Jim McBride’s takes a look at this weekend’s NFL games
Buffalo at Miami
Time: 1 p.m. Line: Dolphins by 7.
Records: Bills 2-4 (4-2 vs. spread), Dolphins 3-2 (3-2 vs. spread).
Comments: There’s no truth to the rumors the Bills are aiming to set the NFL record for most starting QBs in a season (Matt Flynn would be No. 4) . . . Bills RB Fred Jackson has a rushing TD in three of last four games . . . Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill is 80 of 128 for 893 yards and 7 TDs in his last four games . . . Buffalo LB Kiki Alonso has a team-high 66 tackles . . . Miami’s Brandon Gibson has 24 receptions, 15 for first downs . . . Dolphins are 14-10 coming off bye weeks since 1990 . . . Player to watch: Bills’ C.J. Spiller has rushed for 320 yards in past three vs. Dolphins.
Key injuries: BILLS: OUT: QB EJ Manuel (knee). PROBABLE: CB Ron Brooks (foot), WR Stevie Johnson (back), LB Manny Lawson (hamstring), QB Thaddeus Lewis (foot), RB C.J. Spiller (ankle), DT Kyle Williams (Achilles’, illness), DE Mario Williams (hip). DOLPHINS: DOUBTFUL: LB Dannell Ellerbe (shoulder). QUESTIONABLE: WR Brandon Gibson (hip), CB Dimitri Patterson (groin). PROBABLE: S Chris Clemons (knee), P Brandon Fields (back), G Nate Garner (knee), DE Dion Jordan (ankle), LB Koa Misi (shoulder, knee), C Mike Pouncey (ankle), LB Jason Trusnik (rib), DE Cameron Wake (knee), T Will Yeatman (shoulder).
Dallas at Philadelphia
Time: 1 p.m. Line: Eagles by 3.
Records: Cowboys 3-3 (5-1 vs. spread), Eagles 3-3 (3-3 vs. spread).
Comments: Cowboys lead the series, 58-46 . . . Chip Kelly’s Eagles are first squad since 1970 with 1,600 passing yards and 1,050 rushing yards in first six games . . . Dallas has scored an NFC-high 183 points . . . In his last 14 games, Cowpokes WR Dez Bryant has 84 catches for 1,338 yards and 16 TDs . . . Philly’s Riley Cooper had a career-high 120 receiving yards last week . . . Eagles’ LeSean McCoy has 500 scrimmage yards in last four vs. Dallas . . . Player to watch: Cowboys’ Tony Romo has completed 41 of 53 passes for 512 yards with 5 TDs in past two vs. Eagles.
Key injuries: COWBOYS: OUT: RB Lance Dunbar (hamstring), LB DeVonte Holloman (neck). DOUBTFUL: RB DeMarco Murray (knee), DE DeMarcus Ware (thigh). PROBABLE: WR Miles Austin (hamstring), WR Dwayne Harris (hip), DT Jason Hatcher (neck), DE George Selvie (shoulder). EAGLES: DOUBTFUL: S Patrick Chung (shoulder). QUESTIONABLE: RB Chris Polk (shoulder), QB Michael Vick (hamstring). PROBABLE: TE James Casey (groin), P Donnie Jones (left foot), T Jason Peters (shoulder, finger).
Houston at Kansas City
Time: 4:25 p.m. Line: Chiefs by 6½.
Records: Texans 2-4 (0-6 vs. spread), Chiefs 6-0 (5-1 vs. spread).
Comments: There is some good news in Houston: RB Arian Foster (AFC-high 531 rushing yards) is still a beast. That’s about it, though . . . Plenty of good news in KC: RB Jamaal Charles has collected at least 100 scrimmage yards in six straight games . . . LB Justin Houston, who plays for Kansas City (sorry for the confusion), has 19½ sacks since 2012 . . . For the record, Kansas City was my favorite room at the Hilltop (R.I.P.) . . . Player to watch: KC’s Dwayne Bowe had six catches for 108 yards and two TDs in last game vs. Texans.
