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

Prediction: MIN 20, CHI 24

Update: Bernard Berrian is questionable to play like he was last week when he had 110 yards and a score. He'll play and apparently Sidney Rice will get some playing time as well but he was limited in practice this week and I am not adding him into the projections. Marty Booker is listed as questionable and was limited this week until Friday when he had a full practice. He is expected to play.

Here is a messy game with the Vikes coming off a two point win over the Lions while the Bears lost in Atlanta by two points. This should remain a low scoring game though they were not last year when the Vikings swept the Bears last year, winning 34-31 in Chicago and later 20-13 in Minneapolis. Chicago has improved and is at home - a coin flip game that barely favors the home team. Both teams are tied for the NFC North lead along with the Packers.

Minnesota Vikings (3-3)
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 12-10 -13.5 47
7 @CHI - +3 38
8 BYE - - -
9 HOU - - -
10 GB - - -
11 @TB - - -
12 @JAX - - -
13 CHI - - -
14 @DET - - -
15 @ARZ - - -
16 ATL - - -
17 NYG - - -
MIN at CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Gus Frerotte     250,1
RB Adrian Peterson 80,1 10  
TE Visanthe Shiancoe   30  
WR Bernard Berrian   90,1  
WR Bobby Wade   60  
PK Ryan Longwell 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: A win here would be huge to be sure but will require more than just the offense scoring. The Vikes are only 1-2 on the road and the lone win was the screwy game in New Orleans. Gus Frerotte has been an upgrade in the passing game which is fortunate since Adrian Peterson has gone from great to merely very good. But the pass defense has been an issue this year and on the road these Vikes can get overmatched.

Quarterback: Gus Frerotte continues to remain above 200 passing yards every weekend he has scored in all but one contest. The week six game in Detroit had a season best 296 passing yards and yet still just one touchdown. Never two. With Peterson usually less effective on the road, Frerotte needs to step up this week and dare to score more than once.

The Vikings started Tarvaris Jackson in the meetings with the Bears last season and he threw for 136 yards and one touchdown in Chicago and later 249 yards at home with three interceptions.

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson has been a great runner this year but he has averaged 22 carries per game for 94 rushing yards. Good to be sure but only 4.3 yards per carry and he only has three games over 100 rushing yards. He has only scored at touchdown in two games so far while losing a total of three fumbles on the year. Chester Taylor has almost no role this year so Peterson does get all there is to run but he's turned from being a jaw-dropping stud to merely being a very good fantasy tailback. He ranks third in rushing yards but is tied for 17th with just the three scores.

Peterson had a monster 224 yard, three touchdown game in Chicago last year and later on only gained 78 yards on 20 carries but scored twice.

Wide Receivers: Though Bernard Berrian was questionable to play last Sunday with a sore knee he still suited up and turned in his best game to date as a Viking. Berrian caught five passes for 131 yards and a score against the Lions and had 110 yards and a touchdown the previous week in New Orleans. Once the switch was made to Frerotte, Berrian has stepped up nicely and has been no worse than 78 yards in a game so far. That includes against the Titans and Panthers.

Sidney Rice was also questionable with a sore knee but was made inactive for the second week in a row. Bobby Wade has stepped up in the absence of Rice with no less than 64 yards in any of the last three games. I will assume Rice is still out this week and update as needed.

The wideouts did almost nothing against the Bears in 2007 and Sidney Rice never had more than 13 yards in a game.

Tight Ends: After an impressive run of moderately decent games, Vishante Shiancoe was held to only one catch last week. He had two touchdowns over the previous three games and had been a safety net and goal line target for Frerotte.

Match Against the Defense: This could be interesting. The Bears have been solid against the run allowing only four rushing scores and just one in Chicago. No back has ran for more than 77 yards against them and even less as a visitor. Even Michael Turner in Atlanta only managed 54 yards on 25 carries. Peterson may be a notch above but he is on the road this week to Chicago where he exploded last year but will surprise no one now. Look for moderate yardage here with likely only one touchdown - the Bears haven't been allowing many and Peterson has barely scored them.

