When the NFL releases its schedule each year, certain matchups clearly are compelling. They stand out to players, coaches and fans - not to mention league officials and TV network executives - for one reason or another.
The Manning Bowl, pitting Peyton's Broncos against younger brother Eli's Giants. Andy Reid's new team, the Chiefs, against his former one, the Eagles.
Then there are those games that, before the season actually begins, appear destined to draw interest and eyeballs, but are no longer intriguing by kickoff time.
One example from 2013: Reigning NFL MVP Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings, a playoff team a year ago, against two-time Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger and the perennially relevant Pittsburgh Steelers at London in Week 4. Worth watching, right? Um, no, not really. They turned out to be a pair of dull, 0-3 teams.
Here's a Pick 6 of must-see games for Weeks 5-8 of the NFL season - and a bonus Pick 6 of must-avoid games, too.
CHIEFS AT TITANS, OCT. 6: OK, let's be honest here. Who had Kansas City and Tennessee with a combined record of 7-1 at this point?
SEAHAWKS AT COLTS, OCT. 6: Another 4-0 vs. 3-1 matchup, plus one featuring two terrific second-year QBs, Seattle's Russell Wilson vs. Indy's Andrew Luck. So far, Luck is 14-6 - matching John Elway for the best 20-game start by a QB drafted No. 1 overall - and he gets a chance to show what he can do against Richard Sherman and the rest of the talented Seahawks secondary.
SAINTS AT PATRIOTS, OCT. 13: Drew Brees vs. Tom Brady. Two teams that opened 4-0. Enough said.
JAGUARS AT BRONCOS, OCT. 13: The odds-makers already are talking about what could be the largest spread in NFL history when high-scoring Denver hosts Jacksonville, a club that appears to be one of the worst ever assembled. If Peyton Manning wanted to throw for eight TDs in this one, he probably could.
BRONCOS AT COLTS, OCT. 20: No reason to stop watching the Broncos, week in and week out, if only to see just how many records the older Manning sibling will break. This game provides an intriguing story, of course: Peyton's return to Indianapolis to face his replacement, Luck.
DOLPHINS AT PATRIOTS, OCT. 27: Week 8's schedule is filled with so-so games, but - given that the Bills and Jets could be out of the playoff picture by then - if any AFC East team is going to challenge New England at all, it could be Miami.
EAGLES AT GIANTS, OCT. 6: The NFC East is as bad a division as the NFL has seen in a long time. Through Week 4, the four teams are 4-12 - and half of the wins came against division opponents. There is no good reason to watch these teams play anyone, let alone each other.
JAGUARS AT RAMS, OCT. 6: Zzzzzzz.
REDSKINS AT COWBOYS, OCT. 13: Here's the ridiculous part: The Redskins, who enter their bye week 1-3 thanks to a come-from-behind victory against the lowly and injury-depleted Raiders, might be playing for first place in the NFC East. A once-heated rivalry that's now sad.
RAVENS AT STEELERS, OCT. 20: Another rivalry no longer worth watching. This pair of recent Super Bowl participants might already be in look-to-next-season mode.
BUCCANEERS AT FALCONS, OCT. 20: Things are going south in a hurry for Greg Schiano in Tampa, and Mike Smith's taken a step back in Atlanta. One apparently up-and-coming team and one possibly ready to really soar - instead, both are duds.
GIANTS AT EAGLES, OCT. 27: Consider this a rule: Skip all NFC East games.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
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