NFL watchability index, Week 9: Should you really watch the Dolphins?

Brett Davis-US PRESSWIRE

Which NFL games are actually worth your time this week? Let our rankings make the decision for you.

San Diego improved to being the league's second-least competent team--no small feat for Norv Turner--in sticking it to Kansas City. For those of you made that dumpster fire your first foray into NFL football, know this: it gets better. This week's watchability list is here to help fans, from rookie to seasoned vet, figure out which games are worth your time.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New York Giants

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET

I'd feel better about recommending this game if the Steelers had beaten anyone besides the Bengals on the road this season. Pittsburgh has won two in a row, but this isn't some second-tier AFC team lining up on the other side of the field.


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2. Philadelphia Eagles vs. New Orleans Saints

Monday, 8:30 p.m. ET

Saints nominal figurehead Joe Vitt and his crooked cop's mustache started his career as a professional interim head coach in St. Louis. Steve Spagnuolo, the team's defensive coordinator, was the Rams' head coach until this season. If you believe in the power of transitive properties, this explains why the Saints stink. Eagles head coach Andy Reid is living out of a bunker these days, working on his plan to turn the season around by threatening his starting quarterback every week. Either way, dysfunction wins on Monday night!

3. Dallas Cowboys vs. Atlanta Falcons

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET

Tony Romo has thrown 13 interceptions this season. Only once has the Dallas quarterback finished a game without putting the ball into the hands of an opponent. The Atlanta Falcons defense is tied for second in the NFL with 10 interceptions. If all those 6 percent ABV beverages get to you by this point in the day, at least try to set your alarm for early Monday morning to take in the fallout.

SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY! Check out a very special graphical breakdown of the Cowboys-Falcons game.

4. Miami Dolphins vs. Indianapolis Colts

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

The Dolphins do not stink. Indianapolis is far more competitive than anyone imagined. Both of these teams are in the hunt for a playoff spot (AFC caveat) at the halfway point of the season. I'm not really sure what to make of these two as successful teams, but I am anxiously checking my emergency food rations in case it's the sign of something bigger.

5. Carolina Panthers vs. Washington Redskins

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

It's the battle of black quarterbacks forever linked by lazy pundits glomming onto the least notable feature of either player, a.k.a.... the Bayless Bowl! If easy narratives are your thing, go for sad Cam versus the lovable rookie. As far as the game goes ... wait, there's a game being played here?


Week 9 weather report


6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Oakland Raiders

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET

Just win baby! That's exactly what the Raiders are doing, riding a two-game hot streak into a date with the Bucs, who keel-hauled the Vikings last week. It sets up what could be a pretty good game between two non-threatening bands of maritime marauders.

7. Minnesota Vikings vs. Seattle Seahawks

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET

Mostly anonymous, good not great, this game is for anyone who ever had to work hard to get a C in high school algebra. Ultimately, you don't really care about it, but you do appreciate the effort.

8. Denver Broncos vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Denver is making a solid case as the second-best team in the AFC. Looking ahead at the Broncos' schedule, this might be the last speed bump until a Week 15 date with the Ravens.

9. Arizona Cardinals vs. Green Bay Packers

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Arizona declined to make a trade deadline move for Ravens offensive tackle and strip club inspector Bryant McKinnie. That's probably because they have a plan to let players like Clay Matthews resolve the quarterback situation for them this season.

10. Chicago Bears vs. Tennessee Titans

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Three games of at least 90 rushing yards was a good run for Chris Johnson. This week, it's back to being the Titans offense, probably. The Bears played a sloppy game against the Panthers last week, winning in spite of their efforts. Is Chicago walking into a trap game here?


NFL advance power rankings: Your team is probably overrated


11. Detroit Lions vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

Detroit traded for Jaguars receiver Mike Thomas this week. He will have one really good game for the Lions. That happens this week because it's the Jaguars.

12. Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

There are cracks in the foundation of the Ravens defense. Cracks are not uncommon for aging structures. One example: opponents are 5-for-7 on 4th-down attempts against the Ravens. Lame duck head coach Pat Shurmur doesn't have that excuse this week.

13. Buffalo Bills vs. Houston Texans

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET

If you need to get in one last day of yard work before winter, this might be your last best chance. Have you seen the 1 p.m. slate of games in the NFL? Of course, if you like watching horrible accidents, then you should at least take a break to see what kind of damage J.J. Watt will do to the Bills' offense.

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