Sunday Countdown: Your weekly NFL guide
|Philadelphia @ Seattle||Seattle||Seattle||Seattle||Seattle|
|Carolina @ Tampa Bay||Tampa Bay||Carolina||Carolina||Carolina|
|Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh||Pittsburgh|
|Atlanta @ Houston||Atlanta||Atlanta||Houston||Atlanta|
|N.Y. Jets @ Washington||N.Y. Jets||N.Y. Jets||N.Y. Jets||N.Y. Jets|
|Indianapolis @ New England||New England||New England||New England||New England|
|Oakland @ Miami||Miami||Oakland||Oakland||Oakland|
|Denver @ Minnesota||Denver||Denver||Denver||Denver|
|Tennessee @ Buffalo||Tennessee||Tennessee||Tennessee||Buffalo|
|Kansas City @ Chicago||Chicago||Chicago||Chicago||Chicago|
|Baltimore @ Cleveland||Baltimore||Baltimore||Baltimore||Baltimore|
|Dallas @ Arizona||Dallas||Dallas||Dallas||Dallas|
|Green Bay @ N.Y. Giants||Green Bay||New York||Green Bay||Green Bay|
|St. Louis @ San Francisco||San Francisco||San Francisco||San Francisco||San Francisco|
|Detroit @ New Orleans||New Orleans||New Orleans||New Orleans||New Orleans|
|San Diego @ Jacksonville||San Diego||San Diego||San Diego||Jacksonville|
|Week 13 Record||12-4||11-5||13-3||10-6|
|More picks: Experts | SportsNation: Pick Week 13|
Will weather affect Packers? What stands between the undefeated Green Bay Packers and a return trip to the Super Bowl is seven games. All of them will likely be outdoors in cold-weather cities."The ball hurts," wide receiver Greg Jennings said about catching passes from strong-armed quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the cold. Tight end Jermichael Finley was more descriptive. "It's like a knife just cutting you," Finley explained. "It stings like a mother. You just have to suck it up and catch the ball."
Tebow gaining confidence: Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow admits his confidence is growing every day. When asked if he smiles when he sits back and thinks about the past several weeks, Tebow said, "I continually try to smile a lot." And why shouldn't he?
Riding a four-game win streak, Tebow said earlier this week leadership is something that has to be earned, and in talking to his teammates you get the clear sense he's accomplished that. Defensive end Elvis Dumervil told me, "Tebow's our guy, man, he's the team quarterback, we believe in him we, we rally around him."
That's high praise from a member of a defense that some say has been overshadowed by all of the attention surrounding Tebow. Veteran cornerback Champ Bailey said good-naturedly, "When you have No. 15 at quarterback, it's kind of hard to get any attention from him. He's the magnet for it."
Bailey added, "We're not asking for it, we can be unsung heroes all year if we have to be."
The Broncos' defense isn't exactly going unnoticed, though. In the past four games, it has given up an average of only 15 points. Combine that with rookie Von Miller and a now-healthy Dumervil posting 10 sacks between them in those four games, and it's hard not to be aware of what the defense has been doing.
The Broncos are hoping Miller, who had surgery on his right thumb earlier this week, will be able to go Sunday against the Vikings. The chemistry between Miller and Dumervil is evident.
Dumervil put it simply when he said, "We both have the same love for hitting quarterbacks." They're a 1-2 punch that gives Tebow and his teammates yet another reason to smile these days.-- Colleen Dominguez
Great efforts to more fully appreciate quarterback contributions should, in theory, reward Tim Tebow for leading the Denver Broncos to repeat victories despite weak passing stats. The opposite has been true. Tebow ranks 31st out of 35 qualifying players in Total QBR, the ESPN stat measuring how quarterbacks affect win probability across a wide array of categories. Brian Burke of Advanced NFL Stats, a founding father of such metrics, recently tried hard to find additional ways to appreciate Tebow's contributions, but it was an uphill fight.1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
Another week, another NFL passer rating above 110. Rodgers actually ranks behind Drew Brees and Tom Brady in expected points added through the passing game, but he outpaces both in contributions through rushing and opponent penalties. It's news whenever Rodgers throws an interception. He has one in his last five games. Rodgers plays his final five games outdoors in cold-weather cities, but he can produce across all climates, it appears. 2. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
What a spectacular performance against the New York Giants. The sensational passing has been there all season. The juke Brees used to free himself for that scrambling touchdown offset any style points lost through Brees' comical attempt at dunking the ball over the crossbar during his vertically challenged celebration. Brees is warming up and still has four indoor games remaining. Complete story | SN: Ranker
Watch 'Sunday Countdown'
• "Playoffs? Don't talk about Playoffs. Are you kidding me? Playoffs?" Ten years after this truly honest moment following a loss to the 49ers, the words of Jim Mora Sr. still resonate today. Greg Garber joins the Indianapolis media members present that day to revisit the moment.
• Haloti Ngata is one of the most feared defensive lineman in the NFL. He was so coveted coming out of Oregon, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis went into GM Ozzie Newsome's office to lobby for Baltimore to draft the 300-pounder. As Rachel Nichols reports, Ngata has endured two tragedies that no 27-year-old should face.
• After scoring a touchdown in Week 12 against the Jets, Stevie Johnson's touchdown celebration mocking Plaxico Burress' shooting incident earned him a $10,000 fine. His drop late in the game eventually cost Buffalo the win. Cris Carter has the story of the talented but controversial receiver.
• Over the course of the 2011 season, Titans rookie QB Jake Locker has had the chance to learn the ropes from veteran quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, an opportunity he treasures greatly. This week, Kenny Mayne catches up with Matt and Jake to talk about their unique bond and some of Matt's unorthodox teaching methods ... in the Mayne Event.• Follow all the happenings on "Sunday NFL Countdown" on Twitter here.
Chat Wrap with Matt Williamson
• Anthony (Queens, N.Y.): Mark Sanchez's throws are so inaccurate, either way overthrown, behind or in front of the receiver. These completely way-off throws seem like technique, which brings up the question, what is Matt Cavanaugh (QB coach) doing?
• Williamson: I hear ya. But in some ways, I think this coaching staff has done a fantastic job with Sanchez in that it has consistently won games -- with poor QB play -- by masking the play at the game's most important position.Complete chat transcript