Key injuries: TEXANS: OUT: LB Tim Dobbins (hamstring), QB Matt Schaub (ankle, foot). PROBABLE: G Brandon Brooks (toe), T Duane Brown (toe), LB Brian Cushing (knee), RB Arian Foster (thumb, chest, hamstring), WR Andre Johnson (shin), RB Greg Jones (ankle, illness), WR Keshawn Martin (shoulder), CB Brice McCain (knee), C Chris Myers (biceps), T Derek Newton (knee), S Eddie Pleasant (toe), WR DeVier Posey (Achilles’), LB Darryl Sharpton (foot), G Wade Smith (knee), RB Ben Tate (elbow). CHIEFS: QUESTIONABLE: S Kendrick Lewis (ankle). PROBABLE: T Branden Albert (knee, elbow), G Jeff Allen (groin, hand), G Jon Asamoah (knee), WR Donnie Avery (shoulder), TE Kevin Brock (shoulder), P Dustin Colquitt (right knee), TE Anthony Fasano (ankle, knee), CB Brandon Flowers (knee), DT Jaye Howard (not injury related), LB Dezman Moses (toe), DT Dontari Poe (ankle), RB Anthony Sherman (knee).
Denver at Indianapolis
Time: 8:30 p.m., NBC Line: Broncos by 6½.
Records: Broncos 6-0 (3-3 vs. spread), Colts 4-2 (3-3 vs. spread).
Comments: Broncos’ Peyton Manning has thrown a league-high 22 TD passes this season. As a Colt, he threw 399 of them. Oh, and he also threw for 54,828 yards, collected four MVP awards, and a Super Bowl ring . . . Colts QB Andrew Luck is 9-2 with 17 TDs and 6 INTs in the House that Peyton Built . . . Denver’s Wes Welker is 42 receiving yards shy of 9,000 . . . Since 2012, Indy’s Trent Richardson has 13 rushing TDs . . . Player to watch: Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno had 3 TDs last week and at least one in three straight.
Key injuries: BRONCOS: DOUBTFUL: T Orlando Franklin (ankle). QUESTIONABLE: LB Wesley Woodyard (neck). PROBABLE: DE Robert Ayers (shoulder), CB Champ Bailey (foot), WR Eric Decker (shoulder), TE Joel Dreessen (knee), TE Virgil Green (back), G Chris Kuper (ankle), DE Shaun Phillips (hamstring), WR Wes Welker (ankle), DT Sylvester Williams (neck). COLTS: OUT: LB Bjoern Werner (foot). QUESTIONABLE: CB Darius Butler (groin), LB Kelvin Sheppard (hamstring). PROBABLE: LB Jerrell Freeman (concussion), S Delano Howell (neck), S LaRon Landry (ankle).
St. Louis at Carolina
Time: 1 p.m. Line: Panthers by 7.
Records: Rams 3-3 (2-4 vs. spread), Panthers 2-3 (2-3 vs. spread).
Comments: Carolina’s Cam Newton has passed for 805 yards and 7 TDs in winning three of his last four games at home . . . St. Louis’s Sam Bradford threw for 3 TDs and had a career-high 134.5 passer rating last week . . . Austin powers: Rams WR Tavon Austin leads NFC rookies with 24 catches and WR Austin Pettis has 4 TDs in last five . . . Player to watch: Panthers DE Greg Hardy has 12 sacks in his last 14 games.
Key injuries: RAMS: OUT: RB Benny Cunningham (ankle). DOUBTFUL: CB Cortland Finnegan (thigh). PANTHERS: OUT: CB D.J. Moore (knee). DOUBTFUL: DT Dwan Edwards (hamstring).
Chicago at Washington
Time: 1 p.m. Line: Even.
Records: Bears 4-2 (1-4-1 vs. spread), Redskins 1-4 (1-4 vs. spread).
Comments: Da Bears lead the all-time slate, 20-19-1, but Redskins have dominated lately, winning 10 of 12 and four straight . . . Washington’s Alfred Morris has rumbled for 571 yards and 6 TDs in his last five home games . . . Bears have yet to allow a fourth-quarter TD . . . Redskins’ Pierre Garcon has at least 6 catches in every game this season . . . Player to watch: Chicago’s Brandon Marshall has 47 receptions in his past six October games.
