Any complaints about poor matchups being scheduled on Thursday night should be put to rest this week as the 5-2 San Diego Chargers travel to Colorado to take on the 5-1 Denver Broncos in a battle for supremacy in the AFC West. The game kicks off at 8:25 pm ET and will be broadcast on both CBS and the NFL Network. Jim Nantz will announce the game with Phil Simms as the analyst in the booth, and Tract Wolfson reporting from the sideline.

For those that can’t get in front of a television set, the game will also be broadcast on the radio nationally via the Westwood One Sports affiliates; Ian Eagle (play-by-play), Boomer Esiason (color analyst) and Laura Okmin (sideline reporter) will be the voices for terrestrial radio.

Denver opened as a 6½-point favorite, and that total has moved up to as high as eight points in some venues, with most currently at 7½. Denver’s offense is leading the league in points scored (32.5 points per game) and is fourth in yards (394 per game), and their defense isn’t far behind at 20.2 points per game (tied for sixth best with Kansas City. San Diego owns the the league’s third-best scoring defense (16.3 ppg) while allowing only 316 yards per game (5th). The Chargers have also done a very good job of protecting the ball (3 turnovers, 2nd fewest), which has led to an NFL 4th-best plus-6 turnover differential.

The over/under on this game ranges from 50½ to 52 depending on where you shop, and the money line ranges from +285 to +320 for San Diego, and -360 to -400 for Denver. More on this game later this week, which right now appears as if it should be a gem.

 

For those that have trouble getting up for work Monday morning following a Pats game on Sunday night, here’s some good news: neither the week nine game versus Denver nor the week 13 game at Green Bay will be flexed to Sunday night. CBS has opted to protect Miami at Denver week 12, New England at Green Bay week 13, Pittsburgh at Cincinnati week 14, Denver at San Diego week 15, Indianapolis at Dallas week 16, and leave all of their week 11 games unprotected. FOX protected Philadelphia at Green Bay week 11, New Orleans at Pittsburgh week 13, Seattle at Philadelphia week 14, San Francisco at Seattle week 15, Detroit at Chicago week 16, and left their week 12 games unprotected.

As mentioned previously, there is also some of the new ‘cross-flex’ scheduling in effect this week, as two NFC teams (Seattle and Carolina) will play a game that will be broadcast on CBS. We saw the reverse recently when the Patriots-Bills aired on FOX to help that network fill their inventory of games when they had a doubleheader, with three late games. CBS will be broadcasting the Seahawks-Panthers game over almost all of the US except in the northeast and Florida. In exchange FOX got the Texans-Titans game, which is certainly the short end of the stick in that trade.

 

Here is a look at the rest of the week eight games. It is a CBS double header on Sunday afternoon, with the final two night games featuring all NFC teams – and kicks off with a very early (9:30 am ET) game that is being played in the United Kingdom. Since the Lions-Falcons game will be available everywhere, fans are in essence getting a double header (two games) on both networks. As always, keep in mind that individual stations can and will request changes of specific games being broadcast, resulting in some changes by Sunday.

Detroit Lions (5-2) at Atlanta Falcons (2-5)
Very Early game on FOX
Announcing crew: Thom Brennaman, Troy Aikman, Charissa Thompson
Lions favored by 3½, with a point total of 47
Detroit -190, Atlanta +165
Broadcast in all markets

Minnesota Vikings (2-5) at Tampa Bay Bucs (1-5)
Early game on FOX
Announcing crew: Justin Kutcher, David Diehl, Laura Okmin
Bucs favored by 3, with a point total of 42
Minnesota +130, Tampa Bay -150
Broadcast in central Florida, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota

Chicago Bears (3-4) at New England Patriots (5-2)
Early game on FOX
Announcing crew: Sam Rosen, John Lynch, Pam Oliver
Patriots favored by 6, with a point total of 50
Chicago +230, New England -270
Broadcast in New England, Pittsburgh, Ohio (except Cincinnati), West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Colorado, Wyoming, Las Vegas, southern California, San Francisco, Hawaii, West Palm Beach

St. Louis Rams (2-4) at Kansas City Chiefs (3-3)
Early game on FOX
Announcing crew: Dick Stockton, Donovan McNabb, Kristina Pink
Chiefs favored by 6½, with a point total of 43½
Kansas City +250, St. Louis -300
Broadcast in Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska

Seattle Seahawks (3-3) at Carolina Panthers (3-3-1)
Early game on CBS
Announcing crew: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Jenny Dell
Seahawks favored by 4½, with a point total of 44½
Seattle -240, Carolina +200
Broadcast in Philadelphia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and everywhere west of the Mississippi River with the exception of Houston, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming

