Jim McBride breaks down some of the key games this week:
Indianapolis at Cincinnati
Time: 1 p.m. Line: Bengals by 6½.
Records: Colts 8-4 (6-5-1 vs. spread), Bengals 8-4 (7-4-1 vs. spread).
Comments: Bengals QB Andy Dalton reached 3,144 passing yards and is one of only two QBs to throw for 3,000-plus yards in each of his first three seasons (ex-Colt Peyton Manning) . . . Present Colt Andrew Luck’s 7,167 career passing yards are fourth most of any QB over first two seasons . . . Cincy’s BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for a season-high 92 yards last week (even ex-Patriots play their best in December) . . . Player to watch: Indy RB Donald Brown (he’s their closer) averaging 5 yards per carry vs. Cincy (17 rushes, 85 yards).
Key injuries: COLTS: OUT: DT Ricky Jean Francois (foot), T Jeff Linkenbach (quadriceps). QUESTIONABLE: LB Kavell Conner (ankle), G Hugh Thornton (neck), CB Greg Toler (groin). PROBABLE: S Sergio Brown (hand), CB Josh Gordy (groin), WR T.Y. Hilton (shoulder), LB Robert Mathis (not injury-related). BENGALS: QUESTIONABLE: G Kevin Zeitler (foot). PROBABLE: LB Vontaze Burfict (ankle), TE Tyler Eifert (knee), WR A.J. Green (groin), TE Clark Harris (illness), WR Andrew Hawkins (hamstring), CB Adam Jones (hip), T Andrew Whitworth (calf).
Detroit at Philadelphia
Time: 1 p.m. Line: Eagles by 2½.
Records: Lions 7-5 (6-6 vs. spread), Eagles 7-5 (6-6 vs. spread).
Comments: Eagles lead series, 14-13-2 . . . Lions QB Matthew Stafford has thrown for 627 yards and 6 TDs in his last two games . . . His top target, Calvin Johnson, has 962 receiving yards in last six games, most in history over a six-game stretch . . . Eagles QB Nick Foles has 19 TDs without an INT, second-longest streak to start a season (ex-Colt Peyton Manning 20) . . . Philly’s LeSean McCoy leads the league with 1,523 yards from scrimmage . . . Player to watch: Philly receiver Riley Cooper has 14 catches, 326 yards, and 5 TDs in his last four games.
Key injuries: LIONS: DOUBTFUL: CB Darius Slay (knee). QUESTIONABLE: RB Reggie Bush (calf), CB Chris Houston (foot). PROBABLE: S Louis Delmas (knee), DE Israel Idonije (knee), WR Calvin Johnson (knee). EAGLES: OUT: LB Najee Goode (hamstring), S Earl Wolff (knee). PROBABLE: TE Zach Ertz (shoulder), DT Bennie Logan (neck), WR Jeff Maehl (concussion), DE Damion Square (back).
Seattle at San Francisco
Time: 4:25 p.m., Fox Line: 49ers by 2½.
Records: Seahawks 11-1 (8-4 vs. spread), 49ers 8-4 (8-3-1 vs. spread).
Comments: Seahawks beat 49ers, 29-3, Sept. 15 and lead series, 15-14 . . . Seattle QB Russell Wilson (OK, I’m starting to think he’s pretty good) has 22 wins in first two seasons, tied for tops in Super Bowl era . . . San Francisco is 10-0 when Colin Kaepernick registers a 100-plus passer rating . . . Coach Cutie Pie’s Seahawks lead NFL with 27 takeaways (official stat) and 37 suspended players (unofficial stat) . . . Player to watch: Seattle safety Michael Bennett is lone NFLer with 80-plus tackles, 4 INTs, and 2 forced fumbles.
Key injuries: SEAHAWKS: OUT: CB Brandon Browner (groin), WR Percy Harvin (hip). QUESTIONABLE: QB Tarvaris Jackson (illness). PROBABLE: S Kam Chancellor (hip), TE Kellen Davis (neck), LB Bruce Irvin (thigh), RB Marshawn Lynch (not injury-related), WR Golden Tate (hip). 49ERS: QUESTIONABLE: WR Jon Baldwin (calf), CB Tarell Brown (ribs), G Mike Iupati (knee), WR Mario Manningham (knee), TE Vance McDonald (ankle), LB Dan Skuta (foot), T Joe Staley (knee). PROBABLE: LB NaVorro Bowman (wrist), TE Garrett Celek (hamstring), RB Frank Gore (ankle), DT Ray McDonald (ankle), LB Aldon Smith (shoulder), DT Justin Smith (shoulder).
Carolina at New Orleans
Time: 8:30 p.m., NBC Line: Saints by 3.
Records: Panthers 9-3 (8-4 vs. spread), Saints 9-3 (6-5-1 vs. spread).
