season when he scored once on his two receptions for 69 yards.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value and just one score on the year from the entire crew.

Match Against the Defense: No real changes here from the first time other than Peterson has been electric before flopping last week. The second best game of his career came against the Bears in Chicago and they just lost two more defensive linemen for the year. Look for ample rushing here from both Peterson and Taylor. After last week, Peterson needs to make amends.

Jackson will throw occasionally if only to justify why the Bears do not opt for direct snaps to the running backs but anything more than one score and minimal passing yardage has to be considered a trick play.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 31 1 28 30 20 1
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 11 30 13 27 19 28

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

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