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 HANDING OUT RAISINS

 

Detroit Lions
The Lions haven't moved forward since Matt Millen's firing.
Duane Burleson/AP

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

13. Jacksonville at Cincinnati, 1:00 p.m., CBS

12. Philadelphia at Seattle, 4:15 p.m., FOX

While we applaud T.J. Houshmandzadeh's confidence, we still stoutly refuse to watch the Bengals. Or their big-cat neighbors to the north, for that matter. And watching the Seahawks play is only slightly better than visiting the house that gives out apples ... or toothbrushes, as my dentist sister-in-law did one year.

 

A PILLOWCASE FULL OF CANDY ... BUT MOM ONLY LETS YOU HAVE ONE PIECE

 

11. Tampa Bay at Kansas City, 1:00 p.m., FOX 

10. Atlanta at Oakland, 4:15 p.m., FOX 

9. Arizona at St. Louis, 1:00 p.m., FOX

Nothing like coming home from a night of trick-or-treating, pouring out all the candy ... then having mom rain on the parade with unwanted parental intervention. That's the same feeling we get when we're home on Sunday, big-screen TV within view, snacks splayed out on the table ... and Jeff Garcia and Tyler Thigpen going toe-to-toe. We mean, we'll watch it, but imagine all the while how much better it could have been.

 

SWEET TARTS, BUTTERFINGERS AND DOTS


8. Houston at Minnesota, 1:00 p.m., FOX 

7. Miami at Denver, 4:05 p.m., CBS

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

5. N.Y. Jets at Buffalo, 1:00 p.m., CBS

4. Dallas at N.Y. Giants, 4:15 p.m., FOX

All solid. Not a dud in the bunch. Texans-Vikings and Dolphins-Broncos should be score-a-paloozas. Ravens-Browns is a nasty rivalry. And Jets-Bills and Cowboys-Giants both have major importance in the divisional races. Like a bowl full of Skittles with a note saying, "Please take one," you can't go wrong.

 

FRONT DOOR CLOSED, DRAPES DRAWN, FLOODLIGHTS OFF ... AND A CARTON FULL OF EGGS

 

3. New England at Indianapolis, 8:15 p.m., NBC 

2. Green Bay at Tennessee, 1:00 p.m., FOX 

1. Pittsburgh at Washington, 8:30 p.m. (Monday), ESPN

It doesn't get much better than this. The Colts absolutely, unequivocally cannot lose this week (especially with the Steelers on tap in Week 10) and they have to do it against their old rivals, the Pats. With the division all but wrapped up, the Titans can start measuring itself against some likely NFC playoff teams -- Packers on Sunday and Bears next week). And like on Halloween, the NFL saves its best for after dark. Monday night's classic in our nation's capital will be the Steelers' second straight game against an NFC East beast. Don't expect alot of scoring. A smashmouth game for a smashing pumpkins crowd. Have a safe Halloween.

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