For the Record
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Each Thursday, we'll rank the games from least to most watchable. The following Tuesday, we'll re-rank the games based on what actually went down. At season's end, we'll tally up the pre- and post-game rankings from throughout the year to determine the league's most and least watchable squads -- and the 30 teams in between. All times Eastern.

ONLY IF YOUR OTHER OPTION IS YARDWORK

 

Rams
Could the Rams find themselves on the wrong end of a rout?
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

14. Detroit at Minnesota, 1:00 p.m., FOX

Game Rankings Rule No. 2: When a team is openly discussing trading two of its best players (Jon Kitna and Roy Williams), we refuse to watch.

13. St. Louis at Washington, 1:00 p.m., FOX

Game Rankings Rule No. 1: Blowouts ain't watchable.

12. Cincinnati at N.Y. Jets, 1:00 p.m., CBS

Here's the thing: We live in NYC, sans Sunday Ticket (apartment building -- long story), so we'll be forced to watch this game. We do not like being told what to do.

 

IT AIN'T GONNA BE EPIC, BUT HEY, IT'S FOOTBALL


11. N.Y. Giants at Cleveland, 8:30 p.m. (Monday), ESPN

With the Browns languishing at 1-3, this is not the matchup ESPN was hoping for. Still, watching Derek Anderson try to play with "Bra-dy, Bra-dy" chants emanating from the Dawg Pound is worth tuning in.

10. Oakland at New Orleans, 1:00 p.m., CBS

SI.com's Don Banks paints this as a must-win game for the Saints. Curiousity is also a factor here, with The Cable Guy debuting as the Raiders head coach.

9. Green Bay at Seattle, 4:15 p.m., FOX

Mike Holmgren's team needs a win in the worst way and nothing would be better for him than beating his former employer. Watchability-wise, it's always fun to see two teams desperate for a win go at it.

Steve Slaton
Steve Slaton is posting strong numbers for a rookie tailback.
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

8. Miami at Houston, 1:00 p.m., CBS

The Dolphins with a winning record? That'll be the case should Miami get this road win. But the Texans are playing better than their record indicates and two matchups (Steve Slaton vs. Joey Porter, Mario Williams vs. Chad Pennington) make this worth tuning into see.

7. Philadelphia at San Francisco, 4:15 p.m., FOX

This NFC East has been almost unbeatable outside the division. Throw in that Donovan McNabb and Co. need to right the ship after a two-game skid and it's not looking good for the home team.

6. Baltimore at Indianapolis, 1:00 p.m., CBS

Uh-oh. The Colts offensive line still isn't healthy and the Ravens defense has to be foaming at the mouth at that prospect. Will Peyton Manning survive what will surely be a Baltimore blitz-fest?

5. Jacksonville at Denver, 4:05 p.m., CBS

We're suckers for strong 'D' vs. strong 'O' games. Plus, anytime these two teams meet, it calls to mind one of the greatest playoff upsets of all-time: the Jags' stunning win over the Broncos in the 1996 playoffs at Mile High.

4. Dallas at Arizona, 4:15 p.m., FOX

We've heard this dubbed the Emmitt Smith alumni game. Funny. Fittingly, the running games will be a big factor. If Edge James and young stud Tim Hightower can grind it out to help keep Tony Romo and company off the field, the Cards have a chance. At the same time, don't miss any Felix Jones carry -- he's averaging 9.04 yards per attempt through five games.

 

SUPERGLUE YOURSELF TO THE COUCH

 

Patriots fan
The Pats ousted San Diego from the playoffs in '06 and '07.
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

3. Chicago at Atlanta, 1:00 p.m., FOX

Can't you just see the "The Falcons Are For Real!" headlines across the national landscape Monday should Atlanta win its second straight game against the NFC North? The Bears' defense definitely will be the toughest test to date for rookie Matt Ryan and Michael Turner.

2. Carolina at Tampa Bay, 1:00 p.m., FOX

First place in the underrated NFC South on the line in this one. Offensive purists, turn away -- this will be a defensive battle. With Brian Griese not likely to play, the Panthers have to be itching to plant backup Jeff Garcia, forcing the Bucs to go to Plan C at QB Luke McCown.

1. New England at San Diego, 8:15 p.m., NBC

Sure, this isn't as sexy as we thought it'd be six weeks ago. But this is a real measuring stick game for both teams. A road win over its 2007 AFC Championship Game opponent would establish Tom Brady-less New England as a true contender in the AFC. Likewise, the Chargers can erase some demons from the past two playoffs and get some momentum for this season by knocking off the Pats. We'll be watching.

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