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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

Prediction: CHI 14, MIN 30

Update: Adrian Peterson was limited in practice this week and then was held out on Friday for being sick according to HC Brad Childress. He is listed as questionable but I am not changing the projections because Peterson will almost certainly play even if he has the flu now. The situation bears watching and checking on Sunday morning but this is a big interdivisional game so Peterson will play if at all possible.

The Bears are 4-6 on the season and currently sporting a three game losing streak and a 1-4 record away from Chicago. The Vikings are 9-1 and twiddling their thumbs to see if the Saints get beat and make the #1 seed up for grabs. These divisional rivals traded home wins in 2008 with the Bears winning 48-41 in Chicago and later the Vikings won 34-14 in Minnesota.

Chicago Bears (4-6)
Homefield: Soldier Field
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @GB 15-21 +4 46
2 PIT 17-14 +3 37.5
3 @SEA 25-19 -2 37
4 DET 48-24 -10.5 38.5
5 BYE - - -
6 @ATL 14-21 +3 45.5
7 @CIN 10-45 +1 42.5
8 CLE 30-6 +11.5 39.5
9 ARI 21-41 -3 44.5
10 @SF 6-10 +3.5 43
11 PHI 20-24 +3.5 46.5
12 @MIN - +10.5 47
13 STL - - -
14 GB - - -
15 @BAL - - -
16 MIN - - -
17 @DET - - -
CHI at MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler     280,2
RB Matt Forte 40 50  
TE Greg Olsen   70,1  
WR Devin Hester   60  
WR Earl Bennett   50  
WR Johnny Knox   30,1  
PK Robbie Gould   2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Bears just had their second four point loss in a row and have only a win over the visiting Browns to break up the last five losses. Jay Cutler seems to get a bit worse with each week and Matt Forte, sadly, never gets any better. The brief spark from Kahlil Bell has already been extinguished by HC Lovie Smith and the same Bears move forward wondering why nothing is changing.

Quarterback: Jay Cutler started out with such promise when he had passed for ten touchdown in the first five games but since then he has only managed five touchdowns in the last five weeks and three of those came in the loss to the Cardinals. Worse yet is that while he has two of the last four games without any score, he has thrown at least one interception in each of the last six games. They are not always his fault, but there are always there.

Orton was the starter in Minnesota last year and passed for 153 yards and two scores.

Cutler has a chance to turn in decent stats this week against a secondary that has allowed at least one score to most opponents and four times give up multiple passing touchdowns. But Cutler has been struggling so two scores may be optimistic.

Running Backs: Matt Forte continues to be one of the least effective runners in the league and yet Lovie Smith has always jumped in and defended the franchise ground sloth. Forte currently has 157 rushing attempts for 516 yards and a 3,3 yard rushing average that is not even that good since he has five games that had less than 2.5 yards per carry. Take away his one Detroit game and he has a 2.7 yard rushing average.

This is germane because last week saw ex-practice squad rookie Kahlil Bell rocketing down the field for a 72 yard gain - the longest run for the Bears in the past 20 years. He was only given three more carries and ended with 81 yards. The natural call for more Bell and less Forte was quashed by Lovie Smith though he indicated that Bell would get more work.

Forte rushed for 96 yards on 22 runs and added four catches for 29 yards and one score in Minnesota last year. Expect mediocre numbers again from Forte this week and hope he gets more dump off catches because that alone has propped up his fantasy value so far. No runner in Minnesota has more than 77 rushing yards and only two have scored. With any luck, Bell will get a few plays.

Wide Receivers: The wideouts here have all taken a serious hit in production as the season progresses. Johnny Knox had three scores by week six and none since with never more than 44 yards in a game. Devin Hester has three scores and had four straight games with 80+ yards but has declined to games of 48 and 18 yards in the most recent games and has not scored since week seven. Earl Bennett still has never scored and has also seen a decrease in weekly yardage. The problem is that Jay Cutler is looking for Greg Olsen nearly every play and then checking down to Matt Forte on most plays. The recent spate of interceptions may be making Cutler gun shy about going deep.

Hester had three catches for 67 yards and a score in Minnesota last year.

