Dallas Cowboys (3-8) at Indianapolis Colts (6-5)
— Dallas could be very thin at linebacker for this contest. Bradie James, who continues to nurse a sore knee, missed practice on Wednesday, although the club chalked it up to “precautionary reasons.” He’s likely to suit up against the Colts, but could be on a limited snap count to prevent further damage to the knee. Keith Brooking also missed practice Wednesday (sprained foot) but feels as though he’ll be good to go. Whether or not coach Jason Garrett agrees is another matter, though — eventually, this lost season should be used as an opportunity to look at some younger players. Brooking, 35, isn’t one of them.
— Keep an eye on what the Cowboys do at running back on Sunday. Marion Barber is hobbled with a calf strain but nominal starter Felix Jones hasn’t been able to capitalize on the opportunity. Look for third-stringer Tashard Choice to step in and contribute in a variety of situations, notably around the goal line.
— Injuries, injuries and more injuries. It’s been the story of Indy’s season thus far. RB Joseph Addai (neck) saw limited work on Wednesday and seems unlikely to play on Sunday. Same thing with WR Austin Collie (concussion) — he’s still suffering from concussion-related symptoms during the Colts’ Nov. 21 game at New England. Collie was initially hurt against Philadelphia on Nov. 7. Backup TE Brody Eldridge (rib) was also limited in practice this week.
— A bright spot for the Colts is red-zone efficiency. Indianapolis has scored on 37 of 38 red-zone opportunities in 2010 and are ranked first in the league in that category. The Colts have scored 26 TDs in the red zone to rank first in the AFC and second in the NFL.
Washington Redskins (5-6) at New York Giants (7-4)
— Here’s the situation at running back: With Clinton Portis (abdomen) out for the year and Ryan Torain (hamstring) likely to miss a third straight game, rookie free agent Keiland Williams should start his third game. James Davis will also get some looks.
— Things don’t get any easier for the ‘Skins following this game. They’ve got dates in Dallas and Jacksonville as well as home contests against the Buccaneers and Giants. Those final five foes (Giants x2, of course) have a .545 winning percentage.
— The banged-up offensive line got some good news this week when LT David Diehl looked good in practice. It seems unlikely that he’ll play this weekend but a return against Minnesota the following weeks appears likely.
— WR Hakeem Nicks (lower right leg) will remain out of action this week but is also anticipating a return to against against Minnesota the following week.