Anonymous remarks, snarky putdowns, wild parties and cooties: This week's game previews bring the junior-high drama. Keyshawn Johnson thinks the Falcons smell bad, a mysterious general manager has bad things to say about the Lions, and the Dolphins run up the credit cards and bring on the lemon drops. Everybody's acting immature except birthday boy Brandon Weeden, who has the opposite problem. And when you call a quarterback elite, does it give him cooties or the dreaded "cheese touch?" The answer to that question, and more, can be found in this week's Diary of a Wimpy Lowdown.

(All times Eastern; all Sunday games ranked by quality of matchup.)

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Giants at 49ers

4:25 p.m. Sunday, FOX
Line: 49ers by 7

The 49ers may be the best team in the NFL right now, but they have not gotten a lot of attention here at Lowdown or anywhere else. A breakdown of their last three games should explain why:

Week 3: Upset by Vikings. All NFL news that week was trumped by the "Night of the Replacement Triffids."

Week 4: Blowout of Jets. Playing good football against the Jets is like being the voice of reason in a Marx Brothers movie. No one pays attention to you.

Week 5: Blowout of Bills. This game was played simultaneously with the Brady-Manning Reunion Tour, meaning it got as much attention as the "Property Virgins" marathon HGTV broadcasts against the Super Bowl. Even those of us who try to keep tabs on the entire league tuned in, saw 49ers players running uncontested around the field while Bills defenders stood and watched, and assumed that the game had been delayed and the teams were still going through warmups.

The 49ers are dominating opponents, which is much better than dominating the narrative. They still have their flaws, however. Goal-to-go situations remain a constant source of puzzlement for their offense, for example. More pressing, Alex Smith's sprained middle finger could limit the 49ers' already limited deep passing game, though it should open up more opportunities for wildcat backup Colin Kaepernick, an oddly assembled athletic specimen who runs like he was edited into the game tape during post-production by Ridley Scott.

Ted Ginn has replaced Kyle Williams as the 49ers' punt returner, though Williams now handles kickoffs. The 49ers have many players who could replace Williams and spare him the trauma of reliving last year's fumbles in the NFC Championship Game, but Jim Harbaugh seems like the kind of guy who dangles kids off the side of the bridge to make them conquer their fear of heights.

Prediction: 49ers 26, Giants 21

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Cowboys at Ravens

1 p.m. Sunday, FOX
Line: Ravens by 3 ½

There is an epidemic spreading among NFL quarterbacks: a disease called cimex electissimus, or Elite Cooties.

A quarterback cannot contract Elite Cooties from himself or from contact with other quarterbacks. The disease is passed through remarks made by agents (Joe Flacco's case) or teammates like Jason Witten (Tony Romo's case), though prolonged exposure to talk-radio personalities (Eli Manning, summer 2011) can also be dangerous. Once the quarterback is diagnosed with Elite Cooties, the contagion goes viral, and the patient must be quarantined while everyone debates whether he is really "elite" or not, and how much bloodletting it will take to cure him.

Elite Cooties is, in many ways, more of a schoolyard game than an illness. (Note to younger readers: In previous generations, children played schoolyard games in which they chased each other around. This is now classified as bullying, and if it happens to you, immediately contact your school district's Overreaction Coordinator.) There is nothing really wrong with the quarterback, and the label means about as much as the "cheese touch" from Jeff Kinney's "Wimpy Kid" stories. Elite Cooties satisfies the sociological need to symbolically ostracize individuals and call attention to their differences or shortcomings in a safe, "playful" setting. By pointing, rolling our eyes and guffawing about Flacco's or Romo's out-of-context "elite" remarks, we reassure ourselves about our own flaws and reaffirm our herd affiliation. Until we get tagged and ridiculed, then it is not so much fun.

Are Flacco and Romo "elite" quarterbacks? Only 171 men have ever thrown for over 10,000 yards in the entire course of human history, and they are two of them. Since about 106 billion humans have ever lived, Flacco and Romo are in the 99.999999th percentile of quarterbacks in the human era. That is pretty elite, from an anthropological perspective. Watch last week's Ravens-Chiefs game or Cowboys-Bears from the previous Monday, on the other hand, and you will realize these guys are no threat to Tom Brady. Of course, no one ever thought they were, not even themselves, nor the people who gave them cooties in the first place.

