NFL Week 12 preview

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay will play the Giants in a battle of the last two Super Bowl champions.
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay will play the Giants in a battle of the last two Super Bowl champions.

Minnesota at Chicago

Time: 1 p.m. Line: Bears by 7.

Records: Vikings 6-4 (4-5-1 vs. spread), Bears 7-3 (5-5 vs. spread).

Comments: Vikings lead all-time series, 52-47-2 . . . Bears’ Brandon Marshall has 711 receiving yards and 7 TDs in his last seven games . . . Minnesota’s Jared Allen has 13 sacks in eight games vs. Chicago . . . Bears DE Julius Peppers has eight sacks in seven games vs. Vikings . . . Chicago’s Tim Jennings has an NFL-high 8 interceptions . . . Player to watch: Vikings’ Adrian Peterson has rushed for 629 yards and 5 TDs in last four games.


Key injuries: VIKINGS: OUT: WR Percy Harvin (ankle). QUESTIONABLE: DT Letroy Guion (foot), G Charlie Johnson (toe). PROBABLE: DE Jared Allen (shoulder), WR Stephen Burton (ankle), WR Michael Jenkins (foot), P Chris Kluwe (left knee), RB Adrian Peterson (ankle), CB Antoine Winfield (knee). BEARS: OUT: WR Alshon Jeffery (knee). QUESTIONABLE: QB Jay Cutler (concussion), TE Kellen Davis (ankle). PROBABLE: LB Lance Briggs (thumb), QB Jason Campbell (ribs), G Lance Louis (ankle), WR Brandon Marshall (shoulder), DE Shea McClellin (concussion), DT Stephen Paea (shoulder), DE Julius Peppers (thigh), DT Matt Toeaina (calf).

Atlanta at Tampa Bay

Get Breaking Sports Alerts in your inbox:
Be the first to know the latest sports news as it happens.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

Time: 1 p.m., Fox Line: Falcons by 1.

Records: Falcons 9-1 (6-4 vs. spread), Buccaneers 6-4 (8-2 vs. spread).

Comments: Buccaneers have scored an NFL-high 205 points over the last six weeks . . . Since 2007, Falcons’ Roddy White has an NFL-high 533 catches . . . Tampa Bay rookie Leonard Johnson has picked off a pass in three of his last four games . . . Atlanta’s John Abraham (not yet an AARP spokesman) has 13½ sacks in his last 13 games . . . Player to watch: Tampa QB Josh Freeman is 5-1, with 16 TD passes, in his last six games.

Key injuries: FALCONS: OUT: S Charles Mitchell (calf). QUESTIONABLE: WR Kevin Cone (groin), DT Peria Jerry (quadriceps), WR Julio Jones (ankle), CB Asante Samuel (shoulder), DT Vance Walker (ribs), LB Sean Weatherspoon (illness, ankle). PROBABLE: DE John Abraham (back), DT Jonathan Babineaux (neck), K Matt Bryant (back), CB Christopher Owens (thigh), QB Matt Ryan (finger), RB Michael Turner (groin). BUCCANEERS: OUT: S Cody Grimm (hamstring). QUESTIONABLE: CB Eric Wright (Achilles). PROBABLE: DE Michael Bennett (shoulder), S Ahmad Black (illness), CB Leonard Johnson (heel), DE Aaron Morgan (shoulder), WR Tiquan Underwood (head), LB Dekoda Watson (hamstring).

San Francisco at New Orleans


Time: 4:25 p.m., Fox Line: 49ers by 1.

Records: 49ers 7-2-1 (6-4 vs. spread), Saints 5-5 (6-4 vs. spread).

Comments: White-hot Saints have won five of six . . . Nawlins QB Drew Brees is 5-0 with 107.2 passer rating and 12 TD passes vs. 49ers in the regular season (for those living under a rock, he has thrown a TD pass in 53 straight games) . . . San Fran LB Aldon Smith has 29 career sacks, the most by an NFLer in his first 26 career games . . . Player to watch: New Orleans tailback Chris Ivory has a rushing a TD in three of his last four games.

Key injuries: 49ERS: QUESTIONABLE: QB Alex Smith (concussion). PROBABLE: CB Tarell Brown (knee), CB Chris Culliver (shoulder), S Dashon Goldson (ribs, calf), LB Tavares Gooden (shin), RB Frank Gore (ribs, wrist), WR Randy Moss (finger), LB Aldon Smith (shoulder), S C.J. Spillman (finger), DT Will Tukuafu (wrist), LB Patrick Willis (shoulder). SAINTS: OUT: T Charles Brown (knee), DE Junior Galette (ankle), CB Elbert Mack (concussion), CB Corey White (knee). QUESTIONABLE: T Zach Strief (groin). PROBABLE: LB Ramon Humber (illness), RB Darren Sproles (hand).

