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.
Still reeling from the complete and utter unwatchability of Monday night’s Pats-Broncos game, we needed a week off to gather our thoughts. This week’s Game Rankings are brought to you by SI.com intern extraordinaire Josh Zembik. We’ll be back next week.
ONLY IF YOUR OTHER OPTION IS YARDWORK
14. Washington at Detroit, 1:00 p.m., FOX
Solid offense takes on the league’s worst defense. Blowout in the making.
13. Cincinnati at Houston, 4:05 p.m., CBS
Could be the Bengals' best chance to avoid a winless season! Doesn’t mean it’s a good chance.
12. Kansas City at N.Y. Jets, 1:00 p.m., CBS
Nothing helps a team bounce back from a tough loss more than facing a Chiefs club with a third-string quarterback under center, an inactive starting running back and the second-worst rated defense in the league.
IT AIN'T GONNA BE EPIC, BUT HEY, IT'S FOOTBALL
11. Cleveland at Jacksonville, 4:05 p.m., CBS
Two clubs heading in opposite directions. The Jags have won three of four, while the drama in Cleveland culminated with the suspension of Kellen Winslow, maybe the team’s only offensive weapon.
10. Seattle at San Francisco, 4:15 p.m., FOX
The real drama in this game is on the sidelines. Mike Singletary takes over as 49ers head coach, and does it against Mike Holmgren, who is now rumored to be his biggest rival for the full-time gig.
9. Oakland at Baltimore, 1:00 p.m., CBS
JaMarcus Russell looks to build on last week’s overtime win over the Jets, but it’s not going to be easy against Ray Lewis and the Ravens’ defense.
8. Tampa Bay at Dallas, 1:00 p.m., FOX
With Tony Romo out, the franchise in turmoil, and 40-year old Brad Johnson at the helm, the Cowboys could use another game against the Bengals. Instead, they’re getting the Bucs and the league’s eighth-ranked defense.
7. Buffalo at Miami, 1:00 p.m., CBS
At 5-1, the Bills are the only team in the NFL yet to face a division opponent. They kick of a stretch of three straight vs. the AFC East when they head to Miami. Marcus Stroud, Kyle Williams and Kawika Williams will be tested by the always-exciting Wildcat Offense.
6. St. Louis at New England, 1:00 p.m., FOX
Jim Haslett’s Rams aren’t the least bit like Scott Linehan’s Rams. Or are they? They knocked off the Redskins and dominated the imploding Cowboys. We’ll see if Steven Jackson and the rejuvenated Rams are for real against the Pats.
5. Indianapolis at Tennessee, 8:30 p.m. (Monday), ESPN
Critics say the Titans’ schedule has been soft (they’re right), but Monday night game against the Colts is a good time to show they’re for real. These aren’t last year’s Colts, though. Just ask Peyton Manning and his 46.6 passer rating last week. Yikes.
4. Atlanta at Philadelphia, 1:00 p.m., FOX
Eagles fans might be preoccupied with the World Series taking place across the parking lot from Lincoln Financial Field, but look for a good matchup on the gridiron, too. Philly kid Matt Ryan leads the surprising Falcons against the Eagles, who are fighting to stay afloat in the NFC East race.
SUPERGLUE YOURSELF TO THE COUCH
3. San Diego vs. New Orleans (from London), 1:00 p.m., CBS
Game is across the pond, but Reggie Bush will be stateside recovering from knee surgery. Plus, LT hasn’t been himself this year. Still, these are two playoff-caliber teams trying to stay alive. Nothing makes for a better matchup than desperation -- and hooligans in the stands at Wembley.
2. Arizona at Carolina, 1:00 p.m., FOX
When was the last time the Cardinals were part of a "matchup of division leaders?" The Cards and their high-flying offense get Anquan Boldin back, and take their show to Carolina, where the Panthers and Jake Delhomme have outscored their opponents 108-33 this season.
1. N.Y. Giants at Pittsburgh, 4:15 p.m., FOX
In what’s billed as a possible Super Bowl preview, Big Blue rolls into Pittsburgh for a battle of 5-1 teams. Both teams have solid running games (the Giants lead the league), pounding defenses and big game quarterbacks. Big Ben outdueled Eli Manning in their only previous matchup -- a 33-30 Steelers win back in 2004.