No one has called a teammate or client "elite" recently, because people are now aware of the dangers. Perhaps the Elite Cooties game has been retired. It could be revived at any second, though, and most of us would not welcome it. As Kinney's middle school protagonist says of the "cheese touch:" "I don't want that kind of stress in my life anymore."

Prediction: Ravens 19, Cowboys 16

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Patriots at Seahawks

4:05 p.m. Sunday, CBS
Line: Patriots by 3 ½

For your convenience, Sports on Earth provides this handy Random Seahawks Final Score Generator. It allows you to predict the outcome of a Seahawks game without the tedium of actually watching a Seahawks game.

Step One: Start with any two unlikely football final scores between 8 and 18, inclusive. You can randomize these numbers by picking them out of a hat, which is exactly how the Seahawks call offensive plays.

Step Two: Roll one die and add the result to the lower score. This represents a two-point conversion, long field goal, late game safety, two late-game safeties or some combination thereof. When the Seahawks face the Rams, roll two dice to account for Greg "Legatron" Zuerlein.

Step Three: Add three points to the score that did not get the die roll. This is the Seahawks' home-field advantage: noisy crowd, wet field, jet lag, complicated uniforms with DayGlo trim and funky tessellated patterns that hypnotize opponents.

Step Four: Flip a coin. If it lands on heads, the Seahawks get the higher score, because the opponent's last-second throw into the end zone failed. Tails, and the opponent gets the high score, because the Seahawks' last-second throw into the end zone failed. If the coin rolls down the street and into the sewer, send Lance Easley to fish it out.

Bill Belichick knows all about the Random Seahawks Final Score Generator, which is why he is having the Seattle area flooded with loaded dice and trick coins.

Prediction: Patriots 22 ½, Seahawks 5π

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Colts at Jets

1 p.m. Sunday, CBS
Line: Jets by 3 ½

If Tony Sparano were a presidential candidate, he would be one of those third-party oddballs whose platform consists of outdated ideas and fringy assertions that don't fit together in any logical way. "My administration would save the passenger pigeon, mandate term limits for Supreme Court bailiffs, set heavy tariffs on moustache wax, end the government subsidy on public television but not radio (because that Garrison Keillor is a hoot) and nuke Denmark."

It is hard for most sane people to conceive of offensive wrinkles that actually detract from the smooth handling of a Mark Sanchez-orchestrated passing game, but Sparano has a playbook full of them, from random Tim Tebow hit-and-runs to "somebody find Cromartie" guest appearances to the transcendent wrongheadedness of a Joe McKnight direct snap when trailing in the fourth quarter. Tebow has shown legitimate usefulness as a short-yardage weapon, so naturally when Sanchez finally gets an uninterrupted series of passes, it is in goal-to-goal situations, where he can play jai alai with J.J. Watt. Dolphins fans watch all of this from afar and sigh with relief: Their team may have the same record as the Jets, but at least their offense does not get into its own way anymore.

Something should be said about Sanchez' quarterback rating of 66.6. The number "666" in the biblical book of Revelations is assumed by most scholars to be a coded reference to Emperor Nero, who was not popular among early Christians because of his "Nerocare" health reform, which involved hungry lions. The quarterback rating was developed by actuaries in the late 1960s to give the NFL one official number to base postseason awards upon, and has been decried ever since as an over-engineered and misleading solution to a relatively simple problem. The confluence of second-century biblical mysticism and mid-20th century accounting principles at one eerily symbolic number can only lead to one inarguable conclusion: The Jets offense stinks.

Prediction: Jets 16, Colts 14

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Packers at Texans

8:20 p.m. Sunday, NBC
Line: Texans by 3

Are the Texans too slow to win a Super Bowl? The team that beat the Jets on Monday night was methodical, balanced and competent, and had all the explosiveness of a used firecracker. Arian Foster got run down from behind after a long gain. Cornerback Brice McCain got chased down on an apparent pick-6 by running back Bilal Powell, who had to fight through blockers to reach him. Joe McKnight blasted through the Texans' special teams, and only DeVier Posey came close to catching up with him. The Texans' own return man, Trindon Holliday, slipped and fell while trying to find fourth gear.

The lack of pure speed compounds special teams headaches while turning possible long touchdowns into goal-to-go situations, where Foster takes a pounding and Matt Schaub treats the back of the end zone like a secondary receiver. The Texans can compensate with brute force, but the loss of linebacker Brian Cushing will make winning-field-goal slugfests harder in the future.

