Bad news for out of town Pats fans. The week 16 New England Patriots at New York Jets game will only be available on the eight CBS stations in New England that always show the Pats games, nine New York stations, and Miami. This matchup was considered to be a huge rivalry game of national interest just a couple years ago; the lack of distribution for this game speaks volumes of how the nation as a whole considers the Jets to be completely unwatchable at this juncture.

Most of the nation will get Kansas City at Pittsburgh early on CBS Sunday, and then the Colts at Dallas late. Fox has the single game this week; most of New England will receive the Giants at Rams late, as Fox stubbornly still believes that the region is full of New York fans leftover from before the AFL was formed in 1960.

This weekend marks the first time that the NFL can broadcast games on a Saturday, thanks to a clause in the Sports Broadcasting Act from back in 1961. Philadelphia is at Washington in a 4:30 pm ET on the NFL Network, followed by the Chargers at 49ers at 8:30 on CBS. Both of the Saturday games offer a marked improvement over the first game of week 16. On Thursday night the NFL Network will be broadcast a game between two teams with a combined 24 losses as the Jaguars host Tennessee. Will their fan bases be rooting for a victory, or for a loss to help secure the best possible draft pick?

Some game(s) will be moved in week 17 from an early kickoff to a late start, to gain a larger audience based on playoff implications. The most likely candidate is Detroit at Green Bay, which will air on FOX. Both networks have a doubleheader in the final week of the season. If Buffalo is still in contention then the Pats-Bills game is a possibility to be flexed as well, but that could be counterproductive. Should other teams win early then Buffalo could be eliminated before the game starts, making it a meaningless game. Cincinnati at Pittsburgh would be a better option since at least one, if not both of those teams would likely be in a win-you’re-in, lose-you’re-done situation.

Jon Gruden has signed a new contract that will keep him on ESPN through 2021. Perhaps the unfounded speculation that he will become this team or that team’s head coach will finally cease… The Walking Dead is cable television’s highest rated show – it has actually drawn more viewers than Sunday Night Football more often than not this year – but they know when to step back. The show’s producers and AMC decided that the best business decision was to avoid going head-to-head with the NFL playoffs, so they scheduled a ‘mid-season finale’ on November 30, and then will resume the series on February 8 – which just so happens to be a week after the Super Bowl… The writer all Pats fans love to hate, Jon Tomase, has been hired to write for WEEI…

 

Tennessee Titans (2-12) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12)
Thursday night game on NFLN
Announcing crew: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson
Jaguars favored by 5, with a point total of 40½

Philadelphia Eagles (9-5) at Washington Redskins (3-11) ★★★
Saturday at 4:30 pm ET on NFLN
Announcing crew: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon, Stacey Dales
Eagles favored by 7½, with a point total of 50½

San Diego Chargers (8-6) at San Francisco 49ers (7-7) ★★★
Saturday at 8:25 pm ET on CBS and NFLN
Announcing crew: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Jenny Dell
Niners favored by 2½, with a point total of 41½

Minnesota Vikings (6-8) at Miami Dolphins (7-7) ★★★
Early game on FOX
Announcing crew: Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa
Broadcast in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Miami and Buffalo
Dolphins favored by 6½, with a point total of 42½

Green Bay Packers (10-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-12) ★★
Early game on FOX
Announcing crew: Chris Myers, Ronde Barber, Jennifer Hale
Broadcast in Wisconsin, Iowa, central Florida and Washington
Packers favored by 10½, with a point total of 48½

Detroit Lions (10-4) at Chicago Bears (5-9) ★★
Early game on FOX
Announcing crew: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Erin Andrews
Broadcast in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois
Lions favored by 7, with a point total of 46

Atlanta Falcons (5-9) at New Orleans Saints (6-8) ★★★★
Early game on FOX
Announcing crew: Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Pam Oliver
Broadcast in North Carolina (except Charlotte), South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas
Saints favored by 6, with a point total of 56

New England Patriots (11-3) at New York Jets (3-11) ★★★★★
Early game on CBS
Announcing crew: Spero Dedes, Solomon Wilcots, Scott Kaplan
Broadcast in New England, New York state and Miami
Patriots favored by 10, with a point total of 47½

Kansas City Chiefs (8-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5) ★★★★
Early game on CBS
Announcing crew: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Evan Washburn
Broadcast throughout all of the US, with the exception of New England, New York, Maryland, Ohio, North Carolina, South Carolina, Knoxville, Chicago, Miami, Tampa, New Orleans, Arkansas and Texas
Steelers favored by 3, with a point total of 46½

Cleveland Browns (7-7) at Carolina Panthers (5-8-1) ★★★
Early game on CBS
Announcing crew: Tom McCarthy, Adam Archuleta
Broadcast in Ohio, North Carolina and South Carolina
Panthers favored by 4, with a point total of 49½

Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans ★★★
Early game on CBS
Announcing crew: Andrew Catalon, Steve Beuerlein, Steve Tasker, Lewis Johnson
Broadcast in Maryland, DC, Knoxville, Arkansas and Texas
Ravens favored by 5½, with a point total of 41½

New York Giants at St. Louis Rams ★★
Late game on FOX
Announcing crew: Thom Brennaman, David Diehl, Laura Okmin
Broadcast in New England, Cleveland, Charlotte, Houston, Missouri and Arizona
Rams favored by 5, with a point total of 43½

Buffalo Bills (8-6) at Oakland Raiders (2-12) ★★★
Late game on CBS
Announcing crew: Brian Anderson, Chris Simms
Broadcast in New York and northern California
Bills favored by 6, with a point total of 39

Indianapolis Colts (10-4) at Dallas Cowboys (10-4) ★★★★★
Late game on CBS
Announcing crew: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson
Broadcast everywhere in the US except New York, northern California and St. Louis
Cowboys favored by 3, with a point total of 5½

Seattle Seahawks (10-4) at Arizona Cardinals (11-3) ★★★★
Sunday night game on NBC
Announcing crew: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya
Seahawks favored by 8, with a point total of 36½

Denver Broncos (11-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (9-4-1) ★★★★★
Monday night game on ESPN
Announcing crew: Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters
Broncos favored by 3½, with a point total of 47½

* Note: much of the distribution for FOX has yet to be determined – specifically for the western United States, Virginia, West Virginia, DC and Maryland. As is always the case, local affiliates may be granted a request to change the game they broadcast.

 

 

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