Where this game changes is with the passing against a secondary that is wracked by injury. They already missed Nathan Vasher and then lost another cornerback when Danieal Manning left the Atlanta game last week. Even worse, Charles Tillman has a shoulder injury and may not play. This secondary is why Matt Ryan could throw for 301 yards against them. This is why the ranking against the wideouts have plummeted. I may change projections on Friday depending on the state of the Chicago secondary but for now you would have to expect a nice passing game by Frerotte with at least one passing score.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 21 22 21 11 8 13
Preventing Fantasy Points    CHI 14 5 28 6 22 16

Chicago Bears (3-3)
Homefield: Soldier Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @IND 29-13 +9.5 44
2 @CAR 17-20 +3 37
3 TB 24-27 -3 35.5
4 PHI 24-20 +3 45
5 @DET 34-7 -3.5 44.5
6 @ATL 20-22 -2.5 43.5
7 MIN - -3 38
8 BYE - - -
9 DET - - -
10 TEN - - -
11 @GB - - -
12 @STL - - -
13 @MIN - - -
14 JAX - - -
15 NO - - -
16 GB - - -
17 @HOU - - -
CHI vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Kyle Orton     200,1
RB Matt Forte 60,1 20  
TE Greg Olsen   20  
WR Marty Booker   30  
WR Rashied Davis   50,1  
WR Devin Hester   40  
PK Robbie Gould 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Bears were so close - 11 seconds to be exact - from taking total control of the NFC North. But the loss in Atlanta was a bitter defeat after what seemed like a comeback bid by the Bears. The bye week looms next week and that will be needed to get some health back to the defense. Orton has been playing well but the rushing game is losing its early season spark.

Quarterback: Kyle Orton has come into his own even if he only had one score in Atlanta. That almost won the game and he passed for 286 yards. The three previous games had him with multiple touchdowns and even a season high 334 yards in Detroit. Just as impressive is that Orton has only four interceptions this year against eight touchdowns.

When Griese was the starter in Chicago, he passed for 381 yards and three scores against the Vikings. Later on the road, Orton only managed 184 passing yards and no scores.

Running Backs: There is a problem with the rushing game though no one wants to talk about it since Matt Forte has scored five touchdowns this year and has made an equal impact as a receiver as he has being a runner. But Forte is not rushing that well lately. After two big showings in the initial games, Forte has rushed 81 times for 244 yards in the last four weeks. That's only a 3.0 yard rushing average. He still gets around 20 carries per game and Kevin Jones has little role as a relief back but the rushing game has been stalling lately and not against the toughest of opponents either.

The Bears never rushed for more than 67 yards against the Vikings last year and never had a rushing score.

Wide Receivers: Brandon Lloyd's torn PCL has him out indefinitely but in his place Rashied Davis has stepped up and had 97 yards in Detroit and then 41 yards and a touchdown in Atlanta. Devin Hester has also enjoyed the last two weeks with a score and 66 yards against the Lions and then a career best six catches for 87 yards in Atlanta. Granted that is not top ten performances but for the Bears it has helped replace Lloyd. Marty Booker is stuck at around 30 yards per week so there are either long strikes to Hester and Davis or the passing game is only mediocre.

Hester caught an 81-yard touchdown in the home meeting with the Vikings while Bernard Berrian also scored during his five receptions for 78 yards. In the road game, no Bears wideout had more than 30 yards.

Tight Ends: Orton made very good use of his tight ends in these last two road games but at home only Greg Olsen has mattered and that was only when he had 35 yards on four receptions and one score against the visiting Eagles.

Match Against the Defense: The Vikings rush defense has given up five rushing scores but held most runners to 60 yards or less this year. But what is off is that they have played so many committee backfields that no team has featured a runner for more than 17 carries in a game. The Vikings secondary is the weaker link anyway and the Vikings can chew up the clock with Adrian Peterson. So Forte could have enough carries here to have a decent yardage game and a good chance for that weekly short score.

Orton faces a secondary that has allowed two passers (Peyton Manning and Drew Brees) to throw for over 300 yards but no quarterback has scored more than once through the air. Expect no more than one score that favors Davis slightly. I like the chance for a defensive score this week.

Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 12 12 20 10 11 9
Preventing Fantasy Points    MIN 13 9 13 11 10 28

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