Comments: Panthers are riding a franchise-record eight-game winning streak (apparently Commissioner Goodell is not going to overturn that Monday night call in the Patriots game. Ugh.) . . . Carolina’s Cam Newton is only player in history with 50-plus passing TDs and 25-plus rushing TDs in first three seasons . . . Drew Brees has thrown for 2,141 yards, 19 TDs, and 2 INTs in leading Saints to 6-0 home record this season . . . Player to watch: Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams has rushed for 860 yards and 7 TDs in last seven games vs. New Orleans.
Key injuries: PANTHERS: OUT: G Chris Scott (knee). DOUBTFUL: LB Jordan Senn (hamstring). PROBABLE: T Nate Chandler (knee), DT Dwan Edwards (not injury-related), T Jordan Gross (not injury-related), TE Ben Hartsock (knee), DE Charles Johnson (knee), RB Jonathan Stewart (ankle), RB Mike Tolbert (knee), G Travelle Wharton (not injury-related), RB DeAngelo Williams (quadriceps). SAINTS: QUESTIONABLE: NT Brodrick Bunkley (ankle), S Rafael Bush (ankle), LB Keyunta Dawson (calf), DE Glenn Foster (knee), T Zach Strief (ankle).
Minnesota at Baltimore
Time: 1 p.m. Line: Ravens by 6.
Records: Vikings 3-8-1 (6-6 vs. spread), Ravens 6-6 (6-5-1 vs. spread).
Comments: Vikings WR Greg Jennings has 8 TDs in his past eight games vs. AFC foes . . . Baltimore QB Joe “Cool” Flacco needs 7 yards Sunday to become first Raven with five straight 3,000-yard campaigns . . . Player to watch: Ravens’ Justin Tucker has converted 27 straight field goals, longest active streak in NFL.
Key injuries: VIKINGS: OUT: QB Christian Ponder (concussion), CB Josh Robinson (chest), TE Kyle Rudolph (foot). QUESTIONABLE: LB Larry Dean (knee), RB Adrian Peterson (groin), S Jamarca Sanford (ankle). RAVENS: OUT: S Brynden Trawick (ankle). DOUBTFUL: LB Elvis Dumervil (ankle). QUESTIONABLE: DT Chris Canty (shoulder), CB Asa Jackson (thigh), WR Brandon Stokley (knee), CB Lardarius Webb (abdomen).
Oakland at NY Jets
Time: 1 p.m. Line: Jets by 3.
Records: Raiders 4-8 (8-4 vs. spread), Jets 5-7 (6-6 vs. spread).
Comments: Raiders lead series, 21-15-2, but Jets have won three straight at home . . . Oakland QB Matt McGloin has 452 passing yards and 3 TDs in last two road games . . . Jets are No. 1 against the run (77 yards per game).
Key injuries: RAIDERS: DOUBTFUL: G Mike Brisiel (ankle, knee), LB Kaluka Maiava (ribs, calf), RB Darren McFadden (ankle), WR Denarius Moore (shoulder), RB Jeremy Stewart (ankle, knee), S Usama Young (neck). QUESTIONABLE: S Tyvon Branch (ankle), LB Miles Burris (toe), RB Rashad Jennings (concussion). JETS: QUESTIONABLE: WR Stephen Hill (knee).
Miami at Pittsburgh
Time: 1 p.m. Line: Steelers by 3½.
Records: Dolphins 6-6 (7-5 vs. spread), Steelers 5-7 (6-6 vs. spread).
Comments: A return home for former Steeler Mike Wallace, who has 12 catches for 209 yards and 2 TDs in his last two games . . . Pittsburgh has won three straight at home vs. Miami . . . Ben Roethlisberger’s next TD pass will give him the Steelers’ franchise lead over Terry Bradshaw (212).
Key injuries: DOLPHINS: OUT: CB Jamar Taylor (hamstring). QUESTIONABLE: CB Dimitri Patterson (groin), RB Daniel Thomas (ankle). STEELERS: OUT: DE Brett Keisel (foot). DOUBTFUL: G Kelvin Beachum (knee). QUESTIONABLE: NT Steve McLendon (ankle).
Buffalo at Tampa Bay
Time: 1 p.m. Line: Buccaneers by 2½.
Records: Bills 4-8 (6-6 vs. spread), Buccaneers 3-9 (5-7 vs. spread).
Comments: Buccaneers’ Mike Glennon has thrown for 965 yards, 7 TDs, and 2 INTs in his last five games . . . Buffalo leads NFL with 43 sacks. Mario and Kyle Williams (no relation) have combined for 19 sacks . . . Tampa RB Bobby Rainey has 4 TDs in his last two home games.
Key injuries: BILLS: PROBABLE: WR Marquise Goodwin (calf), DT Kyle Williams (Achilles’). BUCCANEERS: OUT: G Carl Nicks (foot). QUESTIONABLE: DE Da’Quan Bowers (knee), DT Gary Gibson (calf), WR Vincent Jackson (hamstring), WR Chris Owusu (hamstring).
Kansas City at Washington
Time: 1 p.m. Line: Chiefs by 3.
Records: Chiefs 9-3 (6-6 vs. spread), Redskins 3-9 (3-9 vs. spread).
