Jim McBride’s takes a look at this weekend’s NFL games:
Buffalo at New Orleans
Time: 1 p.m. Line: Saints by 11.
Records: Bills 3-4 (5-2 vs. spread), Saints 5-1 (4-2 vs. spread).
Comments: Good news Patriots fans, Dan Dierdorf is calling this game . . . Bills haven’t played at the Superdome since a 45-33 victory in 1998 . . . Saints QB Drew Brees is 15-4 at home with 6,192 yards and 64 TDs since 2011 . . . Buffalo coach Doug Marrone was an assistant for Nawlins coach Sean Payton from 2006-08 . . . Saints TE Jimmy Graham has TD catch in four straight home games . . . Bills have an NFL-high 12 INTs . . . Saints DE Cameron Jordan has a sack in five consecutive contests . . . Bills averaging 140.4 yards rushing . . . Player to watch: Buffalo DE Super Mario Williams has 10 sacks for the fourth time in his career.
Key injuries: — BILLS: OUT: QB EJ Manuel (knee). DOUBTFUL: LB Manny Lawson (hamstring), RB C.J. Spiller (ankle). PROBABLE: RB Fred Jackson (knee), DT Kyle Williams (Achilles’). SAINTS: OUT: S Roman Harper (knee), CB Rod Sweeting (hip), DE Tyrunn Walker (knee). QUESTIONABLE: TE Jimmy Graham (foot), RB Mark Ingram (toe), DE Cameron Jordan (ankle), T Zach Strief (ankle). PROBABLE: S Malcolm Jenkins (back), WR Lance Moore (hand).
NY Jets at Cincinnati
Time: 1 p.m. Line: Bengals by 6.
Records: Jets 4-3 (5-2 vs. spread), Bengals 5-2 (4-2-1 vs. spread).
Comments: Jets lead the series, 15-7, and have won five straight vs. Bengals . . . Both clubs posted last-second field goal wins last week (too soon?) . . . Cincinnati shooting for first four-game home winning streak since 2009 . . . Bengals’ Giovani Bernard leads all rookies with 497 yards from scrimmage . . . Jets’ Stephen Hill is averaging 16.7 yards per reception . . . David Harris leads New York with 57 tackles (no shock there) . . . Cincy QB Andy Dalton has thrown for 300-plus yards, 3 TDs, and posted a 100-plus rating in each of last two games . . . Player to watch: Jets rookie QB Geno Smith has four winning drives in fourth quarter or OT (too soon again?).
Key injuries: JETS: OUT: WR Santonio Holmes (hamstring). QUESTIONABLE: C Nick Mangold (ribs), WR Greg Salas (knee). PROBABLE: S Antonio Allen (groin, finger), LB Nick Bellore (thumb), LB Quinton Coples (ankle), WR Josh Cribbs (knee), CB Antonio Cromartie (hip). BENGALS: OUT: CB Leon Hall (Achilles’), DT Devon Still (elbow). QUESTIONABLE: RB Rex Burkhead (calf). PROBABLE: DE Wallace Gilberry (knee), WR Marvin Jones (shoulder), LB Rey Maualuga (hamstring), CB Terence Newman (ankle).
Dallas at Detroit
Time: 1 p.m. Line: Lions by 3.
Records: Cowboys 4-3 (6-1 vs. spread), Lions 4-3 (4-3 vs. spread).
Comments: Does this matchup make anyone else crave a turkey dinner? . . . Game features best receiver in the game (Detroit’s Calvin Johnson) and the guy who thinks he is (Dallas’s Dez Bryant) . . . Since 2008, Johnson has an NFL-leading 7,572 yards and 56 TDs . . . Bryant has 92 catches and 16 TDs in last 15 games . . . Lions’ Reggie Bush, apparently unfazed by Kim’s recent engagement, is lone NFCer with 400-plus rushing yards and 300-plus receiving yards . . . Cowboys are 11-0 when DeMarco Murray gets at least 18 totes (there’s a hint, Coach Garrett) . . . Players to watch: Lions QB Matthew Stafford leads NFC with 2,129 yards; Cowboys’ Tony Romo is 119 in arrears.