Buffalo Bills (4-3) at New York Jets (1-6)
Early game on CBS
Announcing crew: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Otis Livingston
Jets favored by 3, with a point total of 41
Buffalo +135, NY Jets -155
Broadcast in Vermont, Springfield, Connecticut, New York and northern New Jersey

Miami Dolphins (3-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6)
Early game on CBS
Announcing crew: Andrew Catalon, Steve Beuerlein, Steve Tasker
Dolphins favored by 5½, with a point total of 43
Miami -255, Jacksonville +215
Broadcast in Florida (except Tampa) and Savannah GA

Houston Texans (3-4) at Tennessee Titans (2-5)
Early game on FOX
Announcing crew: Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa
Texans favored by 1, with a point total of 43½
Houston -120, Tennessee +100
Broadcast in Tennessee and southern and central Texas

Baltimore Ravens (5-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-2-1)
Early game on CBS
Announcing crew: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Evan Washburn
Bengals favored by 1, with a point total of 46
Baltimore +105, Cincinnati -125
Broadcast in Maine, western Pennsylvania, Maryland, DC, northern Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee (except Nashville), Houston, Missouri (except Kansas City), Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming

Philadelphia Eagles (5-1) at Arizona Cardinals (5-1)
Late game on FOX
Announcing crew: Chris Myers, Ronde Barber, Jennifer Hale
Cardinals favored by 2½, with a point total of 48
Philadelphia +130, Arizona -150
Broadcast in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, DC, Virginia, North Carolina, Jacksonville, Miami, Cincinnati, Arkansas, Oklahoma, northern Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Reno, northern California (except SF), Oregon, Washington, Alaska

Indianapolis Colts (5-2) at Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)
Late game on CBS
Announcing crew: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson
Colts favored by 3, with a point total of 49
Indy -150, Pittsburgh +130
Broadcast everywhere except Ohio, Arizona, Reno, northern California and Oregon

Oakland Raiders (0-6) at Cleveland Browns (3-3)
Late game on CBS
Announcing crew: Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots, Chris Fischer
Browns favored by 7, with a point total of 43½
Oakland +270, Cleveland -330
Broadcast in Ohio, Reno, northern California and Oregon

Green Bay Packers (5-2) at New Orleans Saints (2-4)
Sunday night game on NBC
Announcing crew: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya
Saints favored by 1½, with a point total of 55
Green Bay -105, New Orleans -115
Broadcast in all markets

Washington at Dallas
Monday night game on ESPN
Announcing crew: Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters
Cowboys favored by 9½, with a point total of 49½
Washington +445, Dallas -530
Broadcast in all markets

 

As far as college football games go, this week’s schedule does not look quite as good as the last two weeks, but there are still some interesting matchups. All times listed are for the eastern time zone.

Thursday Oct 23
7:00 – UConn at #18 East Carolina (-28, 54½)
8:00 – Miami (-2½, 49) at Virginia Tech [espn]

Friday Oct 24
7:00 – South Florida at Cincinnati (-10½, 60) [espn2]
9:00 – Brigham Young at Boise State (-7, 59) [espn]

Saturday Oct 25
12:00 – Texas at #11 Kansas State (-10, 49) [espn]
12:00 – Rutgers at #16 Nebraska (-17½, 58) [espn2]
12:00 – North Carolina at Virginia (-7, 65½)
12:00 – Minnesota (-6½, 55½) at Illinois
12:00 – Maryland at Wisconsin (-11, 56)
2:00 — #25 UCLA (-13½, 69) at Colorado
2:00 — UMass at Toledo (-16½, 70½)
3:30 — #1 Mississippi State (-13½, 59) at Kentucky [cbs]
3:30 — Michigan at #8 Michigan State (-17, 49½) [abc]
3:30 — Texas Tech at #10 Texas Christian (-23, 71½) [fox]
3:30 — #22 West Virginia at Oklahoma State (-1, 65) [espn]
3:30 — Boston College (-12½, 40) at Wake Forest
5:00 — #15 Arizona (-2½, 71½) at Washington State
7:00 — Syracuse at #21 Clemson (-14½, 47½)
7:15 — #3 Mississippi (-3½, 44½) at #24 Louisiana State [espn]
7:30 — #4 Alabama (-17, 46½) at Tennessee [espn2]
7:30 — South Carolina at #5 Auburn (-17½, 65)
8:00 — #13 Ohio State (-14, 51½) at Penn State [abc]
10:00 – #20 Southern Cal (-1, 56) at #19 Utah State [fs1]
10:45 – #14 Arizona State (-3½, 61½) at Washington [espn]

 

 

Follow on Twitter @AllThingsPats

2014 NFL Calendar and Key Dates for the New England Patriots

2014 New England Patriots Transaction Tracker