Key injuries: BEARS: QUESTIONABLE: TE Martellus Bennett (knee), CB Charles Tillman (knee). REDSKINS: QUESTIONABLE: CB David Amerson (concussion).
Cincinnati at Detroit
Time: 1 p.m. Line: Lions by 2½.
Records: Bengals 4-2 (3-2-1 vs. spread), Lions 4-2 (4-2 vs. spread).
Comments: Detroit’s Reggie Bush is the lone NFLer with 350-plus rushing yards and 250-plus receiving yards . . . Cincy TE Jermaine Gresham is 4 catches shy of 200 . . . Since 2010, Lions’ Brandon Pettigrew is fourth among TEs with 233 catches . . . Bengals QB Andy Dalton is 7-3 vs. NFC teams . . . Player to watch: Lions QB Matthew Stafford threw for 4 TDs against Browns last week.
Key injuries: BENGALS: PROBABLE: C Kyle Cook (shoulder), CB Terence Newman (abdomen), DT Devon Still (back). LIONS: OUT: WR Nate Burleson (forearm), TE Tony Scheffler (concussion). DOUBTFUL: T Jason Fox (knee). QUESTIONABLE: RB Joique Bell (rib), RB Theo Riddick (concussion).
San Diego at Jacksonville
Time: 1 p.m. Line: Chargers by 7½.
Records: Chargers 3-3 (4-1-1 vs. spread), Jaguars 0-6 (1-5 vs. spread).
Comments: Jaguars’ Justin Blackmon has collected 19 catches for 326 yards over the last two weeks . . . Chargers’ Antonio Gates leads AFC TEs with 466 receiving yards . . . Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew’s 78 TDs are sixth-most among active players . . . LB Paul Posluszny leads Jags with 54 tackles . . . Player to watch: San Diego’s Philip Rivers has an NFL-high three 400-yard passing games this season.
Key injuries: CHARGERS: OUT: G Chad Rinehart (toe). DOUBTFUL: LB Donald Butler (groin). QUESTIONABLE: LB Jarret Johnson (hamstring), WR Eddie Royal (toe), G Stephen Schilling (neck). JAGUARS: OUT: WR Stephen Burton (concussion), QB Blaine Gabbert (hamstring), DE Jeremy Mincey (concussion), WR Ace Sanders (concussion). QUESTIONABLE: WR Justin Blackmon (hamstring), S Johnathan Cyprien (calf), CB Dwayne Gratz (ankle), WR Cecil Shorts (shoulder).
Tampa Bay at Atlanta
Time: 1 p.m. Line: Falcons by 7.
Records: Buccaneers 0-5 (1-4 vs. spread), Falcons 1-4 (1-4 vs. spread).
Comments: Atlanta’s Matty “Ice’’ Ryan is 34-7 in home starts. He has won 12 of his last 15 at home but has lost his last two at the Georgia Dome (to the Patriots and Jets) . . . Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin has rushed for 3 TDs in last two vs. Falcons . . . Atlanta TE Tony Gonzalez has 22 catches for 246 yards and 2 TDs in his last two . . . Player to watch: Buccaneers’ Vincent Jackson leads active players with 17.7-yard average per catch (370 receptions, 6,544 yards).
Key injuries: BUCCANEERS: OUT: RB Jeff Demps (groin), G Carl Nicks (foot). QUESTIONABLE: CB Michael Adams (knee), DE Da’Quan Bowers (toe), WR Mike Williams (hamstring). FALCONS: OUT: T Sam Baker (knee), TE Chase Coffman (knee), RB Steven Jackson (hamstring), WR Roddy White (hamstring/ankle).
San Francisco at Tennessee
Time: 4:05 p.m. Line: 49ers by 3½.
Records: 49ers 4-2 (4-2 vs. spread), Titans 3-3 (4-1-1 vs. spread).
Comments: Tennessee QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (he’s wicked smaht) is 138 yards shy of 15,000. His teams are 7-4 when he posts a 100-plus passer rating . . . San Fran QB Colin Kaepernick is 7-0 when he boasts a 100-plus passer rating . . . Obligatory Frank Gore note: The 49ers bruiser is seeking his 35th career 100-yard game . . . Player to watch: Tennessee’s Nate Washington has a catch in 84 consecutive games.