Green Bay at NY Giants

Time: 8:20 p.m., NBC Line: Giants by 3.


Records: Packers 7-3 (5-5 vs. spread), Giants 6-4 (4-5-1 vs. spread).

Comments: Cheeseheads lead the all-time slate, 27-21-2 . . . Big Blue is 10-0 when Ahmad Bradshaw rushes for at least 100 yards . . . Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers is 6-1 with 24 TDs in his last seven games . . . Packers CB Casey Hayward leads all rooks with 5 INTs . . . New York’s Stevie Brown has NFL-high 168 interception-return yards . . . Player to watch: Giants’ Victor Cruz has 28 catches for 427 yards and 5 TDs in his last four home games.

Key injuries: PACKERS: OUT: LB Terrell Manning (shoulder), LB Clay Matthews (hamstring), LB Erik Walden (ankle), S Charles Woodson (collarbone). QUESTIONABLE: WR Greg Jennings (groin, abdomen), TE Andrew Quarless (knee). GIANTS: OUT: WR Domenik Hixon (ankle), LB Jacquian Williams (knee). QUESTIONABLE: S Kenny Phillips (knee), LB Keith Rivers (calf, knee). PROBABLE: C David Baas (ankle, elbow), RB Ahmad Bradshaw (foot), DT Linval Joseph (knee), S Tyler Sash (ankle), G Chris Snee (ankle).

Oakland at Cincinnati

Time: 1 p.m. Line: Bengals by 8½.

Records: Raiders 3-7 (3-7 vs. spread), Bengals 5-5 (4-5-1 vs. spread).

Comments: QB Carson Palmer returns to his former stomping grounds in Cincinnati. He shouldn’t expect a real warm welcome . . . Palmer has thrown for 300-plus yards in three straight (all losses) . . . Bengals QB Andy Dalton has thrown for 6 TDs in his last two games . . . Player to watch: Cincy DT Geno Atkins has a career-high 8 sacks in 2012.

Key injuries: RAIDERS: OUT: RB Mike Goodson (ankle), RB Darren McFadden (ankle), DT Richard Seymour (knee, hamstring). QUESTIONABLE: DE Jack Crawford (toe), RB Taiwan Jones (ankle). PROBABLE: S Tyvon Branch (neck), WR Darrius Heyward-Bey (hamstring), TE Brandon Myers (shoulder), RB Marcel Reece (hamstring, quadriceps). BENGALS: DOUBTFUL: WR Andrew Hawkins (knee), TE Richard Quinn (hamstring). PROBABLE: C Jeff Faine (hamstring), CB Adam Jones (calf), WR Marvin Jones (knee), S Reggie Nelson (hamstring), CB Terence Newman (head).

Pittsburgh at Cleveland

Time: 1 p.m. Line: Steelers by 1.

Records: Steelers 6-4 (4-5-1 vs. spread), Browns 2-8 (5-4-1 vs. spread).

Comments: Steelers lead all-time series, 62-56, and have won 21 of last 23 tilts . . . Charlie Batch (wear a flak jacket!) takes over as Pittsburgh QB with Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich out with rib woes . . . Browns had 7 sacks last week . . . Steelers TE Heath Miller has 5 TD catches vs. Brownies . . . Player to watch: Cleveland’s Joshua Cribbs has 3 return TDs vs. Pitt.

Key injuries: STEELERS: OUT: WR Jerricho Cotchery (ribs), T Marcus Gilbert (ankle), QB Byron Leftwich (ribs), QB Ben Roethlisberger (right shoulder). DOUBTFUL: S Troy Polamalu (calf). QUESTIONABLE: WR Antonio Brown (ankle). PROBABLE: S Will Allen (shoulder), G Willie Colon (knee), DE Ziggy Hood (back), RB Isaac Redman (concussion), LB Stevenson Sylvester (hamstring). BROWNS: OUT: CB Dimitri Patterson (ankle), S Ray Ventrone (calf).

Buffalo at Indianapolis

Time: 1 p.m. Line: Colts by 3.

Records: Bills 4-6 (5-5 vs. spread), Colts 6-4 (6-4 vs. spread).

Comments: Since the start of 2011, Bills are 4-15 when Ryan Fitzpatrick attempts 30 or more passes (6-1 when he doesn’t) . . . Indy’s Reggie Wayne (938) is three catches shy of passing Art Monk for 12th on the all-time NFL list . . . Colts’ Robert Mathis has a sack in four straight home games . . . Player to watch: Buffalo’s C.J. Spiller has 100-plus scrimmage yards in five straight games.

