Game Predictions & Player Projections - MIN vs. CHI

David Dorey, @DMDorey

Prediction: MIN 24, CHI 6 (Line: MIN by 5.5, O/U = 41 )

UPDATE: Cordarrelle Patterson has remained out of all practices because of his concussion. He still has Saturday and Sunday to be cleared but I am removing him from the projections because of the obvious risk. Jeremy Langford has returned to limited practices and is on track for at least a cameo in the Monday night game. His presence only makes the rest of the backfield even worse and they are already facing the Vikings as it is.

Eddie Royal has not practiced because of his toe so I am removing him from the projections.

This is the Monday night game and may be pretty ugly to watch.

This is the first matchup between these teams and the second one happens in the season finale. The 5-1 Vikings come off their first loss while the 1-6 Bears have lost their last three and are swirling around the drain. The Vikings swept the Bears last year, winning 38-17 at home and 23-20 in Chicago.

Minnesota Vikings

1 @TEN 25-16 10 @WAS ---
2 GB 17-14 11 ARI ---
3 @CAR 22-10 12 @DET ---
4 NYG 24-10 13 DAL ---
5 HOU 31-13 14 @JAC ---
6 BYE --- 15 IND ---
7 @PHI 10-21 16 @GB ---
8 @CHI --- 17 CHI ---
9 DET ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
MIN @ CHI Rush Catch Pass
QB Sam Bradford 240,1
RB Matt Asiata 40,1 4-30
RB Jerick McKinnon 40
WR Stefon Diggs 4-60
WR Adam Thielen 5-60,1
TE Kyle Rudolph 6-60

Pregame Notes: The lack of offense became painfully apparent in the loss to the Redskins and the alarming part is that the Vikings were winning games largely thanks to their defense. The offense started out well with Sam Bradford stepping in but since has been on the decline in passing and with a rushing offense that hasn't ever been a difference maker with Adrian Peterson gone. Fortunately the remaining schedule isn't too bad and the defense alone is going to keep the Vikings in all games. But until there is more spark with passing or any spark with the rushing, that tremendous opening pace to the season will be very hard to sustain.

QUARTERBACK : Sam Bradford throws a score in every game but only once managed more than one and never more than two. After five starts, Bradford totals seven touchdowns and in the loss to the Eagles threw his first interception. He also lost two fumbles while being sacked six times. This is not an offense that can withstand falling behind and needing to mount a big comeback.

RUNNING BACK : The two-headed attack is starting to shift more towards Matt Asiata as it did back in 2014 when Peterson was out. Over the last two games, Asiata has gained a total of 80+ yards and he scored in both of the last home games. Jerick McKinnon has been held to fewer than 50 yards in those most recent games and he scored just once back in Week 4. Asiata is getting up to six catches per game as well which helps his totals. There hasn't been a "big game" by either backs and likely won't with no easy home games left on the schedule other than the season finale - against the Bears.

WIDE RECEIVER : Say hello to 2015. Stefon Diggs opened his rookie season with four big games and two scores but then did little for the rest of the season. For 2016, he opened with two big games and then back to sub-50 yard efforts since. Diggs missed Week 5 with a groin injury but is healthy again. Just not productively healthy. Cordarrelle Patterson scored in each of the last two games and had six targets or more in each. Most of it was late in the game but he ended the loss in Philadelphia with seven catches for 67 yards and one trash time score. It is concerning that he is just following the trend of last year. Adam Thielen turned in 127 yards in the win over the Texans but has been a non-factor otherwise. This unit has disappointed after a promising start to the season. Again.

TIGHT END : Kyle Rudolph hasn't scored since Week 4 and he dropped to only two catches for 15 yards in Week 5. He was back to five catches for 55 yards in the loss to the Eagles which is his norm. He has been much more targeted in road games with over ten each in the last two away venues which led the team.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: The Bears have been better at home where losses are by much smaller margins (yet still losses). Over three home games, they have only allowed two passing touchdowns and never more than 271 passing yards. What will impact this game is that the Bears offense was already bad and now will be down to Matt Barkley as the starting quarterback. This is not going to be a shootout and the Vikings are not likely going to need to press to roll up a big score.

