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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

Prediction: MIN 20, GB 17

Update: James Jones is listed as Doubtful but is not expected to play after missing practice this week though he was upgraded from out to the doubtful. I have removed him from the projections and his absence will likely be filled in by Ruvell Martin though Jordy Nelson could get some playing time as well. Ryan Gran has been of most interest since he did not practice on Wednesday or Friday but had a full session on Thursday and is expected to play on Monday. His hamstring strain is not yet 100% but close and the coaches gave him off Friday just to prevent any possible setback. They said Grant is ready for a fulltime load of 25 carries or more so he is good to start.

Tarvaris Jackson will play and has been in practice Thursday and Friday after spraining his knee in the preseason.

A very old matchup takes a very new spin. The Packers start the new Rodgers era though so far it can only be considered the "non-Favre" era. The Packers swept the Vikes in 2007, winning 34-0 at home and 23-16 on the road. The Vikings return all the same players of note from last year and get their first shot at seeing what the new Packers are all about.

Minnesota Vikings (0-0)
Homefield: Metrodome
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @GB - +3 38.5
2 IND - - -
3 CAR - - -
4 @TEN - - -
5 @NO - - -
6 DET - - -
7 @CHI - - -
8 BYE - - -
9 HOU - - -
10 GB - - -
11 @TB - - -
12 @JAX - - -
13 CHI - - -
14 @DET - - -
15 @ARZ - - -
16 ATL - - -
17 NYG - - -
MIN at GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Tarvaris Jackson 20   180
RB Chester Taylor 40,1 20  
RB Adrian Peterson 100,1 10  
TE Visanthe Shiancoe   10  
WR Bernard Berrian   50  
WR Bobby Wade   40  
WR Sidney Rice   50  
PK Ryan Longwell 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Vikings defense has been a strength for a couple of seasons now but the addition of Adrian Peterson last year gave the offense an entirely new look. The Offensive Rookie of the Year has made the lack of passing a moot point and is a perfect complement for that defense. Hold back the opposing offenses and when the Vikes have the ball - jam it down their throat. The Vikings ended 8-8 last year and should finally see a return to the playoffs this year.

Quarterback: Tarvaris Jackson sprained his MCL but has assured everyone that he will be playing this week. Jackson was quietly improving towards the end of last year and the addition of Bernard Berrian can only help the team that ranked 31st in passing yardage and 30th in passing scores. This will always be a run first team but a bit more development by Jackson will go a long way to a winning record.

Tarvaris Jackson never played against the Packers last year. Kelly Holcomb (258 yards, 1 TD) had the start in week four and Brooks Bollinger (176 yards) was the starter in the road game in week ten.

Running Backs: No questions here this season. Adrian Peterson took the NFL by storm as a rookie setting the single game rushing record and almost turning in the most rushing yards in the league despite only being a part time player in most games. He is the focal point now and enjoys one of the best offensive lines in the NFL. What Peterson needs most if to gain more consistency each week. 200+ yard games are great but less so in fantasy terms if he lays clunkers in the next two weeks.

Peterson rushed for 112 yards on 12 carries and Chester Taylor gained 40 yards on eight runs in the home meeting with the Packers. In the road game, Peterson only managed 45 yards on 11 carries in Green Bay and Taylor only tacked on 37 yards as well though he had 57 yards as a receiver. Neither back scored in either meeting.

Wide Receivers: The Vikings were horrible with wideouts last year but the rookie Sidney Rice had a few nice games and returns as the starter. He pairs with Bernard Berrian who should replace Troy Williamson AND catch the ball when it is thrown to him. As bad as the passing attack was last year, it was improving later in the year and each opposing defense already has to worry about stopping the run first.

Rice gained 75 yards on six catches and scored in the first meeting with the Packers but later no wideout had more than 59 yards in the game in Green Bay.

Tight Ends: The Vikings rarely use Visanthe Shiancoe for much more than a blocker. No fantasy value here.

