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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday
Monday

Prediction: MIN 20, ARI 24

The Vikings are on a three game winning streak and have a one game lead on the Bears in the NFC North. But they are also only 3-4 on the road this year. The Cardinals have already clinched the NFC West and are 5-1. They are also entirely new at this whole "win the division, go to the playoffs" thing so bear with them while someone checks to see if the University of Phoenix Stadium is even available in January.

(flipping through pages of the phone book) "Who'da thunk this would happen?"

Minnesota Vikings (8-5)
Homefield: Metrodome
FieldTurf
  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 30-12 +2.5 40
13 CHI 34-14 -3 42
14 @DET 20-16 -9.5 46
15 @ARZ - +3 48.5
16 ATL - - -
17 NYG - - -

MIN @ ARI

Rush Catch Pass
QB Tarvaris Jackson     180,1
RB Chester Taylor 30 30,1  
RB Adrian Peterson 90,1    
TE Visanthe Shiancoe   40  
WR Bernard Berrian   50  
WR Bobby Wade   30  
WR Sidney Rice   20  
PK Ryan Longwell 2 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: Beating the Bears and Lions satisfy the division goals but now the Vikes need to win in Arizona and then host the Falcons and Giants. This was supposed to be an easy ending before the Cardinals and Falcons decided to become contenders this year. The final week against the Giants will likely be a freebie with resting players before the playoffs but this week is no gimmee.

Quarterback: Gus Frerotte injured his back last week and Tarvaris Jackson took over to complete 8 of 10 for 105 yards and one score. But he was playing against the Lions so just having the two incompletions was an error. The Vikes are not saying yet which quarterback will be starting since Frerotte's health status hasn't yet been determined. Expect him to go to a game time decision.

I am assuming that Jackson gets another start. The Vikings called it a bruise but Frerotte was carted from the field.

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson ranks #1 in rushing yards with 1413 and he's putting more distance between himself and #2 Michael Turner (1269). He already has eight games over 100 rushing yards and is a lock for 80 yards in every game. His role as a receiver has never taken shape beyond a catch per week though since Chester Taylor takes the third down role.

Taylor has scored in each of the last three games and remains a factor every week albeit less than Peterson.

Wide Receivers: Should Frerotte remain out and Jackson gets the start, the Vikings are back to the same old problem - great rushing attack + worthless wide receivers and no way to catch up in games. Case in point - First two weeks with Jackson as the quarterback, Bernard Berrian had a total of three catches for 38 yards. Soon as he left it was six straight weeks of 70+ yards per game and four consecutive weeks with a touchdown. Ends up that last year wasn't a bad group of receivers - it was just Jackson's inability to hit his wide receivers in most games. Even last week his one score when to Visanthe Shiancoe.

Frerotte had tailed off already in the past month but a bad day from Gus trumps a good show from Tavaris. Recall that 2007 was the year of Peterson and nothing else.

Tight Ends: As noted, as least Jackson like Visanthe Shiancoe. The tight end comes off one of his best games but has scored in a total of five contests and has been a lower level fantasy starter even with Frerotte there.

Match Against the Defense: Here's your problem. The Cardinals have been roughly average against the run but that breaks down to not that great on the road and very solid at home. They have only allowed two rushing touchdowns by opponents in Arizona this year and no runner has topped 100 rushing yards. While the Cards have allowed their share of passes to tailbacks but that only benefits Taylor, not Peterson. He is still a solid start of course but unlikely to have a monster game here this week.

Jackson faces a very soft secondary but again - far better when they are at home. And Jackson has hardly been an elite passer anyway. I like him to eventually manage a passing score but likely to Taylor more than a wideout. This would have been a great spot to use Berrian but not without Frerotte playing.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 26 8 26 12 6 9
Preventing Fantasy Points    ARI 31 18 30 15 10 13


Arizona Cardinals (8-5)
Homefield: University of Phoenix Stadium
Grass
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @SF 23-13 -2.5 41.5
2 MIA 31-10 -7 38.5
3 @WAS 17-24 +3 42
4 @NYJ 35-56 +3 45
5 BUF 41-17 -1 45
6 DAL 30-26 +5 50
7 BYE - - -
8 @CAR 23-27 +4.5 43.5
9 @STL 34-13 -3 49
10 SF 29-24 -9.5 47.5
11 @SEA 26-20 -3.5 47.5
12 NYG 29-37 +3 49
13 @PHI 20-48 +3 47
14 STL 34-10 -13.5 49
15 MIN - -3 48.5
16 @NE - - -
17 SEA - - -
ARI vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Kurt Warner     300,2
RB Tim Hightower 30,1    
WR Anquan Boldin   90,1  
WR Larry Fitzgerald   110,1  
WR Steve Breaston   60  
PK Neil Rackers 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: It is giddy times for the franchise that hasn't hosted a playoff game since the Cardinals were in Chicago. The Cardinals really do not have anything to play for other than being the #3 or #4 seed but this whole winning thing is pretty new and they have no experience in slowing down or resting anyone. That won't be an issue until week 17 if even then but one more win means a winning season for the Cardinals.

Quarterback: Kurt Warner is #2 in the NFL with 4020 passing yards and his 25 touchdowns tie him for second best in the league. He has only thrown 12 interceptions this season and has seven games over 300 yards. He has thrown for multiple scores in nine of 13 games. This is shaping up to be a career season for Warner and one that makes considering Leinart next year almost a sin. Warner is getting older at 37 years of age but he is not slowing down.

Running Backs: Tim Hightower took over the rushing duties from Edgerrin James but he has been only marginally more effective in yardage if at all. Where he has made a difference is in scoring the short touchdowns and has ten scores already. He's been locked around 30 rushing yards for a month now but more often than not gets a shot at a touchdown.

Wide Receivers: Anquan Boldin was red hot through week ten when he had scored an NFl high ten receiving scores but he has only managed one more over the last four games. His yardage has remained around 60 yard or better and he has a higher number of catches but the scoring has slowed down significantly.

Larry Fitzgerald had been the the yardage guy but now has turned to more scoring. He has nine touchdowns on the year and three in just the last two games. His 1148 yards ranks third best in the NFL and the only wideout with more touchdowns is Boldin. That's already 20 scores with three games left to play.

Steve Breaston makes for a trio that is hard to beat when they get going. He has three games over 100 yards himself has been solid with around 50 to 90 yards almost every week.

Tight Ends: Don't bother.

Match Against the Defense: Even on the road, the Vikings rush defense is formidable and has not allowed a 100 yard rusher. No problem here since Hightower only gets about ten runs per game and exists to score the short touchdown which the Vikes have allowed nine times this season.

Warner goes against a secondary that ranks out so well because they have hardly played any passing teams. Drew Brees pasted them with 330 yards and a score. David Garrard had 317 yards and a score as well. This is not a great secondary that is facing a road game against the most potent passing attack in the NFL. Expect a solid game here that has Warner with his normal 300 yards and two scores. This game boils down to the best runner going against the best passing team. Home town wins.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points ARI 2 22 1 32 8 7
Preventing Fantasy Points    MIN 10 6 10 19 16 30

The Huddle
WEEK 15
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Thursday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday Late
Sunday
Monday
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Tuesday Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
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