NFL Watchability Index, Week 15: Playoff races and coaching hot seats

Elsa

After one of the wildest NFL weeks in recent memory, things might come back down to earth a bit in Week 15, but we'd love to be proven wrong again. Welcome back to the Watchability Index.

Week 14 might be the best weekend of football I've seen in a long time. We had blizzards, an NFL record for most touchdowns scored, and that insane ending to the Vikings-Ravens game that included five lead changes in the final two minutes.

There's almost no way Week 15 can top that, but there are still plenty of interesting matches on the docket, even if few of them directly impact the playoff picture. Let's go through each game again, rating their watchability on a scale of one through five.

San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos

Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network

There should at least be points in this one, but Denver might not have much problem putting away the Chargers' playoff hopes for good. This is the final Thursday night game of the season, and there will be much rejoicing when it's over.

Watchability rating: 2

Washington Redskins at Atlanta Falcons

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, FOX

Mike Shanahan is practically daring Dan Snyder to fire him, but for the moment it's proving as futile as George Costanza's efforts. Will he wear a flesh-colored bodysuit on the sideline? How about driving around the FedEx parking lot dragging Joe Gibbs' Lombardi trophies behind his car?

Come to think of it, the easiest route might be to just go on record and say that Washington's nickname is offensive.

Watchability rating: 1

Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns

1 p.m. ET, FOX

It didn't look like it a few months ago, but the Bears have the best wideout duo in the NFL. What's scary is they have a quarterback who can get them the ball on a consistent basis, whether that is Josh McCown or Jay Cutler. The Browns Brownsed it up again in New England, but with Jason Campbell healthy he's keeping Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron involved, making this a potential shootout.

Watchability rating: 3

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts

1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Texans officially pulled the plug on 2013, firing Gary Kubiak after another lifeless loss to the Jaguars, but it's not like the Colts have been hot, either. They got blown out by the Bengals and limped to the division title only after Tennessee lost, showing little signs that they'll make a serious run in January.

Watchability rating: 1

Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars

1 p.m. ET, CBS

Jaguars fans might be miffed at losing the No. 1 overall pick, but this winning streak could be a far more important development as Gus Bradley and company try to change the losing culture in Jacksonville. With the Bills, Titans and Colts on tap for the final three games, a 6-10 or 7-9 finish isn't out of the question.

The Bills, on the other hand, seem have to regressed even after getting key offensive players healthy. E.J. Manuel is simply not ready yet.

Watchability rating: 1

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins

1 p.m. ET, CBS

Tom Brady's deal with the Devil claimed another soul. Brady's Patriots erased a 19-3 deficit to win, but lost Rob Gronkowski to a torn ACL and MCL. At any rate, this is one of the few games with a direct impact on the divisional standings. The Patriots can clinch the AFC East with a win, and the Dolphins need one to keep pace with the Ravens. Should be exciting.

Watchability rating: 3

Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings

1 p.m. ET, FOX

The Eagles scored a big win in blizzard conditions and jumped into first place in the NFC East. Now they face a Vikings team missing Adrian Peterson in a cozy dome. Things could get ugly here.

Watchability rating: 2

Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants

1 p.m. ET, FOX

There's no shame in a close road loss to a divisional rival, but the Seahawks keep getting banged up at the wrong time. K.J. Wright is out with a broken foot and Max Unger has a strained pectoral, adding to a growing list of lingering injuries (Percy Harvin, Brandon Browner). It shouldn't be a huge concern against the Giants, who are just phoning it in now, but Seattle is looking over its shoulder more than it'd like to this late in the season.

Watchability rating: 2

San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

1 p.m. ET, FOX

The Bucs' defense continues to carry the team. Mike Glennon is going through his rookie struggles, but Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy have been brilliant for Tampa. David in particular deserves to be in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year. This could be one of those low-scoring slugfests that the 49ers always get themselves into. Those always tend to be fun.

Watchability rating: 3

New York Jets at Carolina Panthers

4:05 p.m. ET, CBS

Geno Smith finally threw a touchdown pass for the first time since the World Series. His reward? Getting to face an angry Panthers defense steaming from its smack down in the Superdome. Hide the kids if you have this game on.

Watchability rating: 3

Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders

4:05 p.m. ET, CBS

Instead of deciding on a starting quarterback, the Raiders are apparently content to go with some kind of Mountain West deal, rotating in Matt McGloin and Terrelle Pryor depending on the game situation. Because that was such a winning formula when Ken Whisenhunt tried it with Kurt Warner and Matt Leinart.

Watchability rating: 2

Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys

4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

The Packers probably won't have Aaron Rodgers back again, but after seeing the Dallas "defense" on Monday, I'm not sure it will make much of a difference. The bigger concern might be Eddie Lacy, who tweaked his ankle last week and could be a game-time decision. The winner here gets to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

Watchability rating: 3

New Orleans Saints at St. Louis Rams

4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

Now that the Saints have re-established themselves as the second-best team in the NFC, they go on the road to another comfy dome against a team that's 5-8 and just packing it in. I don't see much to get excited about here.

Watchability rating: 1

Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans

4:25 p.m. ET, FOX

The Cardinals are still in the wild card race, but suffered a huge loss when Tyrann Mathieu went down with a torn ACL. The Titans' normally strong defense got pounded by Peyton Manning, but Carson Palmer is no Peyton Manning. This might be a closer game than people expect.

Watchability rating: 3

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers

8:30 p.m. ET, NBC

The Bengals showed just how dangerous they can be when they're firing on all cylinders, pummeling the Colts and getting a strangle-hold on the AFC North. The question remains the same -- which Andy Dalton will show up on Sundays? That just might determine how far Cincinnati goes in the postseason.

Watchability rating: 3

Baltimore Ravens at Detroit Lions

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

After last week's winter wonderland, the Lions head back indoors for a must-win game on both sides. There won't be any snow to slip on this time, so Reggie Bush should be OK to play. The Ravens' offense got a much-needed boost with the return of Dennis Pitta, who played a big part in the craziest game of the season so far. If this isn't the best matchup of the week, it certainly has the most playoff intrigue.

Watchability rating: 4

More from SB Nation NFL

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Takeaways: Snow, blowouts and surprises dominate Week 14

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