Everything you need to know as kickoff approaches...
Key game-time decisions
All players questionable unless noted
Tom Terrific popped up on the injury report Friday, but NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that Brady will play. Apparently the Pats like to see how many heart attacks they can cause in Metropolitan Boston.
Reggie says he's a game-time decision, but he hasn't practiced all week. Given that lateral movement is the running back's biggest asset, if he tries to play on a bum ankle, then we don't expect a whole lot out of him. Sitting Bush might be the prudent move for Detroit. UPDATE: Rapoport reported Sunday morning that the Lions do not plan to have Bush available against the Vikings, but the back will try to test out his ankle pregame.
All three Panthers were limited on Friday. Johnson and Stewart also practiced Thursday on a limited basis.
Green was in a walking boot Friday and is "day-to-day," but he's expected miss this week.
The quarterback is listed as questionable, but he's another one who isn't expected to play. Clipboard Jesus looks to toss the pigskin against the NFL's worst pass defense this week.
Hester returned limited on Friday after picking up DNPs on Wednesday and Thursday. Surely the receiver wants to face his former team.
The wideout was limited all week
Brooks: Must-see matchups
What are the most intriguing Week 6 battles in games across the NFL? Bucky Brooks provides his scouting eye. READ
All three were limited on Friday.
Davis practiced on a limited basis all week and appeared on pace to play, but the tight end says he's unsure if he'll go.
*After two weeks of good weather, we are greeted with some fall conditions. A few games could be impacted by storms and high winds. *
Panthers at Bengals -- 61 degrees / Chance of rain late in the game (26 percent)
Packers at Dolphins -- 87 degrees / Chance of rain (23 percent)
Lions at Vikings -- 56 degrees / Chance of strong winds (13-16 mph)
Jaguars at Titans -- 72 degrees / Thunderstorms (70 percent)
*Forecasts courtesy of Weather Underground
Three matchups to watch
With Jerry Jones declaring the Cowboys have no intention of ignoring Sherman's side of the field, we could see the duo match up several times on Sunday. The cornerback's length will make it difficult on Bryant in 50-50 balls, where the wideout usually dominates smaller defenders. Bryant has shown a proclivity for making big catches but will have his hands full with one of the NFL's premier shutdown cornerbacks. The Cowboys must be able to take advantage of the few times Sherman gives an inch to have a chance against one of the league's stingiest defenses.
Bill Belichick finally took the embargo off Revis Island last week and the Pro Bowl CB was able to slow A.J. Green. The Billsexpect Revis to shadow Watkins, at least in part, Sunday. The rookie has displayed an ability to make tough catches and can get open in space. He'll stay busy handling veteran cornerback. However, Kyle Orton, in his one game, showed he isn't afraid off allowing the dynamic receiver to make plays in contested coverage. If Watkins can beat Revis and stretch the field, it will make it worlds easier on Orton and the rest of the Bills' offense to put up more than 17 points this week.
Sans A.J. Green and several other passing weapons, we anticipate that Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson will utilize Bernard even more this week on the ground and in the passing game. Last week the Panthers were gashed on screens. That is until Kuechly began his show of force. If Bernard is allowed to get loose it on the second level, it could be a long day for the Panthers' defense. However, if Kuechly neutralizes Bernard, the Bengals might be out of weapons for Andy Dalton.
Did You Know?
There are 20 teams with a .500 or better record.
Twenty-four teams (75 percent) are in or within one game of first place in their respective divisions, the most through Week 5 since realignment in 2002.
Teams have combined for 248 touchdown passes through Week 5, the most TD passes through the first five weeks of any season in NFL history (2013, 247; 2011, 241; 2012, 234; 2002, 226; 1985, 217).
Through Week 5, tight ends have combined for 752 receptions, 8,194 receiving yards and 72 touchdown catches, all of which are on pace to be the highest combined totals for the position of any season in NFL history.
Ben Roethlisberger's 18-1 record against the Browns translates to the highest winning percentage (.947) of any starting quarterback against a single opponent since 1950 (min. 15 starts). Roger Staubach is next on the list, with a 16-1 record (.941) versus the Giants. Next comes Tom Brady, who is 22-2 (.917) against the Bills. With Roethlisberger and Brady taking on their respective opponents this weekend, we will see two of the top-three most dominant quarterbacks against a single opponent since 1950.