Comments: For fourth straight week, we’ll point out that Andy Reid is a win away from No. 150 . . . Alex Smith is 27 rushing yards shy of setting Chiefs’ season record for a QB of 386, held by Tyler Thigpen (and please get out of the house more often if you knew that) . . . Player to watch: Redskins TE Jordan Reed leads NFC rookies with 45 receptions.
Key injuries: CHIEFS: OUT: T Branden Albert (knee), TE Anthony Fasano (concussion, knee), LB Justin Houston (elbow). REDSKINS: QUESTIONABLE: S Reed Doughty (concussion, shoulder), S Brandon Meriweather (chest), TE Jordan Reed (concussion), RB Darrel Young (hamstring).
Atlanta at Green Bay
Time: 1 p.m. Line: Packers by 3½.
Records: Falcons 3-9 (4-8 vs. spread), Packers 5-6-1 (4-8 vs. spread).
Comments: Packers lead series, 13-12 . . . Green Bay rookie Eddie Lacy has rumbled for 514 yards in his past five games at Lambeau Field . . . Falcons’ Steven Jackson has piled up 633 yard from scrimmage in his last five against the Cheeseheads . . . Player to watch: Falcons’ Harry Douglas has 50 catches for 687 yards in his last seven games.
Key injuries: FALCONS: QUESTIONABLE: TE Tony Gonzalez (toe), S Zeke Motta (hand). PACKERS: OUT: QB Aaron Rodgers (collarbone), DE C.J. Wilson (ankle). QUESTIONABLE: C Evan Dietrich-Smith (knee, ankle).
Tennessee at Denver
Time: 4:05 p.m. Line: Broncos by 12.
Records: Titans 5-7 (6-4-2 vs. spread), Broncos 10-2 (7-5 vs. spread).
Comments: Peyton Manning’s 4,125 passing yards is most ever through first 12 games. Manning is 13-5 vs. Tennessee . . . Titans’ Chris Johnson needs 2 rushing TDs to join Hall of Famer Earl Campbell (all hail) and Eddie George as only RBs in franchise annals with 50 . . . Player to watch: Tennessee DT Jurrell Casey has a career-high eight sacks.
Key injuries: TITANS: QUESTIONABLE: TE Craig Stevens (concussion), T David Stewart (shoulder), TE Delanie Walker (concussion), WR Damian Williams (hip). BRONCOS: OUT: DE Derek Wolfe (illness). QUESTIONABLE: CB Champ Bailey (foot), WR Trindon Holliday (shoulder).
St. Louis at Arizona
Time: 4:25 p.m. Line: Cardinals by 6½.
Records: Rams 5-7 (5-7 vs. spread), Cardinals 7-5 (8-4 vs. spread).
Comments: Rams beat Cardinals, 27-24, in Week 1 . . . St. Louis DE Robert Quinn had 3 sacks in that one . . . Cardinals LB/DE John Abraham has 8 sacks and 3 forced fumbles in his last six games (goodness, will this guy ever get old?) . . . Rams DE Chris Long has 10.5 sacks (and one fight with his brother) in his last 14 games . . . Player to watch: Arizona’s Patrick Peterson has 3 INTs and 2 punt return TDs in last five games vs. St. Louis.
Key injuries: RAMS: OUT: C Scott Wells (fibula). QUESTIONABLE: CB Brandon McGee (foot). CARDINALS: QUESTIONABLE: TE Rob Housler (ankle, hip), QB Carson Palmer (right elbow).
NY Giants at San Diego
Time: 4:25 p.m. Line: Chargers by 3½.
Records: Giants 5-7 (5-7 vs. spread), Chargers 5-7 (6-5-1 vs. spread).
Comments: Giants’ QB Eli Manning has thrown for 567 yards, 4 TDs, and zero INTs in two starts vs. his former team . . . Chargers QB Philip Rivers is 367 yards shy of his fifth 4,000-yard campaign. He trails Eli, 2-0, in Super Bowl rings . . . Jints DE Justin Tuck collected a career-high 4 sacks last week . . . Series is tied, 5-5.
Key injuries: GIANTS: OUT: DE Jason Pierre-Paul (shoulder), CB Corey Webster (ankle). DOUBTFUL: RB Brandon Jacobs (knee). QUESTIONABLE: CB Trumaine McBride (groin).CHARGERS: QUESTIONABLE: LB Jarret Johnson (hand), WR Eddie Royal (toe, chest).
Dallas at Chicago
Time: Monday, 8:40 p.m., ESPN Line: Even.
Records: Cowboys 7-5 (8-4 vs. spread), Bears 6-6 (2-8-2 vs. spread).
Comments: Cowboys lead series, 11-10, but Bears have won last two . . . Cowboys’ Tony “Smiling” Romo has thrown for 300-plus yards in all three meetings with Chicago . . . Bears WR Alshon Jeffery (developing into a scary monster) had 12 catches for a franchise-record 249 yards last week.Jim McBride can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org