We're Black and Blue All Over:
On Tuesday we passed along most of the NFC's playoff standings, along with a link to ESPN.com's full 1-16 seedings of both conferences. In that vein, we should also point out the return of the Playoff Machine, which allows you to play out each week's games ahead of time and see how your results will impact the playoff race.
This tool will become especially critical as we approach the final weeks of the season. For the time being, feel free to experiment and get a feel so you'll be ready when the action starts flying next month.
We've got another action-packed pre-Thanksgiving Day on the blog, so let's get right to our morning tour:
Chicago Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery will undergo arthroscopic surgery Wednesday on his right knee and could miss two weeks, writes Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com. The story was originally reported by the Chicago Tribune.
There was no silver lining in Dan Pompei's weekly review of the Bears' game tape. More in the Tribune.
The Bears' loss to the San Francisco 49ers was "littered with red flags," writes Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Detroit Lions made the playoffs in 1997 despite the same 4-6 record they have now, notes Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press.
We'll find out Thursday if Lions rookie Riley Reiff is prepared to be a starting left tackle, writes John Niyo of the Detroit News.
Lions center Dominic Raiola on questions about Houston Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt, via Anwar S. Richardson of Mlive.com: "Just bring it. We play top D-tackles every week, so J.J. Watt, bring it." Watt responded via conference call: "Just watch the game and find out."
Meetings between Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and tight end Jermichael Finley have been productive, Rodgers said on his ESPN 540 radio show, via Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com.
Lori Nickel of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Since Mike McCarthy became coach in 2006, the Packers have gone 18-2 against NFC North Division opponents when they won the turnover battle, according to Elias Sports Bureau."
The New York Giants are better built for cold weather than the Packers, writes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
The Minnesota Vikings' Toby Gerhart is staying grounded as he watches the performance of starting tailback Adrian Peterson, writes Mark Craig of the Star Tribune.