Week 9 of this injury ravaged bloodbath of a season brings us a raft of games that probably looked really interesting on paper in September but will mostly turn out to be the dampest of damp squibs.
Sky Sports 2, 6pm.
New Orleans Saints at New York Jets
Fresh from a 49 point shoeing at the hands of the Bengals things don't get any easier for the Jets, who enterain the other quarterback who threw 5 touchdowns last Sunday. All the improvements the Jets have made to their D-Line will be of literally no help against Drew Brees and co and you'd fancy Geno Smith to struggle against Rob "the Dude" Ryan's actually quite good Saints defence (NO by 7+).
Sky Sports 2, 9:25pm
Philadelphia Eagles at Oakland Raiders
The Raiders could go the rest of the season without winning a game and still consider it a success for Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen who somehow keep fielding a competitive team despite having about $45m of dead cap room stinking up the place. Conversely Chip Kelly's Eagles are in freefall, with Michael Vick out yet again and the much vaunted "up-tempo" offence failing to outscore the quite hopeless Giants last week. Even with the miserable state of the NFC East neither of these teams will have anything to do with the play-offs, but Terrelle Pryor should power Oakland to .500 here. (OAK by 4-5).
Channel 4, 1:30am.
Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
With Matt Schaub now firmly part of the Texans' past (something about Houston having a problem) this seems to have become a rebuilding season for a team that didn't look in need of much rebuilding this time last year. They couldn't have picked a worse time to play divisional rivals the Colts, who are looking like a legitimate Superbowl threat after unseating the Broncos, 49ers and Seahawks already this season (IND by 7).
Eurosport, 1:40am Tuesday
Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
Another Jay Cutler injury ends another season for the Bears. Marc Trestman's team really looked like they were onto something before the bye-week, but key injuries on both sides of the ball have meant the Bears are falling away to both the Lions and the Packers in the NFC North. Conversely Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are thriving without Randall Cobb, Jermichael Finley, Clay Matthews and James Jones. No-one likes visiting Lambeau after October at the best of times, and this most certainly isn't the best of times for the Bears (GB by 7).
Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills
Do you know who Jeff Tuel is? No, neither do I, but he'll be starting for the Bills at QB against the Chiefs and their number one ranked defence and he won't have CJ Spiller to help him out. I still won't be convinced by the Chiefs until they beat a winning team, but Andy Reid's glorious revolution will continue here (KC by 7).
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers
What should have been a really good game between two high powered offences will instead be Matt Ryan and his third and fourth string receivers trying to keep the Falcons' hopeless defence in the game. After a very shaky start the Cam and the Panthers are beginning to look pretty special, and will become an even bigger part of the NFC wildcard picture here (CAR by 4-5).
Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys
It's safe to say it's all gone a bit wrong in Minnesota this season. The losses of Antoine Winfield and Percy Harvin certainly didn't help but ultimately this season has exposed the myriad flaws of a team single handedly carried to the play-offs by AD last year.
Dallas remain an enigma, but Tony Romo and Dez Bryant will make mincemeat of this Vikings secondary (DAL by 7).
San Diego Chargers at Washington Redskins
Could this be the lone competitive match of the week? For three quarters last week the Redskins looked to have the measure of a Broncos team that most have severely struggled against this season. That said the Redskins defence remains the second worst in the NFL (sorry Jacksonville) and Phil Rivers has been able to really make things happen with an actual, proper offensive line in front of him. If RG3 plays like he does against the Bears we might have a game here, but you'd fancy the Chargers to come back fresh from a bye and overpower the Skins here (SD by 4-5)
Tennessee Titans at St Louis Rams
As someone who hasn't seen any of the Titans this year I remain somewhat bewildered at how good Jake Locker has become (because he was AWFUL last year) and how important he seems to be to the fortunes of this fledgling Titans. His return is being vaunted as the key against a Rams side who have just lost their suddenly quite important QB for the season but played the Seahawks very close in midweek. This might be the one to watch this week (TEN by 3).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Seattle Seahawks.
A rookie QB, no Doug Martin and an 0-7 record. In Seattle. Oh, and Greg Schiano calling the plays. Batten down the hatches (SEA by 7+).
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
Baltimore have struggled to find their offensive identity this year, with Ray Rice struggling and Joe Flacco reverting to regular season Joe Flacco and not post-season ubermensch Joe Flacco. The newly post-Weeden Browns look a much more dangerous proposition than before but the Ravens will be buoyed by the glimmer of hope afforded by the Bengals' loss in Miami and should have too much for the Browns here. (BAL by 7)
Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots
For all the money spent in Miami, exciting rookie QBs in New York and Buffalo and all the receiving options lost the Patriots just keep on trucking thanks to Tom Brady and they hold a typically commanding lead in the AFC East. The Steelers' problems have been well documented in these threads before, and that woeful O-Line and geriatric secondary will cost them here (NE by 7).
Let's at least pretend to be interested, OK? It'll all be better next week.