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

Prediction: DET 13, MIN 31

Update: Jon Kitna is expected to miss this week because of his back and that means Dan Orlovsky will be getting the start even though he was limited all week in practice because of his sprained ankle. Both Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams are banged upo and listed as questionable but are expected to play. Johnson has a sore knee while Williams has a bad hip. This is an early game so just in case there are any surprises you can make other plans but switching to Orlovsky is already a downgrade and neither Williams nor Johnson will be 100% healthy but are expected to play.

Both Bernard Berrian and Sidney Rice are questionable and were limited in practice but are expected to play. I am not changing their projections but be aware that you should check Sunday morning inactives just to be sure. The Lions are a dream matchup so play them if they are active in the games.

The Lions hit the road still searching for that elusive first win while knowing that they have not even come very close so far. The Vikings pulled off a stunning upset in New Orleans to remain one game behind the Bears in the NFC North. These teams traded home wins last year. The Lions won 20-17 in Detroit during week two and the Vikings won 42-10 in Minnesota in week 13.

Detroit Lions (0-4)
Homefield: Ford Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @ATL 21-34 -3 41
2 GB 25-48 +3 45
3 @SF 13-31 +4 46
4 BYE - - -
5 CHI 7-34 +3.5 44.5
6 @MIN - +13.5 47
7 @HOU - - -
8 WAS - - -
9 @CHI - - -
10 JAX - - -
11 @CAR - - -
12 TB - - -
13 TEN - - -
14 MIN - - -
15 @IND - - -
16 NO - - -
17 @GB - - -
DET at MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Jon Kitna 240,1
QB Dan Orlovsky     200,1
RB Kevin Smith 30 20  
RB Rudi Johnson 20 20  
WR Roy Williams   50,1  
WR Calvin Johnson   50  
WR Shaun McDonald   20  
PK Jason Hanson 2 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: You have to wonder if HC Rod Marinelli jumps every time the phone rings. You could hardly blame him. The Lions have tried numerous offenses and defenses during his time and nothing has worked. The Lions have yet to keep an opponent under 31 points this season and at best have lost by 13 points. The team is now in their annual disarray and the downside of firing Matt Millen is that the fans have nothing left to talk about.

Quarterback: Jon Kitna was replaced at halftime against the Bears because of back spasms but had done almost nothing to that point with only 74 passing yards. Dan Orlovsky played the rest of the way and only completed 13 of 23 passes for 97 yards and one interception. Orlovsky also suffered a high ankle sprain during the game and Kitna is expected back this week anyway. At some point Drew Stanton may get some playing time but the Lions have not reached the "well what do we have for next year?" phase quite yet.

Kitna started the year with two good games of 260 yards and a couple of scores each week but has really dropped in production while getting sacked 16 times already this year. The new offensive coordinator Jim Colleto has yet to find a working scheme. They tried the no-huddle last week and already have abandoned it.

The Lions passed for 393 yards and two touchdowns in the home game against the Vikings last year but later only passed for 260 yards and one score in Minnesota.

Running Backs: Just to be the Lions, Rudi Johnson came on strong in week three and had 131 total yards and a touchdown with the coaching staff suggesting that he was due for an expanded role if not start. And of course all those fantasy owners who dared to use their new Rudy last week got back five rushes for 23 yards and three catches for nine while Kevin Smith started and had eight runs for 31 yards and a touchdown plus four catches for 25 yards. The best rushing effort by Smith has only been 48 yards back in week one. Evidently doubling that in his first game did not buy Johnson any additional playing time.

No Detroit running back had more than 22 rushing yards against the Vikings last year and did not score any touchdowns.

Wide Receivers: Calvin Johnson started the season out on a hot note with his first two games both topping 100 yards and he scored twice against the Packers. But in the two games since, he has only had a total of six catches for 56 yards and no scores. Night and day. Roy Williams had complained about his lack of involvement since he had never had more than three catches in a game and against the Bears he finally turned in seven catches for 96 yards but that came on 18 passes thrown to him. Johnson only had six throws on Sunday. There is no balance in this passing game and so far it does not involve both wideouts in the same game.

Johnson had 61 yards and two scores in the week two meeting with the Vikings but later on the road only managed one catch for 17 yards. Williams had seven catches for 111 yards and a score in the home game and later was limited to just 85 yards.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value.

