NFL Watchability Index, Week 8: Broncos-Redskins headlines a subpar schedule of games

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

There aren't many appealing matchups on the slate this week, but football is still football. Here is our Week 8 Watchability Index.

We now enter Week 8 of the 2013 NFL season, and ... wait. The season is almost halfway over already? Where did the time go? We barely had a chance to say goodbye to our loved ones.

Anyway, there are only 13 games on the schedule this week with six teams on bye. It's not an inspiring slate of games, to say the least, but we only have so much football left to watch. You never know what you have until it's gone, unless you're a Buccaneers fan. Welcome to the Watchability Index (Rating of "1" being the least watchable, and "5" a must-watch game).

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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

Outside of the Saints, the NFC South is a dumpster fire this year, but the Panthers have a chance to turn that around with another win. The Bucs are just hoping to avoid another MRSA breakout in the locker room at this point. Please don't ruin Doug Martin, Greg Schiano.

Watchability rating: 2

Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX

The Cowboys' embattled defense did a surprisingly good job shutting down the Ealges, even without DeMarcus Ware. Will they do it again against Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush? I have my doubts, but this should be a fun game with potential NFC playoff implications down the line.

Watchability rating: 3

San Francisco 49ers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (London)

1 p.m., FOX

If the NFL is serious about building a fanbase in the UK, they're really not making a strong case with a terrible matchup like this one. I imagine most Londoners will look at this game, shrug and go back to talking about their Premier League teams.

Watchability rating: 1

Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs

1 p.m., CBS

Picture a world in which the Browns acquired Alex Smith instead of Brandon Weeden. A limited quarterback who can excel in a stripped-down offense with a great defense that can carry the team to wins. The Browns came close to achieving that dream with Brian Hoyer, but the Hoyer dream died because Cleveland can't have nice things. They're now turning to Jason Campbell after Weeden somehow got worse by the week.

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In case you're wondering -- yes, the famous Browns quarterback jersey has already been updated.

Watchability rating: 2

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots

1 p.m., CBS

The Dolphins are so desperate for offensive line help that they traded for Bryant McKinnie, who was one of the worst in the league this season before being replaced by Eugene Monroe. Maybe the Miami night scene will help his production. Either way, the Dolphins have now dropped three in a row and a once-promising season is threatening to go off the rails. They will need their defense to step up against a Patriots offense that has Rob Gronkowski back. Not an easy task with Cameron Wake still gimpy.

Watchability rating: 3

Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints

1 p.m., CBS

How long can Thad Lewis keep this up? He's been a pleasant surprise for Buffalo, beating the Dolphins and narrowly losing to the Bengals in overtime. The Saints will be a big test for him thanks to their rejuvenated defense. But this is close to a must-win game for the Bills, who are clinging to slim playoff hopes at this point.

Watchability rating: 3

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

1 p.m., FOX

The Giants finally got a win, keeping the heat from the New York media off Tom Coughlin for at least one week. The Eagles thought they had a quarterback controversy until Nick Foles flopped against the Cowboys. Foles also got a concussion, so Michael Vick has the job back. Oh, and Matt Barkley threw three picks in emergency action, just in case Eagles fans thought he would be the answer in 2013.

Watchability rating: 2

New York Jets at Cincinnati Bengals

4:05 p.m., CBS

I have this earmarked as the potential best game of the late afternoon games. The Jets' defense is the best it's been in years and will keep them competitive every week. The Bengals are in the driver's seat in the AFC North after a big win over the Lions, and also have a fierce defense. There's a lot to like in this game.

Watchability rating: 4

Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders

4:05 p.m., CBS

I raved about Terrelle Pryor in this space two weeks ago. He then crashed and burned against the Chiefs and had a bye week, because that's how these things tend to go. Hopefully he will vindicate me this week. Something tells me that the Steelers will make a miracle run to the playoffs and continue to troll everyone who dislikes the Steelers.

Watchability rating: 2

Atlanta Falcons at Arizona Cardinals

4:25 p.m., FOX

The Cardinals have a chance to move to 4-4 and improve their place in the NFC playoff race. Meanwhile, the Falcons can jump to 3-4 and also improve their playoff standing. That is the sad state of affairs the NFC is in these days.

Watchability rating: 2

Washington Redskins at Denver Broncos

4:25 p.m., FOX

Did you love all the "MANNING VS. LUCK" headlines last week? I hope so, because now we have a whole week of "MANNING VS. RGIII" headlines. There is also a heavy dose of "CAN PEYTON WIN THE BIG ONE?" now that the Broncos lost. Filter out that nonsense, if you can. This should still be one of the best games of the week.

Watchability rating: 4

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings

8:30 p.m., NBC

The Vikings get to play on primetime two weeks in a row and might be going back to Christian Ponder after Josh Freeman got concussed. This is definitive proof that God exists, and really hates football fans. The Walking Dead might be more watchable than this one, and that should not be construed in any way as an endorsement of The Walking Dead. You'll be better off hitting up Netflix that evening.

Watchability rating: 1

Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams

Monday, 8:40 p.m., ESPN

The Rams are reduced to starting Kellen Clemens at quarterback, their defense has been worse than expected, and the Seahawks could have Percy Harvin this week. On top of that, most of the Rams fans will be watching the Cardinals in the World Series. I recommend you follow their lead.

Watchability rating: 1

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