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

Prediction: IND 23, MIN 20

Update: Dallas Clark was held out of practice on Wednesday and Thursday but returned for limited participation on Friday. He will be a game time decision so I will not include him in the projections. This is an early game, so you should be able to determine if he is playing in plenty of time to address your other options if needed. Safest play is not to use him of course.

The Colts come off a surprising loss to the visiting Bears while the Vikes were nipped in Green Bay. Normally this would be a top offense going against a top defense, but neither team has played to their strengths yet. The Vikes do return home which is an advantage but the Colts are pretty familiar with playing in a dome. Neither team will drop to 0-2 without a fight.

Indianapolis Colts (0-1)
Homefield: Lucas Oil Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CHI 13-29 -9.5 44
2 @MIN - -2 43.5
3 JAX - - -
4 BYE - - -
5 @HOU - - -
6 BAL - - -
7 @GB - - -
8 @TEN - - -
9 NE - - -
10 @PIT - - -
11 HOU - - -
12 @SD - - -
13 @CLE - - -
14 CIN - - -
15 DET - - -
16 @JAX - - -
17 TEN - - -
IND at MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Peyton Manning     280,2
RB Joseph Addai 70 20,1  
WR Marvin Harrison   70  
WR Reggie Wayne   90,1  
WR Anthony Gonzalez   50  
PK Adam Vinatieri 3 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: Were the game score reversed from Monday night, no one would bat an eye. But the Bears really did come to Indy and throttle the Colts who could only score one touchdown in the game. Peyton Manning was obviously and shockingly rusty and that reverberated through out the offense. It was only one game but it was at home and the Colts were favored by over nine points. No time like the present to get back on track.

Quarterback: Peyton Manning had a respectable game completing 30 of 49 for 257 yards and one score and he had no interceptions or fumbles. But he was clearly off on many passes, particularly when the field grew shorter and the routes demanded more precision. Losing Dallas Clark as also no help. On the road against the Vikings is a tough spot to turn the ship around, but the Colts have little choice since they host the Jaguars next week and cannot be 0-2 going into that game.

Running Backs: The Colts did not have much opportunity to run last week. The Bears specifically game planned to take the run away and with Chicago gaining an early lead, the Colts only had 15 rushing plays. Joseph Addai gained only 44 yards on 12 carries and had a mild concussion in the fourth quarter. He did not return but by late game the Colts no longer ran anyway. Addai is expected to play this week and I will assume him as 100% unless there are later reports changing it.

Dominic Rhodes did not resume his role as a tandem in the backfield since he only had two carries for two yards and even Mike Hart was given one run.

Wide Receivers: The big news is that Marvin Harrison appears to be back after catching eight passes for 76 yards and only one fumble. Harrison was more heavily used early in the game and later Reggie Wayne became the primary focus of Manning. Wayne ended with ten catches for 86 yards and the lone Colt's touchdown. Anthony Gonzalez still figures in and had five catches for 48 yards. Manning was not as closely in synch with the wideouts as he usually was and 36 passes only resulted in 23 completions to the position.

Tight Ends: Dallas Clark injured his knee in the first quarter last Monday did not return. HC Tony Dungy said he believed that Clark would be okay this week but until he practices, I will assume he does not play.

Match Against the Defense: The Vikings at home have long been great against the run but questionable against the pass. Expect only a moderate showing here by Joseph Addai against a team that never allowed any visiting runner more than 76 yards last year. The Colts will have to win via the pass and Manning should be better if not more humbled after last week. The Vikings gave up 300+ yard games to Favre, McNabb and Culpepper last year at home and Manning needs to get a good effort under his belt. Expect no more than a couple of touchdown passes. No team had more than two and only four wideouts scored there in 2007. That favors Wayne again but could be Harrison. Clark would be a strong start if he plays.

Gaining Fantasy Points IND 13 28 4 28 11 24
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 28 14 11 6 19 26

Minnesota Vikings (0-1)
Homefield: Metrodome
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @GB 19-24 +3 38.5
2 IND - +2 43.5
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 vs IND Rush Catch Pass
QB Tarvaris Jackson 40,1   170
RB Chester Taylor 30 20  
RB Adrian Peterson 120,1 20  
TE Visanthe Shiancoe   20  
WR Bernard Berrian   40  
WR Bobby Wade   20  
WR Sidney Rice   40  
PK Ryan Longwell 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Vikings come off a loss in Green Bay where the weakness of 2007 was proudly still on display - an inability to pass when needed. Adrian Peterson looked as strong and fast as last year while Tarvaris Jackson completed only 46% of his passes and the offense could not move quickly when needed. The game ended appropriately on an interception. The defense was still mostly good, the rushing game excellent and the Vikings will never take the next step until they figure out how to pass when everyone knows they are going to.

Quarterback: Tarvaris Jackson did only complete 46% of his passes but his 16 of 35 showing only ended with 178 yards and one score. Jackson actually had several pinpoint accurate passes and more than one a receiver dropped the pass. But overall it was still on Jackson for the passing game falling short. He made up for it part with nine rushes for 65 yards and those runs advanced the ball as well as any pass. But it still comes up as a glaring hole in the Vikings offense.

Running Backs: The only thing not to like about Adrian Peterson is that he does not get 30 carries every week. He ran for 103 yards on 19 carries and scored once in Green Bay. He looked explosive, powerful and fast sometimes all on the same play. An early difference this year is that Chester Taylor only had five carries and gained just 19 yards. He is just relief this year, no longer a tandem half of the backfield.

The intended plan of using Peterson more as a receiver never materialized in week one. He only had two passes and caught just one of them. Taylor had three catches and was used more in obvious passing situations.

Wide Receivers: The addition of Bernard Berrian (3-38) hasn't resulted in much so far and Sidney Rice saved his fantasy value by catching a touchdown during his two receptions for 31 yards. Bobby Wade whiffed on all four of his passes on Monday. This offense is predicated on running the ball and while both Berrian and Rice have the talent, the offense doesn't move well when it turns to the pass.

Tight Ends: Visanthe Shiancoe only had three catches for 21 yards last week and surprisingly Garrett Mills also had three receptions for 49 yards but the position has never been consistent in the past. No reliable fantasy value here despite the 70 yards on six catches to the position last week.

Match Against the Defense: The Colts uncharacteristically gave up 173 rushing yards and two touchdowns to the Bears running backs last week and that bodes well for Peterson who should have well over 20 carries this week. Look for a good game here with no less than one score and a chance for two.

Jackson is not going to pass much until he needs to and then he won't pass that well. Expect a similar result to last week only without the touchdown. The Colts cornerbacks are one of their team strengths.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 10 10 24 13 13 31
Preventing Fantasy Points IND 3 29 4 23 26 29

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