Match Against the Defense: The Vikings are still without MLB E.J. Henderson but it hasn't mattered yet for this rushing defense that has not allowed a visiting runner to exceed 27 rushing yards in the two games so far this year. The Vikings have allowed five rushing scores along the way and two have come in Minneapolis but forget about both Smith and Johnson this week. There isn't enough for one player, let alone splitting between two.

Kitna faces a defense that he knows well but the offense has hardly been clicking this year and the Vikes have only allowed three passing scores. Manning and Brees both had over 300 yards and one score but Kitna is hardly in that strata of NFL quarterbacks. Expect moderate yardage and the chance for one passing score that should favor Johnson.

Gaining Fantasy Points DET 15 27 16 25 27 32
Preventing Fantasy Points    MIN 14 11 12 9 15 27

Minnesota Vikings (2-3)
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 17-30 +3 36
5 @NO 30-27 +3 47
6 DET - -13.5 47
7 @CHI - - -
8 BYE - - -
9 HOU - - -
10 GB - - -
11 @TB - - -
12 @JAX - - -
13 CHI - - -
14 @DET - - -
15 @ARZ - - -
16 ATL - - -
17 NYG - - -
MIN vs DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Gus Frerotte     220,2
RB Chester Taylor 20 20  
RB Adrian Peterson 120,2 10  
TE Visanthe Shiancoe   30  
WR Bernard Berrian   80,1  
WR Bobby Wade   30  
WR Sidney Rice   40,1  
PK Ryan Longwell 1 FG 4 XP  

Pregame Notes: The come from behind win in New Orleans may have saved the season for the Vikings who were close to falling to 1-4 on the year. This week is the easiest matchup of the year and a must win. It should also be an excellent opportunity to get Adrian Peterson back on track before traveling to Chicago the following week. The Vikings defense plays better at home and that should help ensure that Peterson gets plenty of carries.

Quarterback: Gus Frerotte hasn't turned this team into a passing powerhouse but he has topped 200 passing yards each week and is involving the wide receivers much more than Tarvaris Jackson had been. This will only be the second time that Frerotte has played at home and the last time was when they defeated the Panthers. Frerotte may not pass more than he needs for a win but when the Lions come to town, how can anyone resist?

Tarvaris Jackson passed for 166 yards in Detroit and later 204 yards and two scores in the home meeting.

Running Backs: After starting the season out with two efforts over 100 rushing yards, Adrian Peterson has been running less effectively though he was bothered by a hamstring injury for a time. He comes off his worst game of the year when the Saints held him to just 32 yards on 21 carries. They committed everything to meeting Peterson in the backfield and it almost worked (all except that lose the game thing). No doubt that Peterson wants a good game this week at home against the Lions.

Peterson rushed for 66 yards on 20 carries in Detroit last season and later had 116 yards and two scores when the Lions were visiting in week 13. Taylor did not play in the first game but had 70 yards and one score in the home game.

Wide Receivers: Sidney Rice was a surprise inactive on Monday night because of his sprained knee. But Bernard Berrian was able to play despite being questionable with his own knee issue and easily turned in his best game as a Viking when he caught six passes for 110 yards and one touchdown. The change to Frerotte has made all the difference for Berrian who had only three catches for 38 yards in two games with Jackson but has remained about 75 yards in each of the three games with Frerotte.

Bobby Wade filled in for Rice on Monday and had a season high seven catches for 75 yards. I will assume that Rice can return this week with little or no limitation but will update as warranted.

Both Rice and Wade had touchdowns in the home game against the Lions though neither had more than 54 receiving yards.

Tight Ends: Like Berrian, Vishante Shiancoe has enjoyed Frerotte as the starter with two scores in the last three weeks and an average of around 30 to 40 yards per game. In the two games won by the Vikings, Shiancoe scored in each.

Match Against the Defense: Peterson has had a surprisingly tough time rushing lately but this week should cure that since the Lions on the road gave Turner 220 yards and Gore had 130 yards with both players scoring. Like in the Colts game, running Peterson will keep the Lions from getting into any shootout so look for nice yardage and at least one score if not two by Peterson.

Frerotte certainly could light it up with Rice and Berrian but there won't be a need to do that. Expect a decent game by Frerotte with at least one score and likely two. Berrian should be a near lock to score here as could Rice if he proves healthy.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 24 23 23 10 3 15
Preventing Fantasy Points    DET 31 30 29 24 26 32

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