Saturday, September 2, 2006

Which NFL games will we get each week?

Welcome Boston Sports Media Watch readers. Make yourselves at home.

Every year I try to look at the NFL schedule and guess which games we will get to see on local TV week-by-week. This season, through the magic of the internet, I'm sharing this time-wasting effort with you.

Before I get to the schedule, let me explain some of the things that go into making these predictions:
  1. Either CBS (WBZ-4) or Fox (WFXT-25) will have a doubleheader each week.
  2. The Patriots must always be on local TV by league rule.
  3. If the Patriots play at home on Sunday afternoon, there must not be another game on TV at the same time, by league rule.
  4. If the Patriots are on the road on a Sunday afternoon, Fox will not show a game in the same time slot, unless they have a doubleheader that day.
  5. If the Patriots play in a national TV game (Sunday or Monday night) or have a bye, we will get the full slate of Sunday afternoon games without restriction.
  6. Early in the season, networks usually send us out-of-market games involving divisional opponents. Later in the year they will send the game most likely to affect the playoff races if an AFC East team is not threatening the Patriots.
  7. Fox usually sends us the Giants unless they are blocked by one of the rules above.
  8. The Giants and Jets never play at the same time, so one of their games will always be moved to either 4:00 or 8:15 once we get to the flex schedules.
During the last seven weeks of the season this year, the NFL is using a flexible schedule which allows NBC (WHDH-7) to choose which game will go on Sunday night, and lets CBS and Fox decide which games to move to 4:00 in order to create the best viewing matchups. Because of that, the predictions for TV games late in the season will probably be woefully inaccurate, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway. For more on the rules surrounding the late-season flex schedule, see

Anyway, here we go:

Week 1
Thursday, September 7
8:30 NBC Miami at Pittsburgh
Sunday, September 10
1:00 CBS Buffalo at New England
4:15 FOX Dallas at Jacksonville
8:15 NBC Indianapolis at N.Y. Giants
Monday, September 11
7:00 ESPN Minnesota at Washington
10:15 ESPN San Diego at Oakland

Notes: Even though Fox has a doubleheader, since the Patriots are at home on CBS, Fox can only show the 4:15 game.

Week 2
Sunday, September 17
1:00 CBS Buffalo at Miami
1:00 FOX N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia
4:15 CBS New England at N.Y. Jets
8:15 NBC Washington at Dallas
Monday, September 18
8:30 ESPN Pittsburgh at Jacksonville

Notes: CBS Doubleheader. Fox could send Tampa Bay at Atlanta at 1:00 if they are hot for Michael Vick, but I think they will stay to form and send the Giants.

Week 3
Sunday, September 24
1:00 CBS Cincinnati at Pittsburgh
1:00 FOX Carolina at Tampa Bay
4:15 FOX N.Y. Giants at Seattle
8:15 NBC Denver at New England
Monday, September 25
8:30 ESPN Atlanta at New Orleans

Notes: Fox Doubleheader. Since the Patriots play the Sunday night game, we get a full slate of out-of-town games. This will be the first real test of the "rules" above, as there are four potential 1:00 games on CBS. The Bengals and Steelers is such a huge game, that it will most likely be sent to us, even though Jets-Bills or Titans-Dolphins would be possibilities because they are AFC East opponents. Jaguars-Colts is another huge game.

Week 4
Sunday, October 1
1:00 CBS Indianapolis at N.Y. Jets
1:00 FOX Minnesota at Buffalo
4:15 CBS New England at Cincinnati
8:15 NBC Seattle at Chicago
Monday, October 2
8:30 ESPN Green Bay at Philadelphia

Notes: CBS Doubleheader. The only potential change I see would be in the 1:00 Fox game. If Vince Young has taken over as Titans' starting QB, Cowboys-Titans may be the Fox game.

Week 5
Sunday, October 8
1:00 CBS Miami at New England
4:15 FOX Dallas at Philadelphia
8:15 NBC Pittsburgh at San Diego
Monday, October 9
8:30 ESPN Baltimore at Denver

Notes: Even though Fox has a doubleheader, since the Patriots are at home on CBS, Fox can only show the 4:15 game. Since Cowboys-Eagles is the only 4:15 game, there is no way I can get this one wrong!