The Vikings secondary is nothing special and is the weakness of the defense. If Cutler can cure his accuracy problems, he can connect with his wideouts better this week than in recent games. Look for only moderate yardage to be safe and one score I will credit to Knox but could end up among any of the three.

Tight Ends: Cutler is in apparent infatuation with Greg Olsen and has passed to him 22 times in the last two games and has a couple of interceptions for the trouble. But the Vikings are one of the weakest teams in the league against tight ends and allowed four touchdowns to the position in just the last three games played. Expect Olsen to have a nice game here.

Olsen only had one catch for seven yards in Minnesota last year.

Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 13 28 16 3 15 14
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 21 3 14 31 10 14

Minnesota Vikings (9-1)
Homefield: Metrodome
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @CLE 34-20 +3.5 40
2 @DET 27-13 -10 47
3 SF 27-24 -7 40.5
4 GB 30-20 -3.5 46
5 @STL 38-10 -10 39
6 BAL 33-31 -3 44.5
7 @PIT 17-27 +6 46.5
8 @GB 38-26 +3.5 46.5
9 BYE - - -
10 DET 27-10 17 47.5
11 SEA 35-9 -10.5 47
12 CHI - -10.5 47
13 @ARI - - -
14 CIN - - -
15 @CAR - - -
16 @CHI - - -
17 NYG - - -
MIN vs CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre     250,2
RB Adrian Peterson 110,1 10  
TE Vishante Shiancoe   40  
WR Bernard Berrian   50,1  
WR Sidney Rice   80,1  
WR Percy Harvin   40  
PK Ryan Longwell 3 XP 3 FG  

Pregame Notes: The Vikings are enjoying this soft spot in their schedule that extends into this week before heading out to Arizona and then back to face the Bengals. The Viking's have the second best record in the conference but trailing the Saints by one game means they cannot afford any more losses. This means Favre gets to roll up scores in the meantime and then the offense plays for real in those three road games on the horizon.

Quarterback: Never one to allow a perfectly good touchdown to go by, Brett Favre rolled up four touchdowns against the hapless Seahawks last week and that gives him 21 scores on the season and he has topped 300 yards in three games already. He has also scored in every game this year with the lone exception of the loss to the Steelers.

Gus Frerotte threw for 210 yards and a touchdown when the Bears visited in 2008.

The Bears gave up nine scores over their first four road games though the yardage has never exceeded 300 yards. Twice the Bears allowed five passing touchdowns this year so Favre should be a lock for two touchdowns and could easily end up with three or four if he continues to steal them from Adrian Peterson.

Running Backs: Adrian Peterson already has 11 rushing touchdowns and yet has only toped 100 rushing yards three times. His 999 rushing yards rank #3 in the league currently and he trails only Maurice Jones-Drew in touchdowns (13). He has not rushed for more than 25 times in any game and has been less than 20 carries in half his games.

Peterson rushed fro 131 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries versus the Bears last year. Chester Taylor gained 46 yards and also scored in that game.

The Bears have been softer against the run in recent games wand allowed big games to LeSean McCoy, Cedric Benson and Frank Gore so expect a solid game here with a score from Peterson that could grow big if Favre doesn't continue to throw inside the ten yard line instead of handing it off.

Wide Receivers: Sidney Rice continues to be the star in this ground and comes off an 89 yard effort with two scores against the Seahawks. He has come up with huge efforts in four of the last five games and is clearly Favre's preferred target. Percy Harvin had a score last week as well and that makes two in the last three games to end his mid-season drought. Harvin was nicked up last week but played most of the game and is expected to have no limitations this week. Bernard Berrian also scored last week since Favre was handing out scores and he has been on a trend of scoring every other week since week three.

Berrian had four receptions for 122 yards and one score when the Bears visited last year. Rice only had one catch for eight yards.

The Bears secondary has been soft against wideouts this year and allowed six scores in road games to the position and three efforts over 100 yards - all to the split end. Have to like both Rice and Berrian to score this week even though it breaks Berrian's odd trend.

Tight Ends: Vishante Shiancoe remains a big part of the passing scheme and has seven touchdowns to lead all receivers. His yardage varies each week but usually sticks around 40 yards in most games.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 8 5 6 15 5 3
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 22 11 26 14 12 13

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