Broncos QB Peyton Manning vs. Ravens S Ed Reed: These future Hall of Fame players are two of the smartest to ever play their positions. Reed is great at anticipating things, but that's hard to do with Manning. Reed doesn't run like he used to, so look for Manning to try to take advantage of his aggressive style. Reed's not the same player that he used to be. Manning is close. Edge: Manning.
Bears WR Brandon Marshall vs. Packers secondary: Marshall did some yapping this week about the Packers' secondary, which will bring attention to this battle. It was going to be big, anyway. The Packers will be without safety Charles Woodson again, but corners Tramon Williams and Casey Hayward will be big here. They have to limit Marshall's big plays if the Packers are to win.
Falcons WR Julio Jones vs. Giants CBs Corey Webster: Jones is the big-play threat for the Falcons, but he hasn't been as explosive recently as he was early in the season. Teams have doubled him more. The Giants have problems at times with speed receivers. Webster hasn't played as well as hoped, and they will be without Prince Amukamara this week, which will put more pressure on Webster.
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Falcons RT Tyson Clabo vs. Giants DE Jason Pierre-Paul: Clabo is a mauler who won't back down, but he isn't a great athlete. That could be a big edge for Pierre-Paul, who happens to be an amazing athlete. Clabo has not played up to expectations this season. He has to be better if Matt Ryan is going to make throws down the field.
Cowboys OLB DeMarcus Ware vs. Steelers LT Max Starks: Starks is the veteran of the young Steelers line. He has been through the rigors, having started in Super Bowls. He seems to play better as the season moves toward the end. But Ware is a handful for anybody. Starks has to keep him off Ben Roethlisberger.
49ers OLB Aldon Smith vs. Patriots LT Nate Solder: Smith is closing in on the all-time sack record. He has the speed off the edge but has improved as a power rusher and is great at stunting inside. Solder is solid but not special. He has come up big at times in big games. The Patriots need that here. Smith had four sacks against Solder in college.
Patriots DT Vince Wilfork vs. 49ers Gs Mike Iupati and Alex Boone: Wilfork is coming off a dominant game last week against the Texans. But these two 49ers guards are maulers in the run game. They are as good as any at pulling around to open up holes. Wilfork has to get penetration to slow the 49ers' running game down.
Texans LT Duane Brown vs. Colts OLB-DE Dwight Freeney: Brown is playing as well as any tackle in the league. Freeney is always a tough handle with his speed and power. Brown is also good in the run game, which could be key since he outweighs Freeney by 60 pounds or so.
Patriots WR Wes Welker vs. 49ers CB Chris Culliver: Welker is so good in the slot. He is smart and runs great routes. Culliver is a nice nickel corner. He has had some big games, but he has been burnt in a few, too. I would imagine he would spend a lot of time on Welker.
Broncos OLB Von Miller vs. Ravens RT Kelechi Osemele: Miller is a pass-rush force. He will provide quite a test for the rookie right tackle. Osemele has had some good games, but he has also had games where he has struggled. He didn't play well last week against the Redskins.