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

Prediction: MIN 13, TEN 17

Update: Adrian Peterson was limited in practice all this week but will play. He will share again with Chester Taylor who is also listed as questionable with his sprained foot and was also limited in practice this week. Sidney Rice was limited in practice each day because of his sprained PCL but may still play. I already had the projections low considering these injuries so there is no projection adjustment. The Peterson hamstring injury is problematic in that he is the main weapon but is not playing at a 100% level but at least he is playing.

The Vikings finally get off the losing streak with a simple change in quarterback while the Titans rise to 3-0 with their own replacement under center. While the Vikings need this much worse than the Titans their offense is still all about Adrian Peterson and the Titans have one of the better run stopping units in the league. That matters big this week. This is actually a game between two rather similar teams in many regards.

Minnesota Vikings (1-2)
Homefield: Metrodome
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @GB 19-24 +3 38.5
2 IND 15-18 +2 43.5
3 CAR 20-10 -3.5 37
4 @TEN - +3 36
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 TEN Rush Catch Pass
QB Gus Frerotte     180
RB Chester Taylor 30 20  
RB Adrian Peterson 70,1    
TE Visanthe Shiancoe   20  
WR Bernard Berrian   60  
WR Bobby Wade   30  
WR Sidney Rice   40  
PK Ryan Longwell 2 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: Getting their first win with Frerotte as the starter is hardly going to help Tarvaris Jackson to get his job back anytime soon. The frustrating part for the Vikes is that they have been in all three games and yet are only 1-2 with this tough road trip having the potential to make them 1-3 and almost already out of contention. The move to Frerotte has invigorated the passing game but the offense has to continue to improve if they hope to start winning games.

Quarterback: First game as a starter and Gus Frerotte passed for 204 yards and one score with an interception. That's already more than what Tarvaris Jackson had accomplished and for the first time this year it involved the wide receivers. There is now a little game film out on Frerotte and he faces a defense that loves to sack the quarterback but at least the offense is starting to work as more than just ten guys blocking for Peterson.

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson was hampered by a sore hamstring but gutted it out and played against the Panthers. He had a season low 77 yards on 17 carries while Chester Taylor stepped up to his season high of 11 carries for 44 yards. At this point the assumption is that Peterson plays this week and while he will not be 100%, he should be better than last week.

Even with the lower numbers from last week, Peterson is still #2 in rushing in the NFL with 340 yards though his one touchdown lags all the other top producers.

Wide Receivers: Maybe it wasn't much but the Vikings paid the big bucks to get Bernard Berrian in during the offseason and with Jackson as the starting quarterback, Berrian had only three catches for 38 yards over two weeks. With Frerotte, Berrian turned in three catches for 79 yards against the Panthers which was double the previous team high game. Sidney Rice was out last week with a PCL sprain but expects to return this week and will give Frerotte another very good target. Rice and Berrian hold much promise as a receiving tandem and Frerotte is on the right path for exploiting them.

Tight Ends: With Frerotte as the starter, Visanthe Shiancoe had a season high 38 yards and scored his first touchdown of the year.

Match Against the Defense: The big question is how well can the Titans stop the run? It looks like they are soft when Steve Slaton ran for 118 yards on them last week but 104 yards on nine carries came in the first half (with a 50 yard run). The second half he had nine carries and only gained 14 yards once they adjusted to him. And the Titans will make Peterson job one. Since he is still nursing a hammy and this is on the road, I would expect only moderate rushing totals here by Peterson. The Vikings are likely to score once and that favors a run more than a pass.

Frerotte faces a secondary that has only allowed one touchdown this season and never more than 215 passing yards. That is going to make it tough to score or even have moderate yardage. Stay away from the Vikings passing game at least this week.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 20 18 28 9 2 13
Preventing Fantasy Points    TEN 3 13 3 11 1 7

Tennessee Titans (3-0)
Homefield: LP Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 JAX 17-10 +3 37
2 @CIN 24-7 +1 37.5
3 HOU 31-12 -5 38.5
4 MIN - -3 36
5 @BAL - - -
6 BYE - - -
7 @KC - - -
8 IND - - -
9 GB - - -
10 @CHI - - -
11 @JAX - - -
12 NYJ - - -
13 @DET - - -
14 CLE - - -
15 @HOU - - -
16 PIT - - -
17 @IND - - -
TEN vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Kerry Collins     180,1
RB Chris Johnson 80 10  
RB Lendale White 40,1    
TE Bo Scaife   30  
WR Justin Gage   50  
WR Justin McCareins   60,1  
PK Rob Bironas 1 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Titans are all alone in the AFC South at 3-0 and the offense is only getting better each week. The move to Kerry Collins has energized the passing game to a small degree and made better use of the wide receivers. The biggest success factor though has not been the passing or even the improved rushing attack. It is the defense that has not allowed more than 12 points to any opponent.

Quarterback: Kerry Collins comes off a 189 yard effort against the Texans with one touchdown pass and he even had one interception but the Titans won that game handily and there has not been much reason to throw for the last two weeks. That will be changing from here on out but at least Collins had a couple "get your feet wet" games with the wide receivers.

Vince Young remains on the bench nursing his strained MCL but the Titans have not given up on him. The owner Bud Adams said he was certain that Vince would eventually be a successful NFL quarterback though he failed to mention when and where.

Running Backs: The tandem backfield continues to shine though Chris Johnson comes off a season low 74 yards against the Texans. But this works for the team since every week the duo split up roughly 30 carries down the middle and Lendale White takes the short yardage and goal line carries. White has scored in each game this year and had two just last week. His yardage is never over 60 and he has yet to catch a pass but he has been solid with the rushing touchdowns.

Wide Receivers: Justin Gage was out last week with a strained groin that kept him from practice and prevented Collins from using the best wideout on the team. Brandon Jones replaced him but only had two catches for 21 yards while Justin McCareins had a season high four receptions for 90 yards. Chris Davis manned the slot last week and will again if Gage remains out and the depth chart shifts. I will assume that Gage returns at least in a limited capacity this week and update as warranted.

Tight Ends: Collins used Bo Scaife for the lone scoring pass last week and Scaife settled for three catches and 26 yards. Collins has not been using Scaife as much as Young had been since he has preferred the wide receivers.

Match Against the Defense: This should be interesting since the Vikings rank highly against running backs and yet in their one road game this year they gave up 92 yards on 12 carries to Ryan Grant who had a bad hamstring that game. The Titans will come at them with the Johnson and White mix that should have at least moderate success.

The bigger weakness of the Vikings is against the pass which makes switching to Collins a better idea already. Look for one passing score here that should end up with McCareins but no big passing numbers. Both teams want to run the ball and rely on their defense.

Gaining Fantasy Points TEN 19 7 30 6 20 3
Preventing Fantasy Points    MIN 20 7 19 8 5 13
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