A guide to the best and worst of the NFL slate (and to which fans are stuck with the most of worst). Maps via 506sports.com.
Last week's winner, Kingman, Ariz., is the worst "screwed" victim so far, getting stuck with an absolutely terrible Pats-Bengals game and an ugly Cardinals win over the Panthers. More importantly Kingman was one of the few places that wasn't allowed to watch Broncos-Cowboys, which, I mean, holy shit. Here are your Week 6 NFL viewing maps:
Jacksonville at Denver: This game won't be contested, which means that the only way it can really be watchable is if the Broncos go gangbusters and put up 70 or something. The thing is, they won't. Why would they? The Seahawks took out their 24-year-old QB when they were up 31-0 over the Jaguars; there's no way that the Broncos keep in Peyton Manning—two years removed from four neck surgeries—any longer than that.
Cincinnati at Buffalo: The Bills might be just 2-3, but every one of their games has cleared the 40-point mark and been decided in the fourth quarter. This is a surprisingly watchable football team. The Bengals, who've scored 19 points in their last two games combined, are not.
Pittsburgh at NY Jets: First the Steelers rookies were banned from using the ping-pong tables, then everyone was banned. God knows what will happen to the ping-pong tables should Pittsburgh lose to the Jets.
Tennessee at Seattle: After the Titans lose this game, they'll just be a .500 team with Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB, and we can probably stop talking about them as one of this season's surprising contenders.
Oakland at Kansas City: One of the best rivalries in the NFL is suddenly relevant again. The Chiefs have managed to exceed their preseason expectations by going 5-0, while the Raiders have managed to defy theirs by not being absolutely horrible. The AFC West is starting to look like the scariest division in football.
Philadelphia at Tampa Bay: Do you think things could reach a point where there's enough lingering MRSA in Tampa Bay's facilities that teams refuse to play away games there? Would residents of Tampa, responsible for the second-worst attendance figure in the NFL, even care?
Carolina at Minnesota: In all the talk about the Josh Freeman signing and Christian Ponder's awfulness, you might have missed that the Vikings are actually the fourth-highest scoring team in the NFL, averaging 28.8 points per game.
Detroit at Cleveland: Brownie is back, which is still great, but, unfortunately, so is Brandon Weeden.
St. Louis at Houston: Deadspin's been a bit down on Houston and St. Louis in the past week, but this game's worth watching just to see the Rams' corners trying to jump every Houston route. Matt Schaub's thrown a pick six in four consecutive games.
Green Bay at Baltimore: Vonta Leach and John Kuhn face off in one of the most hotly contested fullback battles of the young season.
Arizona at San Francisco: The 49ers have gotten their mojo back, putting up 35 and 34 to win two consecutive boring blowouts. While the Cardinals have also won their last two, Carson Palmer has been an absolute disaster, with nine interceptions vs. five TDs and a 39.3 QBR. Football Outsiders gives him a defense yards adjusted (DYAR) of -131, fourth-worst in the league ahead of Eli Manning, Brandon Weeden, and Blaine Gabbert.
New Orleans at New England: The top-line numbers suggest a defensive battle between two teams near the top of the points-allowed rankings. But don't be fooled. Football Outsiders DVOA pegs both these defenses as mediocre (Pats are 14th; Saints are 16th). Unfortunately only one side is bringing a good offense to the table, so a shootout is probably too much to ask.
Who's Getting Screwed?
This week's winner is El Dorado, Ark., which inexplicably gets saddled with two Midwestern games in Cincinnati at Buffalo and Detroit at Cleveland, along with the rest of the Monroe, La. DMA. Louisiana Tech and Louisiana-Monroe are nearby. These two schools have seven active players in the NFL, only one of which (backup Browns tight end Keavon Milton) plays for one of these four teams. What gives?
The folks in El Dorado also get Saints-Patriots, which they're probably pretty happy with. They're right on the edge of Saints-fan territory, despite being significantly closer to Dallas.