NFL TV Schedule Week 6: Must-Watch Games at Every Time Slot

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 8, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - OCTOBER 07:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers throws a pass during the NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on October 7, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

These days, with NFL RedZone or NFL Sunday Ticket, fans don't have to simply watch one game at a time as determined by the networks. Now, you have a slew of options every Sunday.

But if you were to were to pick the ideal game to watch at every time slot, which one would it be?

I've taken the liberty of answering that question in this article. While certain time slots are predetermined, since only one game is played during them, in general, this list comprises what I would call the games of the week. 

In other words, don't miss them.


Thursday Night

Matchup: Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans

When: Thursday, October 11 at 8:20 p.m. ET

Watch: NFL Network

Analysis: I know, I know, this wouldn't be one of your top options for weekend viewing if it wasn't on Thursday night, but it's the only football game available, which means you have to watch it. Those are the rules, football fans!

I don't care if this game were being played in a Tennessee prison—there's no way I see the Titans winning. Ben Roethlisberger has been fantastic this year, the defense looked as good as its been all season against the Philadelphia Eagles and Rashard Mendenhall gave the offense a spark.

Meanwhile, I expect Chris Johnson will rush 15 times for six yards and the Titans secondary will continue to run its patented "Waving White Flag" coverage.

Prediction: Steelers win 27-7


Sunday Early Game

Matchup: Dallas Cowboys at Baltimore Ravens

When: Sunday, October 14 at 1:00 p.m. ET

Watch: Fox

Analysis: It's Tony Romo vs. Joe Flacco, a battle of the "sometimes they are elite, mostly they're just pretty good and we're going to scrutinize them way too much" quarterbacks.

Insert deadpan "hooray" here.

In all honestly, this is a dangerous game for the Ravens. They're coming off a miserable week for the offense, winning 9-6 against the Kansas City Chiefs, while the Cowboys are coming off a bye. The Cowboys have played very well defensively this year, so the Baltimore offense best wake up.

This game will come down to two things: Can Romo limit turnovers, and will the Ravens be able to lean on Ray Rice and the running game if the Cowboys' top-rated pass defense stifles Flacco?

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I like the Cowboys, even on the road.

Prediction: Cowboys win 21-20.


Sunday Late Game

Matchup: New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers

When: Sunday, October 14 at 4:25 p.m. ET

Watch: Fox

Analysis: It doesn't get much better than this rematch of last year's NFC Championship game.

The 49ers have won the past two games by a combined score of 49-3, while the Giants are coming off a 41-27 win over the Cleveland Browns that was a bit hairy for the G-Men early on.

To be honest, this pick is pretty easy in my opinion: The 49ers are playing better football, are at home and will be looking for revenge.

Eli Manning or not, I don't think the Giants come out of San Francisco with a win this time around.

Prediction: 49ers win 30-21.


Sunday Night Game

Matchup: Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans

When: Sunday, October 14 at 8:20 p.m. ET

Watch: NBC

Analysis: There was a time many thought this matchup would be between two Super Bowl contenders. While that remains true for the Texans—assuming they beat the Jets on Monday night, they've been the best team in football this year—the Packers will find themselves a stunning 2-4 unless they win.

While in my heart I know that the Packers deserve to be a 3-2 team, I don't know who or what they are as a team just yet. They were outclassed by the 49ers; they outclassed the Chicago Bears. They had a game stolen by the Seattle Seahawks, survived against the New Orleans Saints and let their guard down just enough to get beaten by the Indianapolis Colts.

But if there was a team that could go into Houston and hand the Texans a loss, it's Green Bay. In a game that is hardly must-win but is certainly vital, Aaron Rodgers and an angry Green Bay defense won't let the Packers lose.

Prediction: Packers win 23-20


Monday Night Game

Matchup: Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers

When: Monday, October 15 at 8:30 p.m. ET

Watch: ESPN

Analysis: The Broncos may be a 2-3 team, but after you start your season with games against the Steelers, Falcons, Texans and Patriots, you can be forgiven for the slow start.

Peyton Manning has been fantastic, but the running game and defense have left something to be desired. Still, this is a Broncos team that is better than their 2-3 record suggests.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if the Chargers are as good as their own 3-2 record indicates. Other than stopping the run, this isn't a team that does anything particularly well, and they don't have an impressive win on the resume early in the season. Ryan Mathews makes them look better offensively, but I don't trust the offensive line to protect Rivers.

Prediction: Broncos win 34-24.


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