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

Prediction: MIN 10, TB 20

Update: Both Warrick Dunn (back) and Earnest Graham (knee) are listed as questionable and yet will play. Dunn went through full practices all week but Graham was limited in all practices. Look for both to play but neither are 100%. I am lowering projections slightly.

This should be a good game with the Vikings tied for the NFC North lead with the Bears and yet only 1-3 in road games while the Buccaneers are one game behind the Panthers in the NFC South and a perfect 4-0 at home.

Minnesota Vikings (5-4)
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 41-48 +3 38
8 BYE - - -
9 HOU 28-21 -4.5 47
10 GB 28-27 -2.5 45.5
11 @TB - +4 39.5
12 @JAX - - -
13 CHI - - -
14 @DET - - -
15 @ARZ - - -
16 ATL - - -
17 NYG - - -
MIN @ TB Rush Catch Pass
QB Gus Frerotte     160,1
RB Chester Taylor 20 20  
RB Adrian Peterson 80 10  
TE Visanthe Shiancoe   40,1  
WR Bernard Berrian   30  
WR Bobby Wade   20  
WR Sidney Rice   20  
PK Ryan Longwell 1 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Vikings squeaked past the Packers last week but are back on the road where only a three point win over the Saints has prevented complete futility. On the plus side, the offense has been scoring better and even the passing game has been catching fire on occasion. On the downside, the defense has taken a step backwards and the secondary was already hurting.

Quarterback: He started out as a game manager but Gus Frerotte has three straight games with multiple scores including a season best 298 yards in Chicago. But the seven scores in the last three weeks was accompanied by eight interceptions and Frerotte only has one game without at least one turnover. This week will be no measure in Tampa Bay against a top notch secondary but in later weeks the improvement in passing will be more apparent..

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson has established himself as the premier running back in the NFL now thanks in no small part to the decline of LaDainian Tomlinson. Peterson ranks #1 in the league with 206 carries and 1015 yards. That's a pace for 1800 rushing yards on the season and he has seven rushing touchdowns including four over the last three weeks. The scary part is Peterson had 111 yards in week six and has increased every game until Sunday's 192 yards against the Packers.

Very good chance that trend now ends.

Wide Receivers: The passing game will be hard pressed to produce this week but the receivers in Minnesota are better than they have been in years. Bernard Berrian was blanked last week but had scored in four straight games previous to facing the Packers. Bobby Wade takes a step backwards because Sidney Rice is back and although he only has one catch in each of the two games since he returned, both went for touchdowns. Rice will get more into the yardage now that he is back but Frerotte already trusts him near the endzone.

Tight Ends: Vishante Shiancoe has been a pleasant surprise at tight end this year with four touchdowns in the last seven weeks and moderate yardage in most games but he only had three catches for four yards last week. Worth noting - his best games came on the road.

Match Against the Defense: Okay, Mr. Peterson. Let's see what you can do. The Buccaneers have only allowed one rushing touchdown this year (in KC) and no runner in Tampa Bay has topped more than 56 rushing yards in a game. The Buccaneers are allowing 3.6 yards per carry this year and only 3.1 at home. Peterson is a must start regardless but this could be his lowest game of the year.

Frerotte faces a secondary that has only allowed three passing scores in Tampa Bay this year and this is a must win game for both teams. Look for one passing score at most and if you have a choice, avoid all but Peterson or Shiancoe this week.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 19 7 22 14 12 10
Preventing Fantasy Points    TB 12 4 12 6 13 8

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-3)
Homefield: Raymond James Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @NO 20-24 +3.5


2 ATL 24-9 -8 38.5
3 @CHI 27-24 +3 35.5
4 GB 30-21 -1.5 43
5 @DEN 13-16 +3 48
6 CAR 27-3 -1.5 36.5
7 SEA 20-10 -11 39
8 @DAL 9-13 +2 42
9 @KC 30-27 -8.5 37.5
10 BYE - - -
11 MIN - -4 39.5
12 @DET - - -
13 NO - - -
14 @CAR - - -
15 @ATL - - -
16 SD - - -
17 OAK - - -
TB vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Jeff Garcia     180,1
RB Earnest Graham 50,1 20  
RB Warrick Dunn 30 10  
TE Alex Smith   20  
WR Joey Galloway   30  
WR Ike Hilliard   30  
WR Antonio Bryant   40,1  
PK Matt Bryant 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The bye week came at a good time since Warrick Dunn and Earnest Graham are both mending from previous injuries and the Buccaneers escaped their tougher part of the schedule with a 5-3 record. The NFC South is surprisingly competitive this year but those games against the Panthers and Falcons maybe the only big challenges that the Bucs have left to face.

Quarterback: Jeff Garcia comes off his best game this year with 339 passing yards in Kansas City but he still only had one passing touchdown. That is all he has ever had this season though he missed scoring in only one game. Garcia has been following the pattern of throwing for lower yardage the better the opponent and no matter what - just one touchdown. He rarely has a turnover but in fantasy terms he's never been more than an average backup.

Running Backs: The bye week came at an opportune time with Warrick Dunn ailing and Earnest Graham injuring his ankle in the last game. There is also the specter of Carnell Williams returning though that will have to occur no later than Wednesday. Most likely Williams continues to live life on the Injured Reserve but if Dunn's pinched nerve is still an issue it could make it harder to do. Graham's knee is still an issue as well.

I will make the early projections to assume both Graham and Dunn play with minor limitations and then update on Friday when more can be known.

Wide Receivers: Joey Galloway has been back for two games now but has only five catches for 56 yards over those two weeks. He's slowly getting back into the offense and Antonio Bryant has a lock on his old job anyway. Bryant has scored in two of the last three games and posted exactly 115 yards in each. But he has a nasty habit of disappearing in tougher matchups

Michael Clayton has been good for around three catches per week but he has never scored this ear and has not turned in more than 57 yards in a game. Better than the last several years to be sure, but still not fantasy relevant.

Tight Ends: Alex Smith remains good for a touchdown every two or three games but never much yardage. He also sprained his ankle in the previous game and I will assume he can play this week. Updates as needed but he is playing through his high ankle sprain.

Match Against the Defense: This is one of those games that really changes depending on where it is played and since it is in Tampa Bay, the Buccaneers will be much better and the Vikes much worse. The Vikings are less effective on the road but still sport a very good rushing defense that still has not allowed an opposing runner to top 100 yards yet. Since Earnest Graham scores in every home game (literally and never in a road game), give him a touchdown but figure on moderate at best yardage since Dunn will be taking a slice this week.

Garcia faces a defense that can be beaten by the pass but he won't do much more than his typical one score and moderate yardage at home. I'll credit Bryant with the score but there is no particular trend suggesting it besides Garcia likes him.

Gaining Fantasy Points TB 20 18 23 7 5 6
Preventing Fantasy Points    MIN 11 6 13 20 17 32

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