Only four of the nine games in the early slate have any bearing whatsoever on playoff seeding. And one of them, Ravens-Bengals, could only possibly affect which team is the fourth seed or the third seed in the AFC, meaning Baltimore could only, combined with a Patriots loss to Miami, change which team the Ravens will host next weekend. That apparently isn’t significant enough that Baltimore feels they need to use their best player, Ray Rice, who is already reported to be sitting for today’s game.

And with most fantasy football league championships already wrapped up, it might be hard for some to find any rooting interest at all in this group of games. Instead, what’s left is a farewell tour for a bunch of teams that won’t be making noise until free agency and the draft, as well as coaches who are likely to be fired in the coming weeks. Most notable of those doomed coaches is Andy Reid, who can exit Philly in the least humiliating way by denying the Giants their last lingering hopes for a playoff berth. It’s also likely that this is our last chance to watch Chan Gailey, Pat Shurmur, Mike Munchak, Mike Mularkey and even also Rex Ryan in their current head coaching capacities.

As for Shurmur, as we wrote earlier this week, in his last death throe he will be forced to start former practice squad journeyman and Duke alum Thad Lewis at quarterback in Pittsburgh. In case you needed a rundown of starting Browns quarterbacks since the team was brought back from the dead in 1999, this fan can help you out.

via

Oh, and this has already happened today:


No chance that wasn’t Fitzpatrick.

Your early game slate, as rated for potential watchability by KSK’s patented four- and sometimes five-star system:

Tampa Bay at Atlanta *
New York Jets at Buffalo **
Baltimore at Cincinnati *
Chicago at Detroit **
Houston at Indianapolis ***
Carolina at New Orleans **
Philadelphia at New York Giants **
Cleveland at Pittsburgh *
Jacksonville at Tennessee *