Key injuries: COWBOYS: OUT: LB DeVonte Holloman (neck), S J.J. Wilcox (knee). DOUBTFUL: DE DeMarcus Ware (thigh). QUESTIONABLE: WR Miles Austin (hamstring), RB DeMarco Murray (knee). PROBABLE: WR Dez Bryant (hamstring/wrist). LIONS: OUT: WR Nate Burleson (forearm), T Corey Hilliard (knee). QUESTIONABLE: T Jason Fox (knee), T Riley Reiff (hamstring).
Cleveland at Kansas City
Time: 1 p.m. Line: Chiefs by 7½.
Records: Browns 3-4 (3-4 vs. spread), Chiefs 7-0 (5-2 vs. spread).
Comments: Cut us some slack, it wasn’t easy coming up with four key games this week. So, you get Browns-Chiefs . . . At least the Schwartz family is interested. Chiefs’ 6-6, 340-pound tackle Geoff Schwartz’s little brother brother, Mitchell, plays tackle for the Browns (and by little, we mean a mere 6-5, 320 pounds) . . . KC’s Jamaal Charles has at least 100 yards from scrimmage and a TD in each of first seven games. He’s the first to do that since (gulp) O.J. Simpson in 1975 . . . Thirteen Browns have recorded at least one sack . . . Browns will start Jason Campbell at QB . . . Player to watch: KC’s Alex Smith is first QB to win first seven starts with a new team since Dieter “Sprockets” Brock for Rams in 1985.
Key injuries: BROWNS: DOUBTFUL: LB Quentin Groves (ankle). QUESTIONABLE: DE Billy Winn (quadriceps). PROBABLE: RB Willis McGahee (knee). CHIEFS: QUESTIONABLE: WR Dwayne Bowe (groin), S Kendrick Lewis (ankle).
San Francisco vs. Jacksonville
Time: 1 p.m. Line: 49ers by 15.
Records: 49ers 5-2 (5-2 vs. spread), Jaguars 0-7 (1-6 vs. spread).
Comments: We hear nobody from either squad was invited to Prince George’s christening . . . Obligatory Frank Gore note: the 49er has 34 career 100-plus rushing games, including one at Wembley Stadium . . . San Fran’s Tramaine Brock has 3 INTs in his last three games . . . Jacksonville DT Sen’Derrick Marks has at least one sack in two of last three games . . . Player to watch: Jaguars QB Chad Henne (yes, he’s still in NFL) has thrown for at least 300 yards in two straight.
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). PROBABLE: G Alex Boone (shoulder), LB NaVorro Bowman (wrist), T Anthony Davis (shoulder), TE Vernon Davis (hamstring), RB Frank Gore (ankle), QB Colin Kaepernick (foot), S Donte Whitner (knee), WR Kyle Williams (knee), LB Patrick Willis (groin). JAGUARS: QUESTIONABLE: WR Stephen Williams (Achilles’). PROBABLE: LB Russell Allen (ribs), WR Justin Blackmon (hamstring), DE Andre Branch (knee), WR Stephen Burton (concussion), S Johnathan Cyprien (calf), QB Blaine Gabbert (hamstring), CB Dwayne Gratz (ankle), S Winston Guy (back), DT Sen’Derrick Marks (knee, ankle), DT Roy Miller (shoulder), DE Jeremy Mincey (concussion), WR Ace Sanders (concussion), WR Cecil Shorts (shoulder).
NY Giants at Philadelphia
Time: 1 p.m. Line: Eagles by 5½.
Records: Giants 1-6 (2-5 vs. spread), Eagles 3-4 (3-4 vs. spread).
Comments: Giants continue to run their two-Minutemen offense with WR Victor Cruz (he has 5 TDs in five game vs. Eagles) and RB Michael Cox (23 yards in debut last week) . . . Giants lead the all-time slate, 84-77-2, but Eagles have won 9 of last 11 . . . Philly has yet to allow a 100-yard rusher . . . Eagles’ Riley Cooper has 10 catches for 208 yards in last two games . . . Player to watch: Eli Manning is just 15 yards shy of overtaking Phil “Snowball” Simms for No. 1 on Big Blue career passing list (33,462).
