Still waiting for the final verdict on what will be shown where – it’s delayed in part to the holiday, and in part to the wait to see what games would be of how much importance. With this being the final week of the season both networks get to broadcast two games, just like in the good old pre-merger days. Here is the lineup, with the broadcast teams (subject to change):

Early Games on CBS:
Texans at Colts (Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf)
Ravens at Bengals (Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots)
Jets at Bills (Marv Albert, Rich Gannon)
Browns at Steelers (Spero Dedes, Steve Beuerlein)
Jaguars at Titans (Don Criqui, Randy Cross)

Early Games on FOX:
Eagles at Giants (Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick)
Bears at Lions (Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston)
Panthers at Saints (Ron Pitts, Mike Martz)
Bucs at Falcons (Dick Stockton, John Lynch)

Late Games on CBS:
Dolphins at Patriots (Jim Nantz, Phil Simms)
Chiefs at Broncos (Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts)
Raiders at Chargers (Bill Macatee, Steve Tasker)

Late Games on FOX:
Packers at Vikings (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman)
Rams at Seahawks (Chris Myers, Tim Ryan)
Cardinals at 49ers (Gus Johnson, Charles Davis)

Sunday Night Football on NBC:
Cowboys at Redskins (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth)

No Monday Night Football this weekend.

Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will be the announcers for the Patriots game against Miami, which means that CBS is looking at this as their number one game. Whether or not that means it will get a bit more coverage west of the Mississippi rather than the Denver game is a distinct possibility.

I would guess that the Miami-Pats game will be shown on the east coast, while the Broncos game will be broadcast in most of the western half of the country. The exceptions would be the following:

– Northern California and southern Oregon, because the Raiders are playing late
– Southern California, because the Chargers are playing late
– Minnesota and Seattle will get no late CBS game; NFL blackout rules prohibit another game being televised when a team is playing at home.

Texas is a tossup: do they show the Pats or the Broncos in the Houston area? On one hand they could go with the Denver game because those teams are closer geographically and the Broncos are in second place. On the other hand the Pats game is CBS’ national game, so it’s tough to say.

In Boston and Providence there will be no late game on FOX, for the same reason; that network will surely broadcast the Giants game early in New England.

Normally in Patriots country they would show the Jets-Bills game, but not his week since that does not have any effect on the Patriots’ playoff seeding. Instead expect to see Houston at Indianapolis game throughout the six-state region.

I do find it a bit odd that CBS and the NFL flexed the Pats game rather than the Texans game; I guess that they must have figured that Houston would take care of business last week against the Vikings, making this a meaningless game. From a time zone perspective it makes more sense for that game to be played later.


Thursday edit: maps are now available. The New England area does get the Texans-Colts game early. Dividing line for the Pats game is approximately as follows: Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky … then back to the eastern seaboard, Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana. Most everything west of that get the Broncos game, with the exception of California and Reno, who get the Raiders – Chargers.



This Day In Patriots History


December 26, 1982:
Pittsburgh Steelers 37, New England Patriots 14 at Three Rivers Stadium

After consecutive shutout victories the Patriots had a rough day on both sides of the ball, falling to a 4-4 record. With one game remaining in the regular season in this strike-shortened season the Pats would need a win the following week to qualify for the playoffs.

Stanley Morgan had four receptions for 127 yards, including a beautiful 75-yard touchdown from Matt Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh also had a 23-yard touchdown to Lin Dawson. Third-string QB Tom Flick made a late appearance in what turned out to be his only game as a member of the New England Patriots.


December 26, 1993:
New England Patriots 38, Indianapolis Colts 0 at Foxboro

Drew Bledsoe passed for two touchdowns and Leonard Russell rushed for two more as the Pats scored their most points since a 42-20 victory over the Jets six years earlier, and had the biggest margin of victory since a 56-3 victory over the Jets in 1979.

Russell ran for 138 yards, including 97 in the first quarter alone. When the game was finished the Pats had run the ball a whopping 58 times for 257 yards and three touchdowns. In the 4th quarter backup Corey Croom got in on the action, scoring the only touchdown of his NFL career from 5 yards out for the final points of the game; he had a career-high 93 yards on 21 carries.

The Pats defense held the Colts to just seven first downs and 37 yards rushing on 18 carries; overall the Pats out-gained Indy 400 yards to 136 yards. With this victory the Patriots had allowed just one touchdown and 21 points overall in their last four home games.


December 26, 1999:
Buffalo Bills 13, New England Patriots 10 at Foxboro in OT

Usually reliable Adam Vinatieri struggled on a very windy day and Buffalo’s Steve Christie kicked the game-winning field goal with less than two minutes remaining in overtime with the wind at his back. The loss eliminated the Pats from the playoffs and if there was any doubt previously, it unofficially ended the career of Pete Carroll as head coach in Foxboro.

Terry Allen rushed for 126 yards and his 14-yard touchdown run gave the Pats a 10-3 lead early in the 4th quarter. Troy Brown had 124 yards on four kickoff returns and 31 yards on two punt returns for the Pats.

The defense played very well, limiting Buffalo QB Doug Flutie to just 62 yards passing through three quarters and also forced and recovered three fumbles. Chris Sullivan had a forced fumble and a pass defensed; he also stopped Thurman Thomas on a key third-and-short, and later tackled Thomas for loss of 4 yards. The injury-riddled New England secondary consisted of Kato Serwanga, Terry Billups, Tony George, Larry Whigham and Tebucky Jones. Despite going up against those backups, Buffalo’s first catch by a wide receiver did not come until late in the third quarter; Bills’ star WR Eric Moulds was held without a catch until the fourth quarter.

