Everything you need to know as kickoff approaches...
Key game-time decisions
All players questionable unless noted
Peterson and Gerhart are both expected to miss Sunday's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday. Peterson is expected to lobby to play prior to the game (we would expect nothing less), but teammates were told Saturday night that the star running back is likely out. Based on the depth chart, Matt Asiata would get the start in his stead and Joe Banyard, signed from the practice squad Saturday, would be the backup.
Palmer is expected to play, as he did last week. Floyd missed Wednesday's practice but returned to limited action Thursday and Friday.
Kiko Alonso asked coaches to label him as questionable to give Jacksonville fans hope they will gain one yard Sunday. #LegendofKiko. All joking aside, Alonso was limited all week.
Moore was limited all week.
Thompkins and Dobson were both downgraded to out.
The playoff picture
How would your team's prospects look if the season ended today? See where each team stands in the playoff picture midway through the season. More ...
Austin missed all week and was seen in a walking boot Friday. He is expected to miss Sunday's game, Rapoport reported.
Cromartie returned to practice Thursday and Friday, albeit in a limited capacity. He will need to pass the concussion protocol prior to the game.
Manningham was limited all week.
We don't expect either Falcon to miss the game, and Rapoport reported Sunday that White is expected to be a go against the Redskins.
Three QBs to Watch
We've reached the point of the season where most players have shown their true colors. This week we'll focus on three players who need banner games with playoff positioning on the line.
Dalton snapped out of his funk last week, but will need a similar effort as the Bengals sit on the cusp of locking up the AFC North. The Bengals signal-caller faces a withering Pittsburgh Steelers defense. We need to see a killer instinct Dalton hasn't proven capable of conjuring during his NFL career.
The Dolphins have a chance to make a playoff push against a Patriots defense that is faltering thanks to a plethora of injuries. Tannehill played well last week in the snow, guiding Miami on key drives. However, on average he's been up and down the entire season. The second-year quarterback needs an up performance to keep the Dolphins swimming toward a playoff spot.
More snow this week, but we also could get some rain in our three Florida games.
Did you know?
»Nick Foles has three of the top six highest passer ratings to individual receivers in the league. The Foles-DeSean Jackson combo leads the way with NFL's highest passer rating (151.8); Foles to Riley Cooper is the fifth-highest passer rating duo (145.5); and Foles to Brent Celek is the NFL's sixth highest (139.1) -- second-best among tight ends.
»2013 marks the second season in franchise history the Bears have had one 1,000-yard rusher and two 1,000-yard receivers in running back Matt Forte and the wide receiver duo of Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall. The original Chicago trio? running back Rashaan Salaam and wide receivers Jeff Graham and Curtis Conway in 1995.
»In what seems to be a statistical oddity, Chris Johnson has rushed for 177 yards in the fourth quarter in six games on the road, but has only six rushing yards in the fourth quarter in six games at home.
Quite possibly the most intriguing matchup of the day. Josh Gordon and Alshon Jeffery -- undoubtedly two of the best young receivers in the NFL -- will be featured. The dynamic has the potential for producing big plays in droves. The Browns boast the best corner on the field in Joe Haden, who will see time on Jeffery or help shut down Brandon Marshall -- allowing extra coverage to roll toward Alshon.
If Andrew Luck is going to keep his streak of never losing back-to-back games alive he'll need young receiver Da'Rick Rogers to perform at the same level he did last week. As Chris Wesseling said on Friday's "Around The League Podcast," Rogers has the potential to help loosen up coverage on T.Y. Hilton.
Jordan Todman will get the ball with Maurice Jones-Drew still ailing. The Jags' winning streak, however, is likely to fall on the arm of Chad Henne. The veteran quarterback often looks like a baseball relief pitcher: He can give you two solid innings, but asking more than that is fiddling with fate. Henne will need to cut out the long stretches of stench-play, especially if Cecil Shorts is out.
Did you know that Week 14 at Pittsburgh was the first game this season that the Dolphins scored 28-plus points? Ryan Tannehill and associates will face a ravaged, ruined, wrecked, demolished, devastated, devoured Patriots defense and could make it back-to-back weeks over the 28-point line after being the last team to reach the plateau.
At this point -- aside from keeping track of the alien known as Adrian Peterson -- the most entertaining aspect of the Vikings team is Cordarrelle Patterson. The rookie is a big play waiting to happen every time he touches the ball. The football world should all be hoping the Vikings' coaching staff gives the receiver an overabundance of opportunities for the duration of the season.
Remember back when Russell Wilson was running for his life? He's not so much anymore. The Seahawks signal-caller has been sacked one or fewer times in four of the last five games -- the fifth game was last week in San Francisco when he was nabbed just twice. Meanwhile, the Giants' defense has four-plus sacks in four of their last six games. Something has to give.
Get ready for a run-heavy game as the 49ers and Bucs are the two teams with the fewest passing yards per game in the NFL. The 49ers rank last in the league at 178.3 passing yards per game, while the Bucs are right behind them at 180.8 passing yards per game. Given the defenses we should see a lot of Frank Gore and Bobby Rainey.
The Raiders' mediocrity has permeated every phase of the team. Even Sebastian Janikowski is susceptible to the disease. The kicker is 18 for 26 on field-goal attempts this season. His FG percentage of 69.2 is his worst figure since 2005 and the lowest percentage in the NFL this season. This likely will have nothing to do with the matchup, but it's fun to talk kickers sometimes, no?
Ben Roethlisberger has been very solid even in the Steelers' recent losses. He hasn't thrown an interception in four games and the offense has been able to move the ball. Big Ben will need another outsized performance in prime time if the Steelers are to break the Bengals' two-game head-to-head winning streak.