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2011 NFL Week 13 Primer

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees take the ball up the middle for 8 yards and a touchdown during second half action against the New York Giants at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome November 28, 2011. UPI/A.J. Sisco

Eagles @ Seahawks, 8:20PM ET, Thursday
Philadelphia is just the latest example of what usually happens to everyone’s preseason chic pick. Granted, there’s still time for the Eagles to turn things around and if they win out, there’s a chance they could sneak in the back door of the postseason. But I’m not so sure they’ll even win tonight against the Seahawks. Although they lost to Washington last Sunday, Seattle is usually tough to beat at home and the Eagles have been sleepwalking all year. That’s a very undisciplined, unfocused team that Andy Reid is running these days.

Raiders @ Dolphins, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
Just when positive things start to happen in Miami, Brandon Marshall finds himself in handcuffs. Apparently police in Broward County, Florida briefly detained the receiver after he was accused of fleeing a $142 cab fee around 5:00AM on November 14. The rest of the details are fantastic. The cab driver said that Marshall “didn’t know where he wanted to go” and “When I woke him up and told him he had to pay, he said he wasn’t and started arguing for me to take him home.” Get this, Marshall blamed the “misunderstanding” on the cab driver’s “accent,” although it sounds as if he wouldn’t have understood anyone given the condition he was in. How good of shape are you when you’re falling asleep in the back of cabs at 5:00AM?

Broncos @ Vikings, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
Von Miller underwent surgery on Tuesday to repair torn ligaments in his thumb and may not play on Sunday for the Broncos. That’s bad news for a Denver team that has had to rely on its defense and the one-quarter of magic from Tim Tebow every week. Miller is a runaway candidate for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and if he can’t go, the Broncos defense will be down one of its biggest playmakers (if not the biggest playmaker). Of course, if Adrian Peterson doesn’t suit up for Minnesota then Denver only really has to worry about Percy Harvin.

Falcons @ Texans, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
Don’t be surprised if T.J. Yates surprises this Sunday. First and foremost, he played in a pro-style offense under John Shoop and Butch Davis at North Carolina and Atlanta will be down two of its top three corners (Brent Grimes and Kelvin Hayden). Christopher Owens, who will start for Grimes (knee), was the poor lad that was repeatedly torched by Aaron Rodgers in the NFC Divisional Round last January and Dominique Franks (who will start at nickel in place of Hayden), has received very little PT the past two years.

Titans @ Bills, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
While I think the Texans can survive thanks to their running game and defense, this is the time for the Titans to take the governor off and amp things up. Tennessee has a legitimate shot of catching Houston in the AFC South because of T.J. Yates’ inexperience. But the Titans need to win, including this weekend against a struggling Buffalo team. The Bills are without Fred Jackson and Ryan Fitzpatrick is reeling right now. Tennessee has to take advantage.

Bengals @ Steelers, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
It’s put up or shut up time for the Bengals this weekend in Pittsburgh. If they can’t prove that they can beat the Steelers, then nobody is going to consider them legit contenders. On the flip side, if Andy Dalton and Co. pull off the upset then Cincinnati will very much remain in the thick of things in the AFC North. This game could provide a very clear picture of how the rest of the season will play out for the Bengals.

Panthers @ Bucs, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
What a complete role reversal for Tampa Bay. While the Saints and on a smaller scale, the Falcons, improved their rosters this offseason, the Bucs rested on their laurels outside of signing a punter (Michael Koenen). The Tampa front office, which has always been cheap anyway, figured it didn’t need to make any upgrades after the team won 10 games last year and now the Bucs are paying for it. They’re clearly overmatched and lack playmakers to compete with New Orleans and Atlanta in the division. If they lose at home to the upstart Panthers this Sunday, it’ll officially be the lowest point of the season for the Bucs.

Colts @ Patriots, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
There’s really not any point in breaking this game down, right? I mean, not even a little bit. The Colts haven’t played well all season and while a quarterback change may bring a little optimism to Indy’s locker room, the switch is Curtis Painter for Dan Orlovsky. That’s only about a droplet of optimism right there.