Key injuries: GIANTS: OUT: RB David Wilson (neck). DOUBTFUL: CB Jayron Hosley (hamstring), RB Brandon Jacobs (hamstring), DT Shaun Rogers (knee). QUESTIONABLE: TE Adrien Robinson (foot), CB Corey Webster (groin). PROBABLE: LB Spencer Paysinger (ankle), S Cooper Taylor (shoulder), CB Terrell Thomas (knee). EAGLES: OUT: QB Nick Foles (concussion), LB Jake Knott (hamstring). QUESTIONABLE: S Patrick Chung (shoulder), DE Cedric Thornton (knee). PROBABLE: CB Bradley Fletcher (knee), P Donnie Jones (left foot), T Jason Peters (shoulder, finger), RB Chris Polk (shoulder), QB Michael Vick (hamstring).
Pittsburgh at Oakland
Time: 4:05 p.m. Line: Steelers by 2½.
Records: Steelers 2-4 (2-4 vs. spread), Raiders 2-4 (4-2 vs. spread).
Comments: Oakland’s Denarius Moore has 20 catches for 356 yards and 3 TDs in last four games . . . Steelers rookie Le’Veon Bell rushed for career-high 93 yards last week . . . Pittsburgh has forced a league-low 2 turnovers and ranks 31st with just 8 sacks . . . Pittsburgh has won 9 of last 10 games in October . . . Raiders averaging 129.2 rushing yards (third best in AFC) . . . Player to watch: Oakland’s Terrelle Pryor is 2-0 with 347 passing yards, 2 TDs, and zero INTs in two home starts.
Key injuries: STEELERS: OUT: TE Richard Gordon (toe), WR Markus Wheaton (finger). PROBABLE: G Kelvin Beachum (ribs), WR Jerricho Cotchery (abdomen), G Ramon Foster (thumb), T Marcus Gilbert (quadriceps), DE Cameron Heyward (illness), LB Jarvis Jones (concussion), DE Brett Keisel (ribs), TE Heath Miller (not injury related), LB Lawrence Timmons (hand), LB LaMarr Woodley (knee). RAIDERS: OUT: S Tyvon Branch (ankle). DOUBTFUL: C Andre Gurode (quadriceps), T Tony Pashos (hip), T Menelik Watson (calf). QUESTIONABLE: LB Kaluka Maiava (hamstring). PROBABLE: CB Tracy Porter (shoulder), C Stefen Wisniewski (knee).
Atlanta at Arizona
Time: 4:25 p.m. Line: Cardinals by 2½.
Records: Falcons 2-4 (2-4 vs. spread), Cardinals 3-4 (4-3 vs. spread).
Comments: Cardinals’ John Abraham collected 68½ sacks over the last eight seasons playing for Falcons . . . Atlanta’s Matty “Ice” Ryan was white-hot last week, completing 20 of 26 tosses for 3 TDs and a career-high 148.4 passer rating . . . Cardinals’ Carson Palmer has thrown for 1,031 yards and 6 TDs in three career starts vs. Atlanta . . . Falcons’ Steven Jackson leads active NFLers with 10,215 rushing yards . . . Player to watch: Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald needs 4 catches to become youngest with 800 (30 years, 57 days).
Key injuries: FALCONS: OUT: LB Stephen Nicholas (thigh), RB Jason Snelling (ankle), WR Roddy White (hamstring/ankle). QUESTIONABLE: T Sam Baker (knee), LB Akeem Dent (ankle). PROBABLE: CB Robert Alford (ankle), TE Chase Coffman (knee), RB Steven Jackson (hamstring), DT Corey Peters (shoulder). CARDINALS: DOUBTFUL: RB Rashard Mendenhall (toe). QUESTIONABLE: G Daryn Colledge (back), WR Brittan Golden (hamstring), DE Frostee Rucker (calf), LB Matt Shaughnessy (knee), G Earl Watford (knee). PROBABLE: WR Jaron Brown (ankle), LB Karlos Dansby (quadriceps), K Jay Feely (right quadriceps), WR Larry Fitzgerald (hamstring), RB Alfonso Smith (hamstring), DT Alameda Ta’amu (hip), DE Ronald Talley (wrist).
Washington at Denver
Time: 4:25 p.m., Fox Line: Broncos by 12.
Records: Redskins 2-4 (2-4 vs. spread), Broncos 6-1 (3-4 vs. spread).