Week 6
Sunday, October 15
1:00 CBS Cincinnati at Tampa Bay
1:00 FOX N.Y. Giants at Atlanta
4:15 CBS Miami at N.Y. Jets
8:15 NBC Oakland at Denver
Monday, October 16
8:30 ESPN Chicago at Arizona

Notes: CBS Doubleheader. Since the Patriots have a bye week, we get a full slate of out-of town games. At 1:00 on CBS, Bills-Lions will be a possibility if the Bills are off to a good start. At 4:15, Chiefs-Steelers is listed as the CBS national game and could be the choice if the Dolphins and Jets start poorly.

Week 7
Sunday, October 22
1:00 CBS New England at Buffalo
1:00 FOX Green Bay at Miami
4:15 FOX Washington at Indianapolis
Monday, October 23
8:30 ESPN N.Y. Giants at Dallas

Notes: Fox Doubleheader. Panthers-Bengals is probably Fox's big 1:00 game, but between Brett Farve and an AFC East rival, the Packers-Dolphins will be the game. No Sunday night game due to the World Series.

Week 8
Sunday, October 29
1:00 CBS Jacksonville at Philadelphia
1:00 FOX Tampa Bay at N.Y. Giants
4:15 CBS Indianapolis at Denver
8:15 NBC Dallas at Carolina
Monday, October 30
8:30 ESPN New England at Minnesota

Notes: CBS Doubleheader, for what it's worth. All three of CBS's 1:00 games could be dogs, with Ravens-Saints and Texans-Titans the only other options. If the Jets set the world on fire over the first seven weeks, we could get Jets-Browns at 4:15, but Colts-Broncos is definitely the marquee game of the week.

Week 9
Sunday, November 5
1:00 CBS Miami at Chicago
1:00 FOX Dallas at Washington
4:15 CBS Denver at Pittsburgh
8:15 NBC Indianapolis at New England
Monday, November 6
8:30 ESPN Oakland at Seattle

Notes: CBS Doubleheader. No tough choices here. If Buffalo is off to a great start, Fox could give us Packers-Bills at 1:00, but most likely it will be Cowboys-Redskins.

Now it starts to get tough. From here on out (except for Christmas eve) I need to guess which game NBC will want for Sunday night, which games (if any) Fox or CBS will block, and which games Fox and CBS will move to 4:15. I'm not at all confident that I will guess correctly, since we have no idea who will be contenders and who won't, but it won't stop me from trying...

Week 10
Sunday, November 12
1:00 CBS N.Y. Jets at New England
1:00 FOX Washington at Philadelphia
4:15 FOX Chicago at N.Y. Giants
8:15 NBC Kansas City at Miami
Monday, November 13
8:30 ESPN Tampa Bay at Carolina

Notes: The best game of the week looks to be Chicago at N.Y. Giants. Fox blocks NBC from taking that game, and moves it to the 4:15 doubleheader slot. There are a handful of other games that could be interesting to NBC (Buff-Indy, GB-Minn, NO-Pitt, SD-Cincy, Den-Oak) but all of them include one team that just might not be any good, so the best bet here is Chiefs-Dolphins. CBS elects not to block since they do not have a national game this Sunday.

Week 11
Sunday, November 19
1:00 CBS New England at Green Bay
4:05 FOX Seattle at San Francisco
4:15 CBS Indianapolis at Dallas
8:15 NBC San Diego at Denver
Monday, November 20
8:30 ESPN N.Y. Giants at Jacksonville

Notes: CBS Doubleheader. Colts-Cowboys is the game of the day. CBS blocks NBC and moves the game to the 4:15 national slot. NBC takes Chargers-Broncos (If Green Bay isn't awful, Pats-Packers could be a candidate for NBC. Redskins-Bucs might also be an option). Since the Pats are on at 1:00 and Fox doesn't have the doubleheader, we're stuck with an awful 4:05 Fox game. At least the Seahawks will be OK, Lions-Cardinals is the other 4:05 Fox option.

Week 12
Thursday, November 23
12:30 CBS Miami at Detroit
4:15 FOX Tampa Bay at Dallas
8:00 NFL Denver at Kansas City
Sunday, November 26
1:00 FOX N.Y. Giants at Tennessee
1:00 CBS Pittsburgh at Baltimore
4:15 FOX Chicago at New England
8:15 NBC Carolina at Washington
Monday, November 27
8:30 ESPN Green Bay at Seattle

Notes: Thanksgiving weekend, Fox Doubleheader. Bears-Patriots looks to be the game of the week. Fox blocks it and moves it to the 4:15 national slot. CBS blocks NBC from taking Steelers-Ravens, so they settle for Panthers-Redskins.