Team speed could be an issue against the Packers, who lack a running game (they replace injured Cedric Benson this week with a scarecrow wearing a bust of Paul Hornung for a head) but can fire the afterburners in the passing and return games. It could also be a postseason issue. For the rest of autumn, however, the Texans only have to outrun the AFC South, and they can do that by walking.

Prediction: Packers 26, Texans 24

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Raiders at Falcons

1 p.m. Sunday, CBS
Line: Falcons by 10 ½

The Falcons, like the Texans, are an undefeated team with more substance than style, which means a lot to the style-obsessed. "Looks good, smells bad," was Keyshawn Johnson's witty television appraisal of either the Falcons or an asparagus casserole. "Unless you win in the playoffs, you're going to be known as 'next year's champions,'" said designated NFL curmudgeon Mike Ditka, adding that kids these days don't understand the value of nuthin'.

Calling an undefeated team "overrated" is a low-risk proposition -- the Falcons and Texans are both going to lose a few games, folks -- and a team's goal in the early season is not to make believers of coaches who won their last playoff game in 1990, but to assemble enough victories to provide a comfortable lead in the standings. The Falcons and Texans have both done that. A Falcons-Texans Super Bowl still doesn't feel likely, but if it happens the doubters will claim that both teams acquired "it" along the way -- "it" being the magical ability to change the minds of people who weren't thinking too hard in the first place.

Prediction: Falcons 27, Raiders 17

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Rams at Dolphins

1 p.m. Sunday, FOX
Line: Dolphins by 3 ½

The Dolphins' offensive line made TMZ gossip news on Monday night with a 10-man dinner party that ran up a $7,400 tab. The guys dined upon many delicacies, including Wagyu beef, which costs $35 per ounce (the cows are fed a strict diet of iPhones). Star offensive lineman Jake Long weighs 319 pounds and costs the Dolphins $11.2 million, which works out to $2,194.36 per ounce, so the beef is a bargain. Jeff Ireland will remember this dinner when negotiating with Long, who becomes a free agent in the offseason. No, Ireland will not accuse Long of living extravagantly; he will simply try to replace him by drafting a Wagyu cow.

The Dolphins' linemen also enjoyed a round of lemon drop shots. Talk-radio callers get steamed when players enjoy a drink during the season. They should really be worried about a bunch of grown men who need training wheels for their vodka. The lineman dinner is a regular tradition for the Dolphins, though in a few weeks they run the risk of bumping into the 1972 Dolphins celebrating their undefeated season. On second thought, those guys go out for dinner at around 3:30 these days.

Rookie Jonathan Martin picked up most of the check, as the expensive dinner was part of the good-natured rookie initiation ritual. Other rookies are expected to pitch in, but players with higher salaries, like Martin, are expected to make the biggest contribution. Can you picture it: 10 offensive linemen trying to prorate? After lemon drops? Luckily, no one was hurt.

This is one of those non-stories that threatens to detract from the real interest value of the game: The Wagyu-gorged Dolphins line -- which has been playing well -- faces a Rams front four coming off an eight-sack week, and both the Dolphins and Rams have been playing lively football in recent weeks. And, most amazingly: THE DOLPHINS MADE IT ONTO TMZ WITH NO HELP FROM REGGIE BUSH OR CHAD JOHNSON.

Prediction: Dolphins 20, Rams 13

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Bengals at Browns

1 p.m. Sunday, CBS
Line: Even

Brandon Weeden celebrates his 29th birthday on Sunday. Happy birthday, Brandon! You are four years older than Andy Dalton, who turns 25 in two weeks, and 15 months older than Joe Flacco, who turns 28 in January, but you are 19 months younger than Ben Roethlisberger, who turns 31 in March. You are almost exactly one year older than Brady Quinn, who the Browns gave up on three years ago, but you are nearly two years younger than Charlie Frye, who has not played an NFL down since 2009, and five years and 10 months younger than Tim Couch, the Browns' first overall draft choice when they returned to the NFL in 1999. In fact, you are closer in age to Couch, who last played in 2003, than fellow rookie Robert Griffin III, who is six years and five months younger than you.

All of which is a nice way of saying, isn't it time we moved out of the garage and got some traction under our career?

