Key game-time decisions
All players questionable unless noted
Harrison: Week 12 Game Picks
It must be unsettling facing Peyton Manning when nearly your entire defensive backfield is designated as questionable.
Both players were limited in practice Thursday and Friday. Nicks sounds sure he will be ready to suit up.
Peterson will play. Jennings is optimistic to play, but the receiver sat out last week after the team believed he'd be good to go. Robison didn't practice all week.
Bell's injury appears to be trending upward. After sitting out Wednesday, he was limited Thursday and practiced fully Friday.
Ngata returned to practice on a limited basis Friday. Ngata felt ready to play on Saturday, NFL Media's Albert Breer reported Sunday morning, according to sources who have spoken with the defensive tackle.
The young receiver was limited in practice Friday.
Both defenders were limited Friday after missing last week's win.
We end -- as we have the past month -- by noting Royal again missed practice all week. He's played the previous three weeks despite not practicing.
Three Matchups To Watch
Last week, Smith matched up in an entertaining battle with Talib. This week, he'll go up against a scrappy Grimes. It will be entertaining to watch the 5-foot-10 Grimes go against the 5-foot-9 Smith. This is actually a better on-field matchup than last week. But can it live up to the extracurriculars? It's doubtful 89 can come up with a better postgame line than "Ice up, son."
Chris and Kyle are going to run smack into each other often Sunday. At some point, the brothers are going to get into it.
How do we know this?
Here is what Howie Long told NFL Media's Rich Eisen on a previous podcast about his sons getting into it:
"I've seen that movie, only it was at the kitchen table for a lot less money," Long said. "It's every night, Rich. My poor wife; male dogs, three male sons. It's a melee every day, it was for a lot of years. I've been questioned at the emergency room. A lot of people don't know this, but when you go to the emergency room a number of times within a calendar year, you get red-flagged. This is truth, the Long household has always been kind of a physically animated home."
You can check out every edition of "The Rich Eisen Podcast," including his most recent discussion with Twitter CEO Dick Costolo.
*It's getting cold outside, and we might see our first games with snow this week. It will be very chilly for the prime-time matchup. *
Did you know?
» NFL teams have combined to score 844 touchdowns -- the most ever through Week 11. That is 32 more than the previous high, 812 in 2002. Teams have combined for 7,581 points, the most through the same period. The previous high was last season with 7,368.
The Lions defense hasn't given up 100 rushing yards since Week 6, and hasn't allowed an individual rusher to break the century mark the entire 2013 season. In their last four games, the Lions have given up an average of 49.25 yards on the ground per game. We'll see what Week 11 sensationBobby Rainey does Sunday against Detroit's front seven.
The Vikings could be the panacea for what afflicted the Green Bay Packers during their first three-game losing skid since 2008. Scott Tolzien performed well and this week gets to face the team giving up the fourth-highest QB rating to opponents (100.4). When he gets in trouble, Tolzien can always pick on cornerback Josh Robinson, who is giving up an NFL-high 127.0 passer rating.
The Texans' top-ranked defense goes against the Jaguars and the league's lowest-scoring offense. This represents the best chance for Houston to get off the schnide. We also get a chance to see if Case Keenum and his vertical passing game can continue to get better. We should see if the young quarterback can improve on second-half adjustments.
Bruce Arians faces many of the former players he led as the Colts' interim coach last season. Needless to say, he knows the strengths and weaknesses of the defense he faces. Arians said this week that Carson Palmer has improved at running the Cardinals' offense. The stats prove that. Palmer has just two interceptions to his six touchdowns during the Cards' three-game winning streak.
My word, how great has Alterraun Verner been this season? When throwing at the cornerback, quarterbacks have had a passer rating of 23.0, the lowest mark in the NFL. The next closest is Darrelle Revis, who has a 45.8 passer rating. It would behoove Matt McGloin to look elsewhere when he drops back to pass.
Battista: Cool Hand Coughlin
Given the Giants' stellar rush defense and the Cowboys' aversion to handing the ball off, Jason Pierre-Paul should have plenty of opportunities to back up his talk during the week. If JPP can corral Tony Romo and help keep Dallas from converting big plays, the Giants will be back in the NFC East race.
Tom Brady's offense is rounding into form as the quarterback gets all his pieces healthy. He was spectacular last week against a great defense. He'll have to outmaneuver one of the fastest defensive fronts in the NFL on Sunday. It will be educational to watch how Brady counters the athleticism of the Broncos linebackers.
We can't mention Brady without talking Peyton Manning during this matchup. The front-runner for the MVP award demonstrated last week how surgical he can be against a great defense. He will face a banged-up Patriots group. As always, when Manning matches wits against Bill Belichick, it's must-see TV.