Key injuries: 49ERS: OUT: WR Quinton Patton (foot). QUESTIONABLE: WR Jon Baldwin (illness), DT Glenn Dorsey (hamstring), DT Ray McDonald (biceps), CB Carlos Rogers (knee), DT Justin Smith (shoulder). TITANS: OUT: LB Moise Fokou (knee), LB Zaviar Gooden (hamstring). QUESTIONABLE: LB Patrick Bailey (hamstring), DE Lavar Edwards (shoulder), RB Shonn Greene (knee), QB Jake Locker (hip, knee).
Baltimore at Pittsburgh
Time: 4:25 p.m. Line: Steelers by 2½.
Records: Ravens 3-3 (4-2 vs. spread), Steelers 1-4 (1-4 vs. spread).
Comments: Though the Steelers lead the series, 19-15, the Ravens have won three straight at Heinz Field . . . Baltimore has won 13 of 15 vs. AFC North foes . . . Ben Roethlisberger is 3 TD passes away from joining Terry Bradshaw (212) as the only Steelers QBs with 200 . . . Pittsburgh LB LaMarr Woodley has at least 1 sack in four of five games this season . . . Player to watch: Ravens LB Terrell Suggs has 13½ sacks vs. Steelers.
Key injuries: RAVENS: OUT: LB Josh Bynes (thigh, finger). DOUBTFUL: C Ryan Jensen (foot), WR Brandon Stokley (thigh). QUESTIONABLE: CB Chykie Brown (thigh), NT Terrence Cody (knee), LB Albert McClellan (shoulder), DT Haloti Ngata (elbow), LB Courtney Upshaw (foot), CB Lardarius Webb (thigh). STEELERS: OUT: TE Richard Gordon (toe), WR Markus Wheaton (finger).
Cleveland at Green Bay
Time: 4:25 p.m. Line: Packers by 10.
Records: Browns 3-3 (3-3 vs. spread), Packers 3-2 (2-3 vs. spread).
Comments: Cleveland’s Jordan Cameron leads NFL TEs with 38 receptions (just 38 ahead of Gronk) . . . Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers has thrown for 6,464 yards and 59 TDs in winning 21 of last 22 at Lambeau Field . . . Browns’ Brandon Weeden has thrown for 501 yards and 4 TDs in last two road starts vs. NFC teams . . . Player to watch: Packers LB A.J. Hawk collected 3 sacks last week.
Key injuries: BROWNS: OUT: DE Billy Winn (quadriceps). QUESTIONABLE: LB Brandon Magee (oblique). PACKERS: OUT: LB Brad Jones (hamstring), LB Clay Matthews (thumb), LB Nick Perry (foot), RB James Starks (knee), TE Ryan Taylor (knee). QUESTIONABLE: CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring), CB Casey Hayward (hamstring), WR James Jones (knee), LB Mike Neal (shoulder).
Minnesota at NY Giants
Time: Monday, 8:40 p.m., ESPN Line: Giants by 3½.
Records: Vikings 1-4 (2-3 vs. spread), Giants 0-6 (1-5 vs. spread).
Comments: This quite possibly is the most miserable “Monday Night Football” matchup in history . . . The Giants are minus-16 in takeaways . . . Jints’ Eli Manning has started 141 straight games and is 7-4 on “MNF” . . . Josh Freeman gets his chance to be the Vikings’ QB (Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel had their chances) . . . Player to watch: Giants’ Victor Cruz has 14 catches for 261 yards and 2 TDs in his last two “MNF’ games.
Key injuries: VIKINGS: DNP: CB A.J. Jefferson (ankle), T Matt Kalil (back), RB Adrian Peterson (hamstring). LIMITED: DE Jared Allen (ankle), CB Xavier Rhodes (ankle), K Blair Walsh (left hamstring), DT Kevin Williams (knee). GIANTS: DNP: DE Jason Pierre-Paul (illness), CB Corey Webster (groin), RB David Wilson (neck).
Jim McBride can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org