After Serwanga sacked Flutie on a third-and-four play with less than two minutes to go in regulation, Troy Brown returned a punt 17 yards to the Bills 42; on the next play Drew Bledsoe‘s 25-yard run gave the Pats a first down at the Buffalo 17. The Pats wound the clock down with three running plays to set up a game-winning 33-yard kick for Vinatieri, but it went wide right.

In overtime the Patriots were faced with a 4th down on the 31 yard line, but with the wind in their face Carroll decided to go for it; Buffalo was offsides, moving the ball up five yards. Carroll decided to let Vinatieri try a 44-yard kick, but it just missed, about a yard short.


December 26, 2004:
New England Patriots 23, New York Jets 7 at the Meadowlands

Corey Dillon rushed for 89 yards to set a franchise single-season record with 1,519 rushing yards as the Pats improved their record to 13-2 and clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs. Tom Brady threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns (to Daniel Graham and Deion Branch) with no interceptions, and the defense did the rest, smothering the Jets.

Despite being without stating corners Ty Law and Randall Gay the Pats defense held the Jets scoreless until late in the 4th quarter, and picked off Chad Pennington twice – once by Tedy Bruschi, and once by Eugene Wilson. In addition the Pats D held NFL rushing leader Curtis Martin to a season-low of 33 yards on the ground, while watching Dillon break the record he had previously held. That combination had Jet fans booing their team and streaming for the exits when the Pats went up 23-0 early in the 4th quarter on Adam Vinatieri’s third field goal.


December 26, 2005:
New England Patriots 31, New York Jets 21 at the Meadowlands

Mike Vrabel caught two touchdown passes and Corey Dillon rushed for two more touchdowns in the final game of Monday Night Football on ABC as the Pats improved the record to 10-5, while the Jets dropped to 3-12. Vrabel also had a sack, making him the only player in NFL history to have a sack and two touchdowns in a game.

It was the Pats fourth straight win and 6th in a row over the Jets, and their 18th win in their last 19 games.

The game was not really as close as the final score would indicate because of two 4th quarter touchdowns by the Jets; prior to that the only score for Gang Green came when Ty Law stepped in front of a pass intended for David Givens and returned it 74 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. The Pats out-gained the Jets 321 yards to 171, and controlled the time of possession by a margin of 43:21 to 16:39.

With the game out of hand a couple of greybeards made appearances at quarterback. 43-year old Doug Flutie completed the final pass of his NFL career, a 2-yard completion to Patrick Pass with 3:32 remaining; then with 2:10 to go 42-year old Vinny Testaverde completed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Laveranues Coles.

To rub salt into the wounds of Jet fans, if going 3-12 or losing to the Patriots was not bad enough, they couldn’t drink their sorrows away: stadium officials had banned the sale of beer after multiple incidents of unruly fan conduct during a Sunday night game a month earlier.


December 26, 2010:
New England Patriots 34, Buffalo Bills 3 at the Ralph

Tom Brady set an NFL record with 319 consecutive pass attempts without an interception, breaking the record set by Bernie Kosar 19 years earlier, as the Pats dismantled the Bills. Brady threw three touchdowns, all to his tight ends – two to Rob Gronkowski, one to Alge Crumpler – and Danny Woodhead scored on a 29-yard run. The Patriots did not turn the ball over, making it the seventh consecutive game they had played without a giveaway.

Defensively the Patriots excelled in weather that was bad enough to force the team to stay in Rochester rather than traveling home after the game. The final twelve possessions for Buffalo resulted in five fumbles, three interceptions, two turnovers on downs, a punt, and the end of the half. Patrick Chung and Jarrad Page had interceptions, Sergio Brown, Jerod Mayo, Dane Fletcher and Eric Moore each had a fumble recovery, and Fletcher, Gary Guyton and Kyle Love each had a sack.

Woodhead finished with 93 yards rushing on 13 carries and BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 104 yards on 19 carries; it was one of four games that Law Firm broke the century mark rushing as a member of the Patriots.

The game would also mark the final one in which Brian Hoyer would take a snap at quarterback as a member of the New England Patriots; he finished the game 1-for-1 for 22 yards.



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December 26, 1791:
‘Father of the computer’ Charles Babbage was born in London; the mathematician is credited with building the first mechanical computer.

December 26, 1891:
Author Henry Miller (Tropic of Cancer) was born in Manhattan.

December 26, 1893:
Mao Tse Tung was born; ruled communist China from 1949 until his death in 1976.

December 26, 1908:
Jack Johnson became the first African American to win the heavyweight boxing championship when he knocked out Tommy Burns in 14 rounds.

December 26, 1947:
Carlton Fisk was born in Bellows Falls, Vermont … hard to think of the former Red Sox catcher as being 65 years old.

December 26, 1955:
Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich was born in Gentofte, Denmark.

December 26, 1963:
Capital Records released the first Beatles single in the US: I Want To Hold Your Hand, with I Saw Her Standing There on the B side. In five weeks it would become the number one single in the US, staying there for seven weeks.

December 26, 1966:
Jimi Hendrix wrote the lyrics to Purple Haze in the dressing room of a club in London where he appeared in an afternoon gig.

December 26, 1968:
Led Zeppelin began their first North American tour in Denver, where they were the opening act for Vanilla Fudge.

December 26, 1970:
George Harrison became the first former Beatle to have a number one single with My Sweet Lord; ironically the song was originally intended to be recorded by Billy Preston, not Harrison.

December 26, 1972:
Harry S Truman dies at the age of 88.

December 26, 1973:
The Exorcist premiered; it would go on to be nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

December 26, 1976:
The Sex Pistols recorded God Save The Queen at Wessex Studios in London.

December 26, 2004:
An earthquake off the coast of Indonesia sets off a tsunami that kills over 230,000 people; it was the second strongest earthquake ever recorded and the death toll made it one of the ten worst disasters of all time.




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