Prediction: Bengals 20, Browns 16

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Lions at Eagles

1 p.m. Sunday, FOX
Line: Eagles by 4

The Lions' kick coverage unit looks like a field of dandelions in front of a riding mower, and their running game treats the line of scrimmage like the parapet of a castle, but otherwise the team is solid. But that is not the opinion of the unnamed general manager who ripped the team in Pro Football Weekly, claiming that coach Jim Schwartz and GM Martin Mayhew are "both overrated" and that Ndamukong Suh and Cliff Avril belong on an "all-hype team" -- criticism that is way off-base about Avril.

Center Dominic Raiola, innovator of the "snap it when I wanna" overtime strategy, came to his bosses' and teammates' defense by calling the criticism "a coward kind of statement." Whatever Jeff Irel … er, that anonymous general manager may think of the Lions, they are at least making progress. People lined up to criticize Matt Millen on the record.

Prediction: Eagles 20, Lions 17

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Chiefs at Buccaneers

1 p.m. Sunday, CBS
Line: Buccaneers by 4

Brady Quinn gets the start over injured Matt Cassel, and the Chiefs are making it clear that their game plan this week is to run the ball as often as possible to make life easier for Quinn. The Chiefs have been an effective running team, averaging 5.2 yards per carry, but everyone knows that one-dimensional rushing teams simply cannot move the ball efficiently enough to be successful. Everyone except old-school defensive-minded coaches, that is. Didn't those 214 rushing yards you gained against the Ravens amount to just six points, coach Crennel? "But we were in the game. We got three less points than the Ravens, which means we lose, and I understand that, but would you rather see a competitive game or would you rather see a 40-10 score?" Tune in next year, when the Chiefs' coaching staff discovers that there is a third option.

Prediction: Buccaneers 22, Chiefs 13

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Bills at Cardinals

4:05 p.m. Sunday, CBS
Line: Cardinals by 4 ½

Somewhere in America, a Bills starting linebacker just realized that the handoff to Frank Gore was a play-fake, and that he had better race back into zone defense before Vernon Davis catches a wide-open 20-yard pass over the middle. John Skelton is back at practice for the Cardinals, but Ken Whisenhunt is expected to stick with Kevin Kolb this week, if for no other reason than the Bills' defense reacts so slowly that it still hasn't figured out that Skelton was hurt in the first place.

Prediction: Cardinals 20, Bills 10

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Vikings at Redskins

4:25 p.m. Sunday, FOX
Line: Redskins by 1 ½

Robert Griffin III was cleared to practice on Wednesday and is likely to play against the Vikings. Mike Shanahan's midweek comments shed some light on how the new concussion procedures are implemented in Washington. "Our doctors talked to him and he knew the quarter, knew the score. So they took him back into that little box behind our bench and asked him again: What was the quarter, what was the score? The second time, he missed it. … So that's when they took him into the locker room and administered the test, the concussion test."

Two points of note: First, the Redskins have a "little box" behind their bench. So that's where Albert Haynesworth has been living! Second, while we applaud the experts for erring on the side of caution, asking Griffin to give the score twice was a little unfair: The Redskins' defense had been on the field for several minutes by then, so Griffin may have added an additional seven points as a logical precaution.

Prediction: Redskins 24, Vikings 20

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Broncos at Chargers

1 p.m. Sunday, CBS
Line: Even

One of the great things about Peyton Manning joining the Broncos is that we get to explore old storylines in exciting new ways. We don't actually do it, but it is nice to have the option. Manning's history with the Chargers is almost as interesting as his rivalry with the Patriots. The Chargers beat Manning's Colts in two playoff games and forced a four-interception game from Manning in 2010 and a six-interception nightmare in 2007. The Chargers changed defensive coordinators this season, but some of their defensive personnel remain from the playoff victories, and Norv Turner's lack of involvement with the defense is a major asset.

If Manning does have a bad game, Philip Rivers may change facial expressions. Rivers used to be one of the most demonstrative sideline characters in the NFL, but he cannot compete with Cam Newton and Jay Cutler, so now he just scowls. When the Chargers led on Sunday night, he scowled. When the Saints came back, he scowled. When Drew Brees broke Johnny Unitas' record, Rivers still scowled, which would be interpreted as bad sportsmanship if we didn't suspect that NBC was just inserting the same tired old reaction shot again and again, like the footage of the tyrannosaurus threatening the cave in "Land of the Lost," or the halftime editorial by Bob Costas.

Prediction: Chargers 26, Broncos 20