The Browns have scored between 21 and 29 points in all four games. The last time the Browns scored 21-plus points in each of their first four games was in 1969 (first seven games), which was led by starting QB Bill Nelsen & RB Leroy Kelly and went 10-3-1 before losing to Minnesota in the NFL Championship game.
The Dolphins have not played a game decided by fewer than 13 points -- one of three teams that has yet to play a game decided by eight or fewer (MIA, MIN, NYG).
Lions kickers are four of 12 this season (33.3%), and are the only team making less than half their attempts. In the last 25 seasons, no team has ever made fewer than 50 percent of their attempts. Only four teams have missed more field goals through Week 5 since 1970: the 1973 Redskins (10), 1972 Colts (10), 1970 Saints (nine), 1970 Jets (nine). Of those four teams, only the 1973 Redskins advanced to the playoffs. The other three teams combined for 11 wins. (There is a reason the team cheered Matt Praterin a meeting this week.)
Manning is 1-2 against the Jets under Ryan, which is his tied for his fourth-worst winning percentage versus any head coach (min. three games, including playoffs). Manning is 1-5 against Pete Carroll, 1-3 against Jimmy Johnson and 2-5 against Dave Wannstedt. Manning is also 1-2 against Bill Cowher and Steve Mariucci.
All 12 of the Ravens' touchdown drives have been 65-plus yards in 2014. Eleven of those 12 drives have been 80-plus yards.
Steve Smith Sr. likes to play the Bucs. He has seven 100-yard receiving games versus Tampa, his most against any single opponent. (Career vs. Bucs: 98 receptions, 1,404 yards, six TDs -- 22 games).
Good news for Bishop Sankey: The Jags are allowing 100-plus rushing yards in four of five games this season.
Jaguars rookie Allen Hurns has 16 receptions, 280 yards and three touchdowns this season. The franchise rookie record for receiving TDs is five, accomplished by Justin Blackmon in 2012 and Matt Jones in 2005. Jacksonville had only one player finish 2013 with more than three receiving TDs -- Marcedes Lewis (four).
Philip Rivers has four straight games with passer rating above 120.0, an NFL record with minimum 20 pass attempts per game. The quarterback has gone 25 straight games with at least one passing touchdown and four with a completion percentage above 70.
Antone Smith has six career touchdowns (four rushing, two receiving), all of which are 38-plus yards. Since 1940, only two other NFL players' shortest TDs -- among their first six career offensive TDs -- is greater than 38 yards: Bob Trumpy, whose shortest among his first six was 45 yards; and Mel Gray, whose shortest, among his first six TDs was 40 yards.
How's this for stats that don't tell the whole story: Jay Cutler is averaging 200.5 passing yards per game in the Bears' two wins this season and 298.0 YPG in the three losses. Meanwhile, Matt Forte is averaging 27 yards rushing per game (2.16 yards per rush) in those two wins and 88.33 yards per game in the three losses (4.65 yards per rush). Moral of the story, friends: Just don't turn the ball over, Jay.
The Cowboys have had two straight games with 445-plus yards of total offense. It's the team's first time with 445-plus yards in consecutive games since Weeks 12-13, 1998. Dallas has never had three straight games of 445-plus yards. (Who's betting that ends in Seattle?)
The Giants' defense has been sturdy since Week 1. New York has won 11 straight games when allowing 20 points or fewer (3-0 this season) and have 10 takeaways in their last three games. Big Blue has held opponents to 15.2 percent on third-down conversions in the past three games (best in NFL).
According to Pro Football Focus, Nick Foles ranks 33rd out of 35 QBs in accuracy percentage with a minimum of 50 attempts (66.3 percent). Only Chad Henne (66.2) and Drew Stanton (61.7) are behind Foles. Last season, Foles ranked 10th with 74.2 percent. Also according to PFF, Jeremy Maclin has been targeted 55 times, but only 25 of those were catchable. Maclin caught all 25.
The St. Louis defense is allowing 192.3 passing yards per game (best in NFL).
Kaepernick has thrown for more than 200 yards in each game this year.
San Francisco is third in the NFL with 145.0 rushing yards per game.
St. Louis is allowing 152.5 rushing yards per game (T-29th in NFL).
San Francisco's defense has not allowed a 300-yard passer in five straight games.