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

Prediction: CIN 23, MIN 20

Friday Night Update: Peterson is back in full practices and will play with no limitations or problems. Harvin missed his third day of practice though and that includes not studying the game plan because of his migraine. He will be a game time decision and I am removing him from the projections though he may still play.

Thursday Night Update: Percy Harvin has been held out of practices because of migraines but I am not changing his projections yet. Assumedly he will be over them by Sunday. Adrian Peterson was held out of practice to rest his ankle on Wednesday but has returned to limited practice and is expected to play this week.

Here is another great game with significant implications. The Bengals are 9-3 and three games up in their division (four counting tie breakers) but more importantly are in the running for a bye week as the #2 seed in the AFC. They are 4-1 in road games and have won all three of their non-conference games. The Vikings are 10-2 and also looking to protect their #2 seed in the NFC with a 6-0 home record

Cincinnati Bengals (9-3)
Homefield: Paul Brown Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DEN 7-12 -5 42.5
2 @GB 31-24 +9 42
3 PIT 23-20 +4.5 37
4 @CLE 23-20 -5.5 38
5 @BAL 17-14 +8.5 42
6 HOU 17-28 -5.5 46
7 CHI 45.10 -1 42.5
8 BYE - - -
9 BAL 17-7 +3 43.5
10 @PIT 18-12 +6.5 41
11 @OAK 17-20 -9 36
12 CLE 16-7 -12 39.5
13 DET 23-13 +13.5 42
14 @MIN - +6.5 43
15 @SD - - -
16 KC - - -
17 @NYJ - - -
CIN at MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer     230,1
RB Cedric Benson 70,1 10  
WR Chad Ochocinco   80,1  
WR Laveranues Coles   60  
WR Andre Caldwell   30  
PK Shayne Graham 3 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Bengals have four more games to win once and claim the AFC North but that #2 seed is just dangling out there but grabbing it will be a challenge. After facing these Vikings the Bengals travel to San Diego to meet the other red hot AFC team with the same 9-3 record also shooting for that #2 seed. A home stand against the Chiefs should be some relief but then the final week heads to New York to play the Jets. If nothing else, the Bengals will be battle tested by the time they reach the playoffs, bye week or not.

Quarterback: Carson Palmer has been very low key in recent weeks and has not thrown for more than one touchdown since week seven. The Bengals have won four of those five successive games though and the Oakland loss was just a classic trap. The success of the rushing game has helped reduce the need to pass and the defense has been a big player in the wins as well. Palmer only does what he needs in order to win.

The Vikings playing at home present a formidable defense and more so in recent weeks. But they have allowed three teams to throw for multiple scores in the Metrodome and both Aaron Rodgers and Joe Flacco had over 300 yards there.

Palmer has been pretty consistent with the one touchdown game and moderate yardage. No need to get into a shootout with Brett Favre if it is not necessary.

Running Backs: Safe to assume that Cedric Benson's hip is feeling better since his first game back resulted in 36 carries for 110 yards against the Lions. Bernard Scott remains out with a turf toe injury and Larry Johnson went from 22 carries in week 12 to only two against the Lions. Benson has produced a touchdown and/or 100 rushing yards in every game he finished this year. He had four straight games with a score until the hip injury in Pittsburgh.

Benson catches a break with the Vikings shifting to a rookie middle linebacker since E.J. Henderson broke his femur and is out for the year. The Vikings rushing defense has been stellar this year with only two runners scoring on them and none gaining more than 83 rushing yards. The injury to Henderson helps but not enough to consider the Vikings as an attractive place for Benson. Then again, the Vikings have played one of the easier schedules in the league. The past stats may not really support it, but look for Benson to have a decent game here with a shot at scoring.

Wide Receivers: After four weeks of complaining, the Bengals appeased Chad Ochocinco by throwing him 14 passes that he turned into nine receptions for 137 yards and one touchdown. Ochocinco is one of the keys to this game since the Bengals do not use Laveranues Coles or Andre Caldwell more more than three or four catches per game and neither has scored in over a month. The Bengals also do not use the tight ends which means either Ochocinco is successful or nothing happens in the passing game.