Comments: Coach Mike Shanahan returns to Denver for first game since 2009 firing. He led the Orange Crush to a pair of Super Bowl titles in 14 seasons . . . Broncos have scored league-record 248 points through seven games . . . Redskins’ Pierre Garcon has at least five catches in every game this season . . . Washington is 8-2 when Robert Griffin III posts a 100-plus passer rating . . . Player to watch: Denver LB Danny Trevathan has team-high 48 tackles and 3 INTs.
Key injuries: REDSKINS: QUESTIONABLE: DE Stephen Bowen (knee), S Reed Doughty (concussion), WR Leonard Hankerson (foot), NT Chris Neild (calf). PROBABLE: C Will Montgomery (knee), TE Logan Paulsen (knee), TE Jordan Reed (hip). BRONCOS: OUT: CB Champ Bailey (foot). QUESTIONABLE: T Orlando Franklin (ankle), G Chris Kuper (ankle). PROBABLE: DE Robert Ayers (shoulder), WR Eric Decker (toe), TE Joel Dreessen (knee), QB Peyton Manning (ankle), DE Shaun Phillips (hamstring), DT Mitch Unrein (groin), WR Wes Welker (ankle), LB Wesley Woodyard (neck).
Green Bay at Minnesota
Time: 8:30 p.m., NBC Line: Packers by 9.
Records: Packers 4-2 (3-3 vs. spread), Vikings 1-5 (2-4 vs. spread).
Comments: Vikings’ Adrian Peterson has rushed for at least one TD in 9 of the last 10 games vs. Packers . . . Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers has won 6 of last 7 vs. Minnesota with 2,106 yards and 19 TDs . . . Cheesehead RB Eddie Lacy leads NFL rooks with 352 rushing yards . . . Minny WR Greg Jennings collected 425 receptions for 6,537 yards in seven seasons in Green Bay . . . Player to watch: Packers LB A.J. Hawk has 22 tackles and 3 sacks in his last two games.
Key injuries: PACKERS: OUT: TE Jermichael Finley (neck), LB Clay Matthews (thumb), TE Ryan Taylor (knee). DOUBTFUL: WR James Jones (knee). QUESTIONABLE: LB Brad Jones (hamstring), LB Nick Perry (foot). PROBABLE: CB Jarrett Bush (hamstring), CB Casey Hayward (hamstring), S Jerron McMillian (not injury related), RB James Starks (knee). VIKINGS: OUT: RB Matt Asiata (shoulder), TE Rhett Ellison (ankle), QB Josh Freeman (concussion), WR Rodney Smith (hip). QUESTIONABLE: DT Fred Evans (knee), S Jamarca Sanford (ankle). PROBABLE: DE Jared Allen (ankle), DT Sharrif Floyd (back), LB Chad Greenway (wrist), CB A.J. Jefferson (ankle), T Matt Kalil (low back), RB Adrian Peterson (hamstring), K Blair Walsh (left hamstring), DT Kevin Williams (knee).
Seattle at St. Louis
Time: Monday, 8:40 p.m., ESPN Line: Seahawks by 11½.
Records: Seahawks 6-1 (5-2 vs. spread), Rams 3-4 (2-5 vs. spread).
Comments: Kellen Clemens gets the start at QB for the Rams (now you know why they called Brett Favre) . . . Seahawks’ 6-1 start is best in franchise history . . . Seattle has forced at least two turnovers in all seven games . . . St. Louis DE Robert Quinn has an NFC-high 7 sacks . . . Rams TE Jared Cook has a team-high 344 receiving yards . . . St. Louis rookie Zac Stacy has rushed for 210 yards in last two games . . . Player to watch: Seattle QB Russell Wilson has won five straight vs. NFC West, throwing for 10 TDs with a 113.7 passer rating.
Key injuries: SEAHAWKS: DNP: RB Derrick Coleman (hamstring), T Breno Giacomini (knee), S Jeron Johnson (hamstring), RB Christine Michael (illness), WR Golden Tate (shoulder). FULL: LB Bobby Wagner (ankle). RAMS: DNP: RB Benny Cunningham (ankle). LIMITED: CB Cortland Finnegan (thigh).
Jim McBride can be reached at email@example.com