So yeah, I think the sentiment's been expressed that it just doesn't feel like Sunday unless the Bears are playing. (Sue us, this season's given us plenty of opportunities to express it.) But so be it, I guess when you're lining up against the 49ers on a nationally televised broadcast, you can live with it (except for the whole Jay Cutler not playing thing). From a football perspective, of course.
Either way, for the games that are in action today, here's your TV maps and a snippet about each game going on. Because I care.
Cleveland Browns @ Dallas Cowboys, CBS, 1 ET/ Noon CT: I'm trying to come up with something witty for this one. Nothing's coming. But it involves the Cowboys and the Browns. DeMarco Murray is doubtful for the remainder of the year, meaning Felix Jones is in.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Kansas City Chiefs, CBS, 1 ET/ Noon CT: Man, the Bengals. I don't know what I missed when I grabbed them in the third round (out of four) in our Friends and Family Team Draft, but I wish the other seven people in the room would have clued me in. But I'll take the bye week, I guess. Man, them Chiefs. Matt Cassel comes back to start again as Brady Quinn is out with a concussion.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans, CBS, 1 ET/ Noon CT: The Texans beat the Bears 13-6. Their goal on the Jaguars? Beat the Bears' 41 points. Blaine Gabbert's back in for Jacksonville, and Ben Tate might be returning from a hamstring problem - Shaun Cody and Owen Daniels could also return.
Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots, CBS, 4:25 ET / 3:25 CT: Brady and Manning square off again for the onehundredmillionth time and... wait, it's not Manning in Indy? Andrew Luck? ... Oh. Well, either way, this is the week the Colts' 6-3 record comes crashing down. In ESPN's desperation for a narrative, I present to you this. Wes Welker's in, Deion Brach is cut, Aaron Hernandez is still out, and Aqib Talib will probably debut for the Pats this week.
San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos, CBS, 4:25 ET / 3:25 CT: So Peyton Manning's new team holds the AFC West lead by two games over these Chargers. If San Diego wins, the AFC West's status as the new NFC West is certain. Ryan Mathews is questionable.
Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions, FOX, 1 PM ET / Noon CT: Not sure who I'd rather win this - the Lions, or the meteor. Either way. Clay Matthews is out, Charles Woodson is still out, and Bryan Bulaga hit injured reserve, but Jordy Nelson might play. Also, Calvin Johnson might be back from his injury of "playing badly."
Arizona Cardinals @ Atlanta Falcons, FOX, 1 PM ET / Noon CT: Atlanta is vulnerable because they are no longer undefeated! Go Cardinals and thanks Atlanta for keeping the #1 seed warm! ... (Yeah, I doubt it.) Nate Potter gets a start for D'Anthony Batiste on that craptacular Arizona offensive line. He's a rookie. And John Skelton is starting at quarterback.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins, FOX, 1 PM ET / Noon CT: The compelling battle for the NFC East! ... By which I mean their basement. Of course when two mobile quarterbacks meet, it's "Michael Vick meets a guy trying to play like he did - only they're both the best things ever!" But of course there's the whole "Vick can't play with a concussion" thing and ESPN has to feel stupid. Either way, Nick Foles is in and, well, I can't say that I disliked what I saw of him.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers, FOX, 1 PM ET / Noon CT: The Bucs are trying to take on the entire NFC North for a wild card spot. The Panthers are taking on the entire AFC for the number one pick. Josh Freeman's been hot lately, while on the Panthers' side, the recently signed Jeremy Bridges might start in place of Jeff Byers at guard - Ron Rivera referred to Byers as "exposed" by the Broncos. Oh, my.
New Orleans Saints @ Oakland Raiders, FOX, 4:25 PM ET / 3:25 PM CT: This is part of FOX's singleheader, which means few people get to watch it. I can't really blame them. The Saints have somewhat pulled themselves back and the Raiders are, well... Yeah. Darren Sproles is out for a third week with a broken hand and Chris Ivory plays in his stead. Darren McFadden's got a sprained ankle which could keep him out.
Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers, NBC SNF, 8:20 PM ET / 7:20 PM CT: The AFC North gets the prime-time matchup, which is one of only three games this week, kid you not, between teams with winning records (NE/IND, CHI/SF). Good thing the Bears are so disrespected that they don't get one of the two primetime matchups on Sunday or Monday. It could be worse though. We could be playing Byron Leftwich.
Either way, here's your pre-party thread. The games begin with the Early Thread at noon and the late/SNF threat at 3:15 or so, and a recap of the day once Sunday Night Football concludes. And if anything big happens, we'll be sure to let you know.