Worst NFL games of 2013: Ravens vs. Broncos won't live up to classic 2012 playoff battle

Jason Cole
Yahoo! Sports

As competitive and balanced as the NFL has become, there are still corners of the league where hope is just that. Unfortunately, from the transitioning New York Jets to the seemingly directionless Tennessee Titans, there are plenty of challenging games for the NFL to sell to the masses. Or even just a few dozen people in Miami or Jacksonville. On top of that, there are some games that will be way overhyped.

Here's a look at the 10 worst games of the 2013 season:

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Dec. 15

Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars Unlike past years, I'm not going to spend too much time ragging on the city of Jacksonville. It's not that I like the city a whole lot more than in the past, but there's no sense kicking a team and a town when they're down. The bigger issue in this game is that neither team has a quarterback to save its rear and the draft is unlikely to produce anything of great substance. This game has the makings of Kevin Kolb vs. Blaine Gabbert. Yummy. Throw on the fact that the game will probably draw 40,000 fans, at best, and you have pure electricity.

Oct. 6

Houston Texans at San Francisco 49ers What? How did this game sneak in here? Shouldn't it be in the top 10, not the bottom? Well, a decent argument could be made for that and these are two teams that look like serious contenders. But if you remember back to last season when Houston had big matchups, the Texans generally got waxed one time after another. Aside from blowing out the Ravens at home, Houston struggled against playoff contenders. Green Bay at home? Destroyed. At New England? Beat down. Minnesota and Indy to end the season? Loss and loss. Rematch at New England in the playoffs? Give up 40 again. Like those games, this one looks like a contest where the Texans will get exposed in a big way.

Dec. 22

Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers There's probably going to be better action in the Qualcomm Stadium parking lots before and after the game than on the field. These teams are in the throes of transition, Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie trying to make up for lost time in his second season as Chargers GM Tom Telesco and coach Mike McCoy work to figure out how long it's going to take to regroup in San Diego (or if quarterback Philip Rivers is the guy to regroup around). These are lean times for the Chargers after wasting some golden chances.

Oct. 27

Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs In the final seven weeks of the 2012 season, Kansas City was held to less than 10 points on five occasions. Likewise, Cleveland wasn't exactly scintillating on offense, having been held to 16 or fewer points in eight games last season. The Chiefs may have Alex Smith at quarterback now, but that doesn't mean they are suddenly going to be an offensive juggernaut. Likewise, Cleveland is in transition with coach Rob Chudzinski and a front office that isn't exactly enamored with quarterback Brandon Weeden. This game has 10-7 written all over it.

Sept. 22

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets They may be division rivals in their first meeting of the season and they may have some interesting history, but boy does this game have stink bomb written all over it. It's only slightly better than Buffalo at Jacksonville in that the Jets fans could make it more interesting with their hyper-emotional responses and incessant booing.

Dec. 15

Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans It's hard to understand how Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer's career has become such a mess, but he hasn't completed better than 61.8 percent of his passes since 2007. By last season in Oakland, he was reduced to a jittery mess, half the time looking like he had no idea where the ball should go. Against that backdrop, you have Tennessee quarterback Jake Locker, who has completed only 55.5 percent of his first 380 passes. Yeah, there's still hope for Locker, who is a terrific athlete. But he wasn't accurate in college and there's little reason to believe he will be as a pro. Put it altogether and you have two former first-round picks at quarterback who don't exactly play to their pedigree.

Nov. 17

San Diego Chargers at Miami Dolphins The Chargers, who don't exactly have a fan base that travels, visit Florida this year to face the Dolphins and Jacksonville. It's fair to bet that neither game will be sold out, but the Dolphins game will have a much worse atmosphere. With the cavernous design of SunLife Stadium and the general malaise that Dolphins fans have developed over the past decade, this game will be lucky to draw 40,000 fans.

Nov. 10

Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints On paper, this is a great game. Last season, the Cowboys should have beaten New Orleans, but eventually lost in overtime on the way to dropping their final two games and missing the playoffs. That was one of five games the ever-underachieving Cowboys lost by a touchdown or less last season on the way to an 8-8 finish. The point of this is not so much that the game will lack drama or stars or storyline. What it will really lack is the magic ingredient that makes a team a serious contender. Barring unforeseen events, look for the Cowboys to lose this game, probably in bewildering fashion.

Sept. 22

Chicago Bears at Pittsburgh Steelers On paper, this could be an interesting game. But something tells me that this is going to highlight a couple of ugly trends for both teams. For Chicago, the lack of outward toughness that first-year coach Marc Trestman has always seemed to suffer from will be put on display in a matchup of teams that are defined by their brutality. Trestman is a smart man who has had great success in recent years in the CFL, but it's still up in the air about whether he will appeal to NFL players on a large stage. Likewise, the lack of game management skills that Mike Tomlin has demonstrated the past two years could get exposed if the game becomes anything of a chess match.

Sept. 5

Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos OK, someone's probably already sending a message to my boss saying that I need to be drug-tested or fired or worse. How can a rematch of such a dramatic overtime playoff game be considered one of the worst matchups in the league? Because it's not going to live up to the hype. The energy of Ray Lewis playing with his career on the line is gone. The energy of Joe Flacco playing for respect and a contract is gone. The pressure of Peyton Manning in the playoffs is absent. Throw in no Ed Reed and no Anquan Boldin, and you have a game that the networks will hype and the fans will come away saying, "Is that all there is?"

Check out all the team's schedules for 2013
NFC East | NFC West | NFC South | NFC North
AFC East | AFC West | AFC South | AFC North

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