Here's an overview of what I'll be looking for in today's games:
1.) Can the San Diego Chargers build some momentum by beating the Houston Texans for their second-straight win and begin their usual second-half turnaround?
Say what you want about San Diego head coach Norv Turner, but he usually gets his players to play hard and well down the stretch.
It doesn't seem to matter which passing options are available for Philip Rivers each week—he seems to make everyone around him better and no quarterback in NFL is playing better right now.
Rivers and the offense will go up against the 32nd-ranked defense in the NFL. The Texans simply don't cover well due in part to their weak pass rush.
Rivers, who is averaging over 331 yards per game, might not have TE Antonio Gates (foot, toe -questionable) for this game, and even if he plays, he could be limited. And he'll likely be without WRs Legedu Naanee (hamstring-doubtful) and Malcom Floyd (hamstring-doubtful) again.
If the Chargers can throw for over 300 yards against the much-maligned Texan secondary, they'll probably win because their No. 1 ranked defense should be able to keep them in the game.
2.) Can the Indianapolis Colts win on the road this week without so many key players?
The Colts will be without at least six significant contributors from both sides of the ball at the Philadelphia Eagles today. And a few others will be playing injured.
But when you have Peyton Manning behind center, you always have a chance to win no matter who is missing around him.
The Eagles' red-zone defense has struggled mightily this season, so it will be a challenge for them to keep Manning's remaining passing options out of the end zone.
There are two key matchups to keep an eye on this game.
LT Jason Peters (knee surgery-probable) returns from a two-game absence and will go up against DE Dwight Freeney. The Eagles don't believe in double-teams for their offensive linemen, so Peters will have to be at his best in this one-on-one matchup.
CB Ellis Hobbs (hip-out) will be replaced by backup Dimitri Patterson. He'll go up against veteran WR Reggie Wayne, who usually lines up on the left side.
Whoever consistently wins these battles will probably contribute largely to their team winning the game.
3.) How will the Minnesota Vikings approach going up against the Arizona Cardinals without Randy Moss?
If RB Adrian Peterson has less than 25 carries in this game it would be shocking. The foundation of their offense must start and stop with the fourth-year pro. And if WR Percy Harvin (ankle-questionable) can't play or is limited in the game, we could see Peterson carry the ball 30 times or more.
Without Moss and with a possibly limited Harvin, look for TE Visanthe Shiancoe to become more of a factor in the passing game. Why he hasn't been a big part of their passing game this season is a mystery.
4.) Can the Detroit Lions pull off the upset against the visiting New York Jets?
The Detroit defense is really coming on of late. Since their meltdown against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2, Detroit's defense has shown steady improvement, culminating in last week's six-sack performance from their defensive line against the visiting Washington Redskins. And their much-maligned secondary is improving each week.
But don't look away from their offense, which has as about as much talent at the skill positions as any NFC team.
To win against the Jets, who got shut out at home last week against the visiting Green Bay Packers, they will have to pressure QB Mark Sanchez and slow down their running game. New York's foundation on offense is the run. Last week, the Packers really controlled the run and made Sanchez throw the ball, something he hasn't done well of late.
If the Lions can keep the game close into the fourth quarter, it could come down to the battle of the second-year quarterbacks, Sanchez and Matthew Stafford.
5.) Are the Oakland Raiders for real?
It's a question that many have been wondering about of late.
But it's very simple with the Raiders. For them to be successful, they must run the ball a ton and run it well.
Oakland is leading the NFL in rushing with 1,348 yards over eight games. They're No. 2 in attempts per game with 34.4. If the Raiders have to come from behind in the second half of games, that means they're out of their comfort zone.
The game plan will be the same as it has been all season—get it in the hands of third-year RB Darren McFadden, who is averaging 5.5 yards on his 122 carries.
But the Raiders will likely have to play the division rival Kansas City Chiefs without two key starters—TE Zach Miller (foot-doubtful) and CB Nnamdi Asomugha (ankle-doubtful).
Oh, and by the way, the Chiefs are leading the NFL in rushing attempts per game at 36.6.
-- Adam Caplan