The Vikings are only average against wideouts and that is considering the easier slate of games that they have played against. Look for a decent showing from Ochocinco this week the same as most #1 wide receivers have done against the Vikings.

Tight Ends: No fantasy value.

Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 18 20 12 30 19 7
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 21 3 18 30 15 12

Minnesota Vikings (10-2)
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 36-10 -10 47
13 @ARI 17-30 +3.5 48
14 CIN - -6.5 43
15 @CAR - - -
16 @CHI - - -
17 NYG - - -
MIN vs CIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre     260,2
RB Adrian Peterson 90 20  
TE Vishante Shiancoe   50,1  
WR Bernard Berrian   50  
WR Sidney Rice   80,1  
WR Percy Harvin 60,1
PK Ryan Longwell 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: The scoring frenzy of three straight home games against bad teams was quickly forgotten in Arizona last week when the Cardinals outplayed the Vikings in pretty much every aspect. It was a wake up call for the second best record in the NFC. This week and the finale against the visiting Giants are the two biggest road bumps but even losing two more games does not mean the Vikes lose the #2 seed. The interesting aspect to this game is that the Vikes have lost twice to teams with decent defenses. And PIT and ARI defenses are probably not as good as CIN is bringing.

Quarterback: After playing near effortlessly in the homefield thumpings that had been handed out in Minnesota, Brett Favre was reaching near deity status for sports casters who had decades worth of Favre material and who all secretly hope to be invited to Mississippi for a catfish fry in only for the photo opportunity. But in Arizona, Favre looked far different tossing two interceptions and not racking up ridiculous numbers. He still had 275 yards and two scores in the blowout loss. Back at home he needs to prove it was just a bad dream.

The Bengals have been very good against quarterbacks this year and have only allowed 13 passing touchdowns on the year and that includes the freak four scores allowed to the Texans. No other team has thrown for more than 275 yards against them and only two have managed multiple scores - both losses.

So it depends on who you think will win. I like this game to end with a lower score because both defenses are good and the game should start slowly. I'll credit Favre with good yardage and two scores but that is higher than almost any opponent for the Bengals.

Running Backs: Not only is Adrian Peterson the key to this game, he will likely be the key to every playoff game since the defenses will all be better there than the Lions, Seahawks and Bears of the recent past. Peterson has been good with scoring with 12 rushing touchdowns but he only has one score in the last three games and has topped 100 rushing yards only three times. At this point last season, he only had nine touchdowns but had racked up seven games over 100 rushing yards. He already had 1311 rushing yards in week 13 but has just 1103 this year and that is thanks to week one with 180 yards.

The Bengals have been very good against the run and only three runners have rushed in a touchdown against them and only once have they allowed over 100 rushing yards. Still have to like Peterson at home to gain decent yardage but trends say this will be another game without a score.

Wide Receivers: Percy Harvin continues to put his stamp on this offense with three straight games with a touchdown and a position high six receiving touchdowns.He has been cranking out the 80+ yard games lately and did not stop in Arizona. Sidney Rice has only scored in one of the last eight games but almost always produces 80 yards or more each week with three games over 100 yards. Bernard Berrian is still the odd man out in most weeks and rarely accounts for more than 50 yards in a game.

The Bengals secondary has been very good and only allowed six wide receivers to score against them this year though five have managed to record a 100 yard game. The paltry scoring has meant no opponent scored more than once in the same game with a wide receiver. Expect the same pattern - Berrian disappoints, Rice gets yardage and no scores and Harvin is the pesky one with the touchdown.

Tight Ends: Vishante Shiancoe has been as consistent as any receiver this year with nine touchdowns and only four games without one. His yardage has tended to be around 40 or 50 yards in most weeks but he is the safest bet for a score of any tight end. The Bengals do not even face many good receiving tight ends and still only rank average.

Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 6 4 6 12 5 4
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 9 6 4 18 2 10

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