Anything more than one passing score would be out of character for either team. It would most likely be to a wide receiver and Patterson fits the mold of who usually gets the touchdown. That he would score in three straight games seems to strain the fabric of space and time though. But he is getting the most targets. Rudolph is always a moderate start and has a chance at a score as well but should be relied on for just moderate yardage.

The Bears have been very good against the run though allowed six rushing touchdowns over the last five games. That favors Asiata but neither back is likely to turn in more than moderate yardage unless the game goes very bad, very quickly which is not impossible.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points MIN 31 30 22 11 19 1
Preventing Fantasy Points CHI 18 5 32 10 29 13

Chicago Bears

1 @HOU 14-23 10 @TB ---
2 PHI 14-29 11 @NYG ---
3 @DAL 17-31 12 TEN ---
4 DET 17-14 13 SF ---
5 @IND 23-29 14 @DET ---
6 JAC 16-17 15 GB ---
7 @GB 10-26 16 WAS ---
8 MIN --- 17 @MIN ---
9 BYE ---      
News | Statistics | Roster
CHI vs MIN Rush Catch Pass
QB Jay Cutler 190
RB Ka'Deem Carey 40
RB Jordan Howard 20 4-20
RB Jeremy Langford 20
WR Alshon Jeffery 3-40
WR Cameron Meredith 3-40
TE Zach Miller 4-40
PK Connor Barth 2 FG

Pregame Notes: The season is in free-fall and there is no reason to expect any turnaround soon if at all. The offensive scored more than 17 point only once all season. Facing the Vikings this week couldn't be worse timed with Brian Hoyer out and Jay cutler still sidelined. The Bears need their Week 9 bye to get healthy again but HC John Fox's second season is more of a deterioration year than a rebuilding one.

QUARTERBACK : Brian Hoyer broke his arm in the loss to the Packers and was placed on injured reserve. It was his non-throwing arm and he was starting to challenge Jay Cutler for the permanent starting job. Cutler was out with a thumb injury but has suddenly heeled and is expected to start. He'll be an upgrade to Matt Barkley but Cutler was outplayed by Hoyer. This return by Cutler was not very well timed.

RUNNING BACK : Jordan Howard struggled in Week 6 when he was held to only 34 yards n 15 carries by the Jaguars and Ka'Deem Carey went from one or two carries to suddenly getting nine rushing attempts to gain 50 yards. That success got him more work last week in Green Bay when he gained 48 yards on ten runs while Howard only managed seven runs for 22 yards. It is a committee backfield for now but so far Carey is making ground and starting to surpass Howard.

WIDE RECEIVER : Last week in Green Bay, Cameron Meredith fell to only one catch for 12 yards and Alshon Jeffery turned 11 targets into just three receptions for 33 yards. and Eddie Royal missed the game with a bad toe. Royal will play this week but to what success is hard to gauge. This week there are no wideouts here worth considering. Cutler condition is not certain and he could have rust. And the Bears were struggling in the first two weeks under him anyway.

TIGHT END : Zach Miller only caught two passes for 40 yards last week. Miller hasn't scored since Week 4 and won't likely see any improvement until Cutler returns.

MATCH TO THE DEFENSE: Switching to Cutler puts all of these receivers at risk and against the Vikings only makes it worse. The Vikes have only allowed one rushing score and never more than 56 rushing yards so Howard and Carey are both unappealing this week. There has been no tight ends to score on the Vikings so Miller looks bad. The wideouts are unstartable and will need late game trash time to get any fantasy relevancy which is hard to rely on. The Vikings just lost last week - they will be looking to right the ship in this divisional matchup.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points CHI 28 27 16 16 29 12
Preventing Fantasy Points MIN 6 10 2 9 2 11

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