Key injuries: BILLS: OUT: DE Mark Anderson (knee), CB Aaron Williams (knee). QUESTIONABLE: DE Spencer Johnson (ankle), RB Corey McIntyre (knee), WR Brad Smith (hamstring). PROBABLE: CB Ron Brooks (teeth), S Jairus Byrd (back), DT Marcell Dareus (shoulder), T Chris Hairston (knee), RB Fred Jackson (concussion), DE Chris Kelsay (neck), G Andy Levitre (knee), CB Leodis McKelvin (groin), DE Shawne Merriman (groin), CB Justin Rogers (hamstring), S Da’Norris Searcy (hand), LB Kelvin Sheppard (back), RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder), DT Kyle Williams (ankle), DE Mario Williams (wrist, ankle), C Eric Wood (knee). COLTS: DOUBTFUL: CB Vontae Davis (knee). QUESTIONABLE: TE Coby Fleener (shoulder), DE Cory Redding (hip). PROBABLE: WR Donnie Avery (head), S Antoine Bethea (ankle), RB Donald Brown (knee), NT Josh Chapman (knee), QB Andrew Luck (knee), CB Teddy Williams (hamstring).

Denver at Kansas City

Time: 1 p.m. CBS Line: Broncos by 10½.

Records: Broncos 7-3 (6-4 vs. spread), Chiefs 1-9 (3-7 vs. spread).

Comments: Broncos haven’t lost since Week 5 at New England . . . Chiefs have lost 7 straight . . . Brady Quinn gets the start at QB for KC . . . Denver will go with Peyton Manning, who needs a win to break a 148-148 tie with John Elway for second-most all-time . . . KC’s Jamaal Charles has rushed for 187 yards the last two weeks . . . Player to watch: Broncos LB Von Miller has 13 sacks.

Key injuries: BRONCOS: QUESTIONABLE: CB Omar Bolden (concussion). PROBABLE: DE Robert Ayers (groin), TE Virgil Green (hamstring), RB Ronnie Hillman (hamstring), G Chris Kuper (ankle), RB Knowshon Moreno (groin), CB Tracy Porter (illness), WR Demaryius Thomas (knee), DE Derek Wolfe (quadriceps). CHIEFS: DOUBTFUL: T Branden Albert (back). QUESTIONABLE: G Jon Asamoah (thumb), G Ryan Lilja (knee).

Seattle at Miami

Time: 1 p.m. Line: Seahawks by 3.

Records: Seahawks 6-4 (7-3 vs. spread), Dolphins 4-6 (4-6 vs. spread).

Comments: Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch has rushed for at least 100 yards in four straight games . . . Miami’s Davone Bess is two receptions shy of reaching 50 for the fifth straight season . . . Seahawks have a league-low 27 big plays (20 or more yards). They didn’t all come against the Patriots . . . Player to watch: Dolphins’ Reggie Bush has a mere 41 rushing yards the last two weeks.

Key injuries: SEAHAWKS: PROBABLE: DE Red Bryant (foot), G James Carpenter (concussion), RB Marshawn Lynch (back), CB Byron Maxwell (hamstring), DT Clinton McDonald (groin), DE Greg Scruggs (oblique), LB K.J. Wright (concussion). DOLPHINS: QUESTIONABLE: LB Austin Spitler (ankle). PROBABLE: LB Karlos Dansby (biceps), TE Anthony Fasano (hip), P Brandon Fields (left knee), C Mike Pouncey (ankle), S Jimmy Wilson (ribs).

Tennessee at Jacksonville

Time: 1 p.m. Line: Titans by 4.

Records: Titans 4-6 (4-6 vs. spread), Jaguars 1-9 (5-5 vs. spread).

Comments: Jaguars are 6-23 in their last 29 games . . . Jacksonville QB Chad Henne threw a career-high 4 TDs off the bench last week and gets the start . . . Tennessee RB Chris Johnson is 138 yards shy of his fifth straight 1,000-yard season . . . Player to watch: Jags’ Justin Blackmon is 42 receiving yards shy of breaking franchise rookie record held by Pete “Top Gun” Mitchell (527).

