The most disgusting Neckbeard in the history of neckbeards and the Clots have travelled south from the land of corn and whatever Irsay's on to take on Tony Romo and the Cowpokes in the land of big hair, big oil, and big traffic. As much as most Texans fans loathe and despise Cowboys fans, I have to think a division rivalry means more than some team we face every four years, and that we're all going to be Cowboys fans for three hours.
Despite having a team full of stiffs, Ryan Grigson was fortunate enough to draft Luck in 2012. His franchise QB is not elite, but he covers a multitude of sins that exist throughout that roster. Most of us can recall Jim Irsay's foaming at the mouth over Trent Richardson, only to watch him continue to disappoint. Most of us recall the Hill/Fleener debate, only to watch the rise of (Texans killer) T.Y. Hilton, to go along with a quietly fading Reggie Wayne, Donte Moncrief, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Hakeem Nicks. The Clots are missing their best defender, Robert Mathis, due to a season-ending ACL injury suffered while being suspended for PEDs, but their D has still been able to keep the team in games long enough to cover up when Luck struggles.
Several years ago, Stephen Jones began to get through to his father, notorious egomaniac Jerry, and to focus on building an OL that won't get a QB slaughtered. The drafting of players like Travis Frederick (On Wisconsin!), Zach Martin, and Tyron Smith, work together to protect Romo and block for DeMarco Murray, and assets like Jason Witten and Dez Bryant, to perform at a high level. While Dallas doesn't have many household names on its defense, having released DeMarcus Ware this past offseason due to a fascination with cap mismanagement, Rolando McClain, Henry Melton, Anthony Spencer, and Brandon Carr, among others, do enough to let Romo carry them to victory.
Both Indy and Dallas are leading their respective divisions at 10-4. While the Clots have already wrapped up their division and have nothing to fear in terms of us stealing their spot, Dallas will be eyeing Philly and expecting to roll over Washington next week. Jim Nantz and Phil Simms have the game on CBS, visible to all except the Oakland and Buffalo markets.
The Bills sit at 8-6, second in the AFC East behind the perennial juggernaut Patriots, but 9th in standings for the AFC playoffs. They entered the season with second-year QB E.J. Manuel under center, but jettisoned him for Kyle Orton (who basically forced Jerruh to release him by refusing to retire and refusing to report) early on. Doug Marrone's guys have suffered through a number of injuries, having lost Bacarri Rambo, Kiko Alonso, C.J. Spiller, and Fred Jackson at times during the season. Rookie Cyrus Kouandjio has struggled mightily this season, but so have Seantrel Henderson, Erik Pears, and Cyril Richardson along the OL. Despite this, Sammy Watkins is playing out of his mind, and the Bills' D, led by Mario Williams, Jerry Hughes, Marcell Dareus, and Kyle Williams, managed to shut down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers last week, so the Raiders shouldn't prove too challenging.
The Raiders traded for Matt Schaub (still the most successful QB in our franchise's history) but decided on starting Derek Carr instead. This is a roster full of holes, and their record (2-12) reflects that. However, it appears GM Reggie McKenzie did well in drafting Khalil Mack, and firing Dennis Allen to hire Tony Sparano as interim HC. Even so, rumors abound that Marc Davis is getting impatient and is ready to get rid of his GM and Sparano in the offseason, possibly to make a run at Jim Harbaugh. Raider Nation can still boast players like Charles Woodson, Antonio "Ninja" Smith, Latavius Murray, Justin Tuck, Sebastian Janikowski, and Maurice Jones-Drew. This is an assembly of talented players, quite a few past their prime, and others still learning and growing. Even the most devoted Raider fanatic must have entered the season expecting a struggle, but this team has shown some fight and both of their wins come against teams who were expected to contend for the playoffs (Chiefs and 49ers).
This might prove to be a trap game for the Bills, especially since they're traveling cross country to face a team playing for nothing but pride. Brian Anderson and Chris Simms will be calling the game on CBS, visible in northern California and western New York.
Eli Manning has spent the past few seasons proving that he's anything but elite, and the Giants enter this game thankful for Washington keeping them out of the NFC East basement, but that doesn't mean Odell Beckham Jr. won't be aiming to produce another highlight reel catch for the ages against the vaunted Rams' defense. Tom Coughlin has led Big Blue to two Super Bowl victories, against the Hoodie, of all coaches, but his teams are feast or famine affairs, and they've failed to replace that amazing defense, and been decimated by injuries for the past few seasons. They have 20 guys on IR right now, including key pieces like Victor Cruz, Prince Amukamura, Robert Ayers, Jon Beason, Mathias Kiwanuka, and David Wilson all down for the season. While there are still some big-name players left, like Jason Pierre-Paul and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, it hasn't been enough, and the Giants sit at 5-9.
Unfortunately for the Giants, Jeff Fisher has his team finally gelling, and playing well. They shut out Oakland and Washington in back-to-back games, before losing a battle of field goals with Arizona on a short week. After ten days of rest, Shaun Hill, Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt, and Jared Cook will be hoping to feast on the Giants' once-feared defense, while their own defense, boasting Robert Quinn, Aaron Donald, Janoris Jenkins, James Laurinaitis, and Alec Ogletree, should be able to limit Eli's effectiveness.
The game will be called by Thom Brennamen and former Giant David Diehl on Fox, available in Houston, New England, Missouri, Chattanooga, western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, Baltimore, and most of New York. Otherwise, tune in to NFL Sunday Ticket.