Match Against the Defense: The Packers may have had changes with Favre leaving but the defense remains largely intact from 2007. The unknown quality here is what effect there will be to the defense from the offense missing Favre? Last year no runner had more than 85 rushing yards in Green Bay but then again almost no runner had more than around 20 carries. Expect a decent game here by Peterson but not a monster. The passing game hasn't been that productive anyway so there's no reason to expect any breakout here.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 29 1 27 30 24 3
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 13 13 4 28 10 2
Rank Advantage (-31 to 31) MIN -16 12 -23 -2 -14 -1

Green Bay Packers (0-0)
Homefield: Lambeau Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 MIN - -3 38.5
2 @DET - - -
3 DAL - - -
4 @TB - - -
5 ATL - - -
6 @SEA - - -
7 IND - - -
8 BYE - - -
9 @TEN - - -
10 @MIN - - -
11 CHI - - -
12 @NO - - -
13 CAR - - -
14 HOU - - -
15 @JAX - - -
16 @CHI - - -
17 DET - - -
GBP vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers     230,1
RB Ryan Grant 90,1 30  
TE Donald Lee   40,1  
WR Donald Driver   40  
WR Greg Jennings   70  
WR James Jones 30
PK Mason Crosby 1 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: If you really want to measure your life, just think about the difference between now and the last time the Packers opened a game without Brett Favre as the starter (1992). Aaron Rodgers inherits the unenviable task of following up a legend but since it entails being a starting quarterback in the NFL, it really is okay. The Packers went through a magic season in 2007 when Favre turned in his most productive effort in nine years. It's unfair to expect Rodgers to replicate Favre's stats, particularly coming off a great 2007 season. But it will be fascinating and just a bit tiresome until the announcers stop talking about Favre during Packers games.

Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers has seasoned on the bench for three years waiting for Favre to leave. In that time he has only completed 35 passes in the NFL for exactly one touchdown. The rest of the offense remains intact though and a well versed Rodgers could well surprise. This week he faces a well known opponent - we get to see if he has been playing attention while holding that clipboard for so long.

With Favre at the helm, the Packers had big passing game against the Vikings last year. He passed for 344 and 351 yards with a total of five touchdowns over the two meetings.

Running Backs: In the space of one year, Ryan Grant went from a practice squad player lucky to be employed to averaging over 90 rushing yards per week and thinking he is underpaid. Grant stepped in during week eight and was everything that Brandon Jackson wasn't. Grant scored 11 times in ten games and broke 100 rushing yards six times including a 201 yard effort against the Seahawks. The effect of Favre's leaving will definitely be felt by Grant if Rodgers doesn't measure up.

Grant has barely played this summer because of a hamstring strain but until more is known later in the week, I will assume that Grant plays without limitation.

Grant was the starter in the home game against the Vikes and ran for 119 yards and one score last season.

Wide Receivers: Greg Jennings had a breakout season in 2007 when he converted 53 catches into 920 yards and 13 touchdowns. He scored in nine of thirteen games but only broke 100 yards twice. Rodgers' first order of business is connecting with Jennings. Donald Driver turns 34 but still chugs along even if that only meant two scores during an otherwise prolific year by Favre. Driver remains a solid possession receiver but his lack of scoring barely makes him into a viable fantasy starter.

Jennings had games of 43 and 63 yards against the Vikings with a score in the road game. Driver had efforts of 58 and 63 yards in those games.

Tight Ends: Donald Lee had a career best 48 catches for 575 yards and six scores last year and he could be a good friend to Rodgers looking for a quicker pass to throw. The Packers also drafted Jermichael Finley who should figure in for future seasons but less so 2007.

Lee scored in both games against the Vikes last year and had as many as 66 yards in those games.

Match Against the Defense: The Packers picked the secondary apart but Rodgers is not Favre and the Vikings will be aiming to rattle him. The Vikings are great at stopping the run which should hold Grant from having a huge game but he'll be decent enough and should have at least one rushing score. Rodgers will try to connect on deep passes with Jennings but it may be early to expect too much.

Gaining Fantasy Points GB 5 14 6 10 1 8
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 26 2 27 26 15 12
Rank Advantage (-31 to 31) GB 21 -12 21 16 14 -4

The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late


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