Key injuries: TITANS: DOUBTFUL: S Al Afalava (ankle). QUESTIONABLE: LB Xavier Adibi (knee), RB Jamie Harper (ankle), WR Lavelle Hawkins (ankle), TE Craig Stevens (hamstring), T Byron Stingily (back). PROBABLE: WR Kenny Britt (knee), QB Jake Locker (left shoulder), LB Colin McCarthy (ankle). JAGUARS: OUT: RB Greg Jones (thigh), CB William Middleton (concussion). QUESTIONABLE: S Dwight Lowery (ankle), CB Rashean Mathis (groin).

Baltimore at San Diego

Time: 4:05 p.m. Line: Ravens by 1.

Records: Ravens 8-2 (4-5-1 vs. spread), Chargers 4-6 (5-5 vs. spread).

Comments: Ravens are playing fourth road game in five weeks — and you better believe John Harbaugh has complained about it to somebody . . . In three home games vs. Baltimore, Chargers QB Philip Rivers has thrown for 955 yards and 6 TDs . . . Ravens’ Ray Rice is tied for NFL lead for receptions by a RB (40) . . . Player to watch: Baltimore QB Joe Flacco is 16-4 in November.

Key injuries: RAVENS: OUT: CB Jimmy Smith (abdomen). DOUBTFUL: CB Chris Johnson (thigh). QUESTIONABLE: DE Pernell McPhee (thigh). PROBABLE: LB Brendon Ayanbadejo (shoulder), NT Terrence Cody (arm), TE Ed Dickson (neck), LB Dannell Ellerbe (toe, finger), S James Ihedigbo (neck), WR Jacoby Jones (ankle), DT Haloti Ngata (shoulder), TE Dennis Pitta (head), S Bernard Pollard (chest), S Ed Reed (shoulder), LB Terrell Suggs (shoulder, ankle), LB Courtney Upshaw (shoulder), G Marshal Yanda (ankle). CHARGERS: OUT: LB Larry English (calf), T Jared Gaither (groin), WR Eddie Royal (hamstring). DOUBTFUL: G Tyronne Green (hamstring), TE Dante Rosario (hamstring). QUESTIONABLE: DT Aubrayo Franklin (knee). PROBABLE: S Atari Bigby (shoulder), P Mike Scifres (right ankle), G Louis Vasquez (ankle).

St. Louis at Arizona

Time: 4:25 p.m. Line: Cardinals by 1½.

Records: Rams 3-6-1 (6-4 vs. spread), Cardinals 4-6 (4-5-1 vs. spread).

Comments: Rams beat Cardinals, 17-3, Oct. 4 and neither team has won since . . . St. Louis’s Chris Givens is first rookie with a 50-plus-yard reception in five straight games . . . Cardinals QB Ryan Lindley (currently on zero fantasy teams across the land) makes his first career start . . . Rams’ Danny Amendola has 18 catches in the last two weeks . . . Player to watch: Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald has 99 catches vs. Rams.

Key injuries: RAMS: OUT: LB Mario Haggan (elbow). DOUBTFUL: WR Danny Amendola (foot). QUESTIONABLE: TE Lance Kendricks (knee), S Rodney McLeod (calf). PROBABLE: RB Steven Jackson (foot). CARDINALS: QUESTIONABLE: DE Calais Campbell (calf), WR Early Doucet (ribs), QB Kevin Kolb (ribs), RB LaRod Stephens-Howling (ribs).

Carolina at Philadelphia

Time: Monday, 8:30 p.m., ESPN Line: Panthers by 3.

Records: Panthers 2-8 (4-6 vs. spread), Eagles 3-7 (1-8-1 vs. spread).

Comments: This is one of the more brutal matchups you’re ever going to see . . . Philadelphia has lost six straight games . . . Carolina’s Cam Newton is the only NFL player with 6,000-plus passing yards, 1,000-plus rushing yards, and 15-plus rushing touchdowns in his first two seasons . . . The Eagles have won three straight against the Panthers . . . Player to watch: Eagles RB Bryce Brown will make his first start since 2008 at Wichita East High School.

Key injuries: PANTHERS: DNP: DE Antwan Applewhite (hamstring), DE Greg Hardy (illness), LB Jordan Senn (ankle). FULL: LB Thomas Davis (not injury related), DT Dwan Edwards (not injury related), DT Ron Edwards (not injury related), T Jordan Gross (not injury related), C Geoff Hangartner (knee), S Colin Jones (head), WR Steve Smith (finger). EAGLES: OUT: RB LeSean McCoy (concussion), QB Michael Vick (concussion), RB Chris Polk (toe). DNP: WR Jason Avant (hamstring). FULL: WR Riley Cooper (knee), WR Mardy Gilyard (hamstring), DT Cullen Jenkins (foot, ankle), G Danny Watkins (ankle).

Jim McBride can be reached at