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

Prediction: MIN 23, JAX 20

Update: Bobby Wade's thigh injury has him considered questionable this week and held him out of practice on Wednesday and then had him limited the rest of the week. He will still likely play but I am lower his projections slightly and realize that he could potentially end up inactive.

This is the meeting between two teams that were supposed to feature great rushing and defense to reach the playoffs this year. The Vikings are 5-5 and are actually in a three-way tie for the division lead in the NFC North. But the Vikings are only 1-4 on the road this year with a nasty habit of losing them close. The Jaguars are only 4-6 and an even bigger disappointment. They are 1-4 at home so far and both teams are coming off a loss. Coin toss game that could go either way but the Vikes have the better rushing offense and defense.

Minnesota Vikings (5-5)
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 13-19 +4 39.5
12 @JAX - +2.5 40
13 CHI - - -
14 @DET - - -
15 @ARZ - - -
16 ATL - - -
17 NYG - - -
MIN @ JAC Rush Catch Pass
QB Gus Frerotte     250,1
RB Adrian Peterson 100,1 10  
TE Visanthe Shiancoe   40  
WR Bernard Berrian   100,1  
WR Bobby Wade   30  
WR Sidney Rice   40  
PK Ryan Longwell 3 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Vikings have the potential of winning the NFC North and having a winning record. This week;s game will be tough but then the only remaining road games go to Detroit and Arizona. A home game against the Bears can reverse the close loss in Chicago and the Falcons on the road can be beaten. By week 17, the Giants are probably resting players. The passing game is better and Adrian Peterson has assumed his role as the stud running back of the league. If the defense can hold on - and it can stop the run - the Vikes have a nice shot at the post season.

Quarterback: No real changes for Gus Frerotte other than he's been under 200 passing yards for three weeks while Peterson has been tearing up the carpet. Frerotte still had six scores in those three games and 11 on the season. Most importantly, Frerotte can pass when needed and that balance comes into play in weeks such as this one. Frerotte is also insulated from bad weather this year with the only outside games coming in Arizona and then in week 17.

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson was held to 85 yards on 19 rushes in Tampa Bay but that still was solid considering the venue and Peterson had exceeded 100 rushing yards in each of his four previous games. With 1100 yards, he has overtaken Clinton Portis for the NFL rushing yard lead. Peterson is effective no matter where he plays and is limited mostly by the amount of carries. He has two games with two touchdowns scored in them and both came on the road in CHI and TEN. He's bigger than his schedule now.

Wide Receivers: After four straight games with a score and at least 80 yards, Bernard Berrian has been quiet for the last two games while the rushing of Peterson has paid off or the secondary in Tampa Bay was able to finally cover him. Berrian has a chance of scoring in each of the remaining games since none are against decent secondaries.

SIdney Rice has done very little since his return three weeks ago though he did score in Houston and Green Bay on his only catch in those games.

Tight Ends: Vishante Shiancoe is slightly better than the average tight end but not by much. He has four scores on the season but minimal yardage in most games.

Match Against the Defense: The Jaguars have only allowed two rushing scores to a visiting runner this year but good yardage to any decent back and Peterson is the best there is. Expect a solid yardage game and a score in this one that has a chance for a big game if Peterson breaks one or two runs. Forget about the old Jacksonville defense - Peterson is better than the 2008 Jags. Most runners have been as well.

Frerotte faces a bad secondary that has allowed at least one passing score to every opponent this year. That should lock down Berrian in the end zone this week but a second score would mean that Peterson is having a lesser game and that is unlikely.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 23 9 22 15 11 11
Preventing Fantasy Points JAC 26 19 24 22 8 4

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-6)
Homefield: J'ville Municipal Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @TEN 10-17 -3 37
2 BUF 16-20 -6 38
3 @IND 23-21 +5.5 42
4 HOU 30-27 -7.5 42
5 PIT 21-26 -4 36
6 @DEN 24-17 +3.5 48
7 BYE - - -
8 CLE 17-23 -6.5 41
9 @CIN 19-21 -7.5 40
10 @DET 38-14 -6.5 44.5
11 TEN 14-24 +3 39.5
12 MIN - -2.5 40
13 @HOU - - -
14 @CHI - - -
15 GB - - -
16 IND - - -
17 @BAL - - -
JAX vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB David Garrard     190,1
RB Fred Taylor 40 10  
RB Maurice Jones-Drew 40,1 30  
TE Marcedes Lewis   20,1  
WR Jerry Porter   30  
WR Matt Jones   60  
WR Reggie Williams   20  
PK Josh Scobee 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The season is reasonably already over when a team trails the division leader by six games but the Jaguars have been improving and finally starting to look more like their old selves (ignoring the loss to the Bengals). The passing game has done little to improve but at least the running game has been scoring with Jones-Drew coming to life a few weeks ago. Of course playing DEN, CLE, CIN and DET would naturally help out those rushing numbers but at least the Jags have seen some success from a season gone horribly awry.

Quarterback: David Garrard passed for over 220 yards in that four game stretch of easy opponents but last week against the visiting Titans were held to only 13 of 30 passes for 135 yards and one interception. Add in that Matt Jones did not play and Garrard was without the only receiver he had consistently used this year. Jones is suffering from a bruised thigh and will be re-evaluated for this week. Garrard has not been that productive outside of Jones this year.

Running Backs: Maurice Jones-Drew has drawn even with Lendale White as the NFL leader in rushing touchdowns with 11 scores. Eight of those have come in the last five games and facing Denver (2) and Detroit (3) were a big help though in fairness, he also scored twice against the Titans and had 66 yards on 16 carries. But the amazing part is that Jones-Drew only has 499 rushing yards on the season and has decent showings mixed in with games like against CLE (12-28) or CIN (10-33) or PIT (5-7). He's been hit-or-miss all year and mostly miss on yardage. But he has been scoring very well for the last month.

Fred Taylor finally picked up the pace against the Lions (18-80) and even the Titans (12-58) but the rest of his season has languished at less than 30 yards per game.

Wide Receivers: Matt Jones has been laid up with a bruised thigh and that has really affected the passing game since no other receiver here has mattered all season long. Jerry Porter has finally started playing and now settles into a role of just two catches per week, every week, no matter the defense. Reggie Williams has only one score on the season and never more than 46 yards in any game. Dennis Northcutt supplies around 20 yards most weeks but Matt Jones is the only player here capable of bring Garrard past the 200 yard mark.

I will assume that Jones can play this week at least in a limited role since he was a game time scratch last week.

Tight Ends: Although Marcedes Lewis was held to only one catch for 19 yards against the Titans, he had been very productive for the four weeks that the Jaguars faced an easy schedule. He still only has two scores on the year and need to face a really bad team to top 30 yards in a game.

Match Against the Defense: The Vikings have been very good against the run and though they have allowed eight rushing scores this year, no runner has topped 100 yards against them this year and most rarely have more than 60 yards. That fits into the new Jaguars where Jones-Drew gets a score but lags on rushing yardage that will be split up with Taylor anyway.

The Vikings pass defense has been decent on most counts and the Jaguars have a hard enough time passing other than to Matt Jones. Look for one passing score here and moderate yardage. The touchdown should end up with Lewis unless Jones is completely healthy.

Gaining Fantasy Points JAC 18 10 27 22 22 16
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 12 8 9 24 19 32

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