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New Bang! Cartoon: Perfect

Some view the Detroit Lions’ 0-16 season as imperfection at its finest. But not Bang! Cartoons. In their latest ‘toon, Bang! Cartoons take a look at the perfection that was the Detroit Lions’ 2008 Season.

If you liked the cartoon, make sure you check out Bang! Cartoon’s Radio Hour this week, where they tackle topics such as Stephen A. Smith, the dry humbling dance of Rey Mauluga on Erin Andrews and much more.

Kyle Orton suffers ankle injury in Bears win over Lions

Kyle OrtonChicago quarterback Kyle Orton was carted off the field at the end of the second quarter in the Bears’ 27-23 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Lions’ defensive end Dewayne White fell on Orton on a scramble and the signal caller’s ankle snapped back awkwardly on the play.

It’s uncertain at this point how long Orton will be out, but the replays didn’t look good. Rex Grossman took over in the second half and threw for 58 yards and a touchdown while also running for a score as well. He wasn’t overly impressive, but he did rally Chicago from a 10-point deficit and allowed them to avoid embarrassment in losing to a winless Detroit team.

If Orton is out for an extended period of time, it would be a huge blow to the Bears’ postseason hopes. Grossman is a liability every time he drops back to pass and while he has shown signs of being an NFL-caliber quarterback, he’s just way too inconsistent to be counted on to lead Chicago to the playoffs, especially with the amount of injuries this team has on defense.

Speaking of Detroit, if they’re looking for a positive, Dan Orlovsky did throw for almost 300 yards and two touchdowns. Of course he did it against a banged up Bears’ secondary and did throw two costly picks but hey, the Lions have to take good news where they can get it.

Kitna: Lions used injury to make change at quarterback

Jon Kitna is claiming that the Lions used his back injury in order to make a change at the quarterback position. Kitna was placed on IR on Tuesday.

Jon Kitna“Was there reasonable cause to put me on IR? Yeah, because they said there’s a bulging disk. But the reality is, most guys have bulging disks,” Kitna said in the interview.

“I really feel like I could have played last Sunday at probably above 90 percent health-wise,” he said in the interview. “I played the last two years most of the time probably 75 to 80 percent health-wise with different type of things.”

It’s hard to argue with the Lions for wanting to make a change, especially after they fired GM Matt Millen. They’re trying to figure out what they have on their roster and if either Dan Orlovsky or Drew Stanton can develop at quarterback. It sounds like Kitna understands that, but due to his competitive nature he understandably wants to play.

One had to imagine that Kitna would struggle this year without Mike Martz, which he has. His interceptions in the fourth quarter cost Detroit a chance to make a remarkable comeback against the Packers and that wasn’t the first time he has made terrible mistakes late in games. But he gave that team a true leader and made a lot of the players accountable for their actions. Eventually that’s what the Lions need in a quarterback, but unfortunately for Kitna it looks like his time in Detroit is over.

Lions to put Kitna on IR

It’s all right there in the title. The Lions have apparently decided that Jon Kitna’s season is over.

With no trades in the works, the Lions decided this morning to place quarterback Jon Kitna on injured reserve. The decision should be announced later today.

Kitna suffered a back injury in the first half of the Lions’ 34-7 loss to Chicago two weeks ago. He did not play last week against Minnesota and did not travel with the team.

Kitna, who has muscular damage in his lower back, finishes the season with 758 yards passing, five touchdowns and five interceptions. He never seemed to buy fully into new coordinator Jim Colletto’s offense, and, with one year left on his contract, may have played his last game as a Lion.

Kitna was always a fairly reliable fantasy option, but now that his season is finished, it looks like the beginning of the Dan Orlovsky era…for now. This has to be a slight downgrade for Calvin Johnson and a big downgrade for Roy Williams. Calvin played pretty well against the Vikings, and young QBs have a tendency to lock onto their favorite target and throw to him over and over, which means that Roy may be left out in the cold.

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