NFL Watchability Index, Week 11: AFC West showdown in Denver

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sport

There are a lot of good matchups on the schedule this week, and for once most of them are in the primetime television slots. Welcome back to the Watchability Index.

The bye weeks are almost over, and it's time to get serious about the playoff picture. There are six divisional matchups on the schedule in Week 11, and a handful of other games that could end up being playoff previews. NBC and ESPN execs must be happy right now -- they have the two best games of the week in primetime.

Keepers Week 11

Matt Ufford offers you fantasy advice on Riley Cooper, Colin Kaepernick, Bills running backs and more.

As usual, I'll rank each game on a scale of one through five, giving more weight to playoff implications than ever.

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans

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

This wasn't setting up to be a hot ticket in the first place, and that was before Jake Locker was lost for the year with a Lisfranc injury. So we have the Ryan Fitzpatrick Show again, which isn't something I expected to see in the year 2013. Then again, he's playing the same team that just got spanked by the Rams, so who knows what will happen here.

Watchability rating: 2

New York Jets at Buffalo Bills

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS

E.J. Manuel made his long-awaited return last week, but he played as bad as the practice squad fodder that filled in for him. Now he's going up against the Jets defense. This could be a recipe for disaster, but for which team? It wouldn't be the first time this year New York laid an egg in a game they should be winning.

Watchability rating: 1

Baltimore Ravens at Chicago Bears

1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Bears are turning back to Josh McCown after Jay Cutler got injured again. Their playoff hopes are starting to fade after falling to 5-4. The Ravens blew a 17-0 lead and needed overtime to beat the Bengals. And that AFC North race is starting to get tighter than expected.

Watchability rating: 2

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals

1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Battle of Ohio actually has some intrigue for once. The Bengals lost two in a row and their division lead slipped to two games, while the Browns are still hanging around in the wild card hunt. Cincinnati needs Andy Dalton to get back on the wagon soon, but that will be a tall order against Cleveland's strong defense.

Watchability rating: 3

Daltonface_medium

Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans

1 p.m. ET, CBS

Two teams with a combined 5-13 record and nothing left to play for except draft position. I'll pass. Not even Terrelle Pryor can make this one interesting for me -- he has regressed sharply the past four weeks and now has a bum knee, sapping his running ability. It was fun while it lasted.

Watchability rating: 1

Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars

1 p.m. ET, FOX

Don't look now, but the Cardinals are just one game behind the 49ers in the division and have a real shot to go 6-4 after this week. There was talk before the season about the NFC West sending three teams to the playoffs, but most people assumed the Rams would be that third team. Funny how things work out.

Watchability rating: 2

Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles

1 p.m. ET, FOX

The NFC East slapfight never ceases to amuse, but the Eagles have a chance to steal first place with the Cowboys on bye. They'll probably lose that chance anyway, because this is the NFC East and chaos reigns. Both defenses are a wreck, so there should be plenty of points here.

Watchability rating: 3

Detroit Lions at Pittsburgh Steelers

1 p.m. ET, FOX

The Steelers finally got a win, but at this point, I'm not sure if beating the Bills counts as a real win. They're still just a few weeks removed from giving up 55 points to the Patriots and now have the unenviable task of defending Calvin Johnson. Godspeed, Dick LeBeau.

Watchability rating: 2

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1 p.m. ET, FOX

The Bucs got their first win of the season last week and have a chance to score an important tiebreaker over the hated Falcons in a hotly contested battle for third place in the NFC South. Aren't you as hyped up as I am?

Watchability rating: 1

Distraughtbuc_medium

San Diego Chargers at Miami Dolphins

4:05 p.m. ET, CBS

So the Chargers got blown out by the Broncos. Relax, that happens to the best of them. They get a crack at the reeling Dolphins and can move back into the wild card picture this week. It's not enough to convince me to tune in, but this game should clear up a bit of the 4-5 logjam in the AFC.

Watchability rating: 2

San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints

4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

After an old-school slobberknocker against the Panthers, things don't get any easier for the 49ers defense, which now faces Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham and company. Vernon Davis is due back after suffering a concussion last week, which is much-needed good news for Colin Kaepernick. He's a completely different quarterback without Davis on the field. This is the best matchup of the afternoon games and these two teams could easily see each other again in January.

Watchability rating: 5

Green Bay Packers at New York Giants

4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

The Seneca Wallace Era lasted all of 4 1/2 quarters in Green Bay. They're now going with Scott Tolzien as the starter and brought back Matt Flynn to back him up. Aaron Rodgers isn't expected back until Week 12 at the earliest, and the Packers need him in the worst way after losing two in a row and falling behind in the division. Meanwhile, the Giants won three in a row and are still in the division race at 3-6. It's going to happen, isn't it? It probably is.

Watchability rating: 2

Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks

4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

Percy Harvin will finally make his season debut against his former team. Doesn't that sound a little too convenient? We need to get Dan On Fire on the case. As for the actual game, when Christian Ponder played the Seahawks in Seattle last year, it didn't end too well for him. Don't expect anything different here.

Watchability rating: 2

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos

8:30 p.m. ET, NBC

Probably the most anticipated game of the season so far, at least until the next time these two teams play. The winner will take first place in the AFC West and have the inside track on homefield advantage. Peyton Manning is expected to play despite his gimpy ankles, so get ready for breathless "updates" on his every waking move right up until kickoff. Has ESPN installed a "Peyton Ankle Cam" yet?

Watchability rating: 5

Manninghurt_medium

New England Patriots at Carolina Panthers

Monday, 8:40 p.m. ET, ESPN

There's still plenty of room on the Panthers bandwagon. They won five in a row and crept up behind the Saints in the division, thanks to arguably the best defense in football. That defense will get a huge test against Brady's boys on national television. I couldn't be more excited to see how this game turns out.

Watchability rating: 5

More from SB Nation NFL

Fumblr: Let's give Clay Matthews hammers for hands

Explaining the Carolina Panthers' surge

Welcome to the saddest club, Colin Kaepernick

NFL power rankings: Stage set for Broncos vs. Chiefs

Biggest Losers: The 36 worst seasons of all-time

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.