NFL watchability index, Week 6: Saints-Patriots, Packers-Ravens top games of the week

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We're back to help you figure out which games this week are worth watching and which ones to avoid. Welcome to the Watchability Index.

Fifteen games are on the schedule this week. The Atlanta Falcons get a week off to lick their wounds after a devastating home loss and season-ending injury to Julio Jones. The Miami Dolphins are also on bye, going back to the drawing board after two straight losses scuttled a 3-0 start. Free advice, Joe Philbin: The aforementioned drawing board shouldn't involve Daniel Thomas.

In the meantime, let's check out the Week 6 games, rated on a scale of one through five for most watchable. All times are Eastern.

New York Giants at Chicago Bears

Thursday, 8:25 p.m., NFL Network

Nothing cures a season spiraling out control like a road trip to Chicago on short rest. The Giants will also be without David Wilson, their only legitimate running threat. Quick, raise your hand if you thought the Giants would be a bigger circus than the Jets this year.

Watchability rank: 2

Green Bay Packers at Baltimore Ravens

1 p.m., FOX

These two teams almost met in the Super Bowl last year. At least they might have, if the Packers ever grasped the concept of "tackle Colin Kaepernick." I wrote a piece on Baltimore's defensive line and how it matches up against Aaron Rodgers, so go read that, please. This should be a fun game.

Watchability rank: 5

Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills

1 p.m., CBS

Thaddeus Lewis is getting the start after last week's quarterback apocalypse in Cleveland, with Jeff Tuel backing him up. Also, C.J. Spiller is still gimpy and Stevie Johnson suffered a back injury last week. The odds aren't looking too good for Buffalo here.

Watchability rank: 1

Detroit Lions at Cleveland Browns

1 p.m., FOX

I spent last week giving a bit of hype to the Lions-Packers game, figuring it should be an entertaining affair. Then Calvin Johnson ended up being a last-minute scratch and everything went to heck for Detroit. "You don't know what you have until it's gone" is an old cliche, but it applied all too well to the Lions offense, which looked utterly lost without the game's best playmaker. This game's watchability depends almost entirely on Megatron's injury status.

Watchability rank: 2

St. Louis Rams at Houston Texans

1 p.m., FOX

You know Matt Schaub is having a bad week when:

  1. He sets an NFL record for most consecutive games with a pick-six.
  2. His coach has to publicly announce that he's still the starter.
  3. He has to deny a report that an angry mob showed up at his house in the middle of the night.

Houston fans are more feisty than I thought. I guess the Astros finally broke them.

Watchability rank: 2

Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs

1 p.m., CBS

Terrelle Pryor has completely won me over. He started the season as a punchline; a jobber thrown into the fire in a possible 0-16 year, set to make way for the eventual franchise guy in 2014. Instead, he has the Raiders at 2-3 and looks like that franchise quarterback himself. Now he takes his show on the road in Arrowhead, and it will be interesting to see how he holds up with Dontari Poe in his face (that Oakland offensive line is still a mess, but good quarterback play can mask many weaknesses). This might end up being the best divisional game of the week.

Watchability rank: 4

Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings

1 p.m., FOX

Ron Rivera had a chance to cool his seat, coming off a bye week and a 38-0 thrashing of the Giants. Instead, his team had a flat, lifeless performance against the Cardinals and Cam Newton looks lost in Mike Shula's ill-fitted offense. Carolina may want to expedite their coaching search if things don't improve.

Watchability rank: 2

Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Jets

1 p.m., CBS

It's not often that Jets fans can claim bragging rights over the Steelers, but that's where we find ourselves this week. The good news for Pittsburgh is that Le'Veon Bell gives the running game instant credibility, and they had a bye week to rest up. Another loss here would send them to 0-5 and effectively end their season.

Watchability rank: 2

Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1 p.m., FOX

It's Mike Glennon's team now that the Bucs finally signed the Josh Freeman divorce papers. Glennon didn't look so hot in his debut against the Cardinals, but a bye week and the Eagles defense should provide a softer landing for him. This one has some shootout potential, but I don't trust Nick Foles against Tampa's still-strong defense.

Watchability rank: 2

Jacksonville Jaguars at Denver Broncos

4:05 p.m., CBS

The Jaguars lost No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel to a broken ankle because the football gods decided they didn't hate Jacksonville enough. There's also something about a record-breaking Vegas spread I may have heard in passing. Can't remember what it was, though. Maybe Brent Musburger can refresh my memory on Saturday evening.

Watchability rank: 1

Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks

4:05 p.m., CBS

This was supposed to be Jake Locker's big homecoming, having grown up in the area and attended the University of Washington. He is a lifelong Seahawks fan and would have loved the opportunity to play against his favorite team in front of fans who still love him. But then he went and injured his hip, and now we have to watch Ryan Fitzpatrick. That's deflating.

Watchability rank: 2

New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots

4:25 p.m., FOX

Brady! Brees! Jimmy Graham! Rob Gronkowski, maybe! Ineffectual running games! Defenses that are OK at best! So many storylines here Fox analysts won't know what to do with themselves, except maybe just focus on the two quarterbacks and debate which one is better, because that never gets old.

Watchability rank: 5

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers

4:25 p.m., FOX

Colin Kaepernick went 6-for-15 for 113 yards and the 49ers still beat the Texans 34-3. I'd say their defense and running game are back in top form. Not good news for the Cardinals, who are starting to look like the Cardinals of last year with a bad offensive line, no running game, a mistake-prone quarterback and a good defense going to waste. Arizona's 3-2 record might be the high water mark of the season.

Watchability rank: 1

Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys

8:30 p.m., NBC

Tony Romo threw for more than 500 yards, nearly beat the Broncos and that's not the thing people are talking about this week. I'm starting to wonder what horrific sins he committed in a past life. Nobody should be forced to spend their entire career surrounded by Cowboys fans.

Watchability rank: 3

Indianapolis Colts at San Diego Chargers

Monday, 8:40 p.m., ESPN

Last week, I wrote off the Falcons-Jets matchup as a typical MNF snoozefest, and it ended up being one of the best games of the season. I won't make that same mistake this week. You're getting bumped up a full one point for Andrew Luck. Maybe Philip Rivers will make funny faces along the way as well.

Watchability rank: 3

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