Week 13
Thursday, November 30
8:00 NFL Baltimore at Cincinnati
Sunday, December 3
1:00 FOX Detroit at New England
4:05 CBS Jacksonville at Miami
4:15 FOX Seattle at Denver
8:15 NBC N.Y. Giants at Dallas
Monday, December 4
8:30 ESPN Carolina at Philadelphia

Notes: Fox Doubleheader. Seahawks-Broncos is the week's best game, and Fox blocks it. NBC takes Cowboys-Giants for the Sunday night game. CBS moves Jaguars-Dolphins to 4:05.

Week 14
Thursday, December 7
8:00 NFL Cleveland at Pittsburgh
Sunday, December 10
1:00 CBS New England at Miami
4:05 FOX Seattle at Arizona
4:15 CBS Denver at San Diego
8:15 NBC Indianapolis at Jacksonville
Monday, December 11
8:30 ESPN Chicago at St. Louis

Notes: CBS Doubleheader. This is a tough week to guess. Fox blocks Giants-Carolina, CBS blocks either Pats-Dolphins or Colts-Jaguars and NBC takes the other game. My guess is that CBS keeps Pats-Dolphins because of the larger markets and higher ratings, all other things being equal. CBS may move Pats-Dolphins to 4:15. If they did, Ravens-Chiefs or Raiders-Bengals would be the 1:00 game.

Week 15
Thursday, December 14
8:00 NFL San Francisco at Seattle
Saturday, December 16
8:00 NFL Dallas at Atlanta
Sunday, December 17
1:00 CBS Houston at New England
4:15 FOX Tampa Bay at Chicago
8:15 NBC Philadelphia at N.Y. Giants
Monday, December 18
8:30 ESPN Cincinnati at Indianapolis

Notes: Fox Doubleheader. Steelers-Panthers and Bucs-Bears appear to be the games of the week, and CBS and Fox block each game respectively. Not a lot else to choose from, so NBC goes with Eagles-Giants.

Week 16
Thursday, December 21
8:00 NFL Minnesota at Green Bay
Saturday, December 23
8:00 NFL Kansas City at Oakland
Sunday, December 24
1:00 CBS New England at Jacksonville
4:05 FOX Arizona at San Francisco
4:15 CBS Cincinnati at Denver
Monday, December 25
5:00 NFL Philadelphia at Dallas
8:30 ESPN N.Y. Jets at Miami

Notes: CBS Doubleheader. No flex scheduling this weekend because of the holiday. Cardinals-49ers is the only Fox game at 4:05, so that is the late game. Everyone will be watching Bengals-Broncos anyway.

Week 17
Saturday, December 30
8:00 NFL N.Y. Giants at Washington
Sunday, December 31
1:00 CBS New England at Tennessee
1:00 FOX Green Bay at Chicago
4:15 CBS Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
4:15 FOX Seattle at Tampa
8:15 NBC Miami at Indianapolis

Notes: Both CBS and Fox have a doubleheader. CBS blocks Steelers-Bengals and moves the game to 4:15. NBC chooses Dolphins-Colts because Miami is fighting for a playoff spot and Indy is fighting for home field advantage. Fox moves Seahawks-Bucs to 4:15.

Looking at the schedule, it appears we will get the Dolphins the Giants and the Cowboys 11 times each, and the Broncos 10 times. It also appears that we will see all 32 teams at least once.

Games on TV
16 New England
11 Miami
11 N.Y. Giants
11 Dallas
10 Denver
9 Indianapolis
9 Seattle
8 Philadelphia
8 Pittsburgh
8 Chicago
7 Washington
7 Jacksonville
7 Tampa Bay
6 Cincinnati
6 Green Bay
5 N.Y. Jets
5 Carolina
4 Buffalo
4 Minnesota
4 San Diego
4 Oakland
3 Atlanta
3 Baltimore
3 Arizona
3 Kansas City
3 San Francisco
2 Detroit
2 Tennessee
1 New Orleans
1 Cleveland
1 St. Louis
1 Houston

blog comments powered by Disqus

Post a Comment


No Drumlins Copyright © 2009 Premium Blogger Dashboard Designed by SAER