CBS: Jim Nantz and Phil Simms have spent so much time the past few weeks working games with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos, they’ve decided to see what’s cooking with his old team, the Indianapolis Colts. That as they travel to New Jersey to face the New York Jets, on the final game of a three-game homestand – and what may also be the final game that Mark Sanchez starts this season, should Gang Green lose to Andrew Luck and the Lucky Bunch. There are only two undefeated teams left, and as you wait for the Houston Texans to play the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night, you can watch the Atlanta Falcons, as they host the Oakland Raiders, and hear Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf call the action as it unfolds – and you would think that the Falcons would be responsible for most of the action, as the Raiders are your typical West coast team playing an early game, plus they haven’t won a road game going back to all of last season. But, they are coming off their bye week, so anything is possible. And it appears that there will be a monthlong bye week for the Buccaneers as far as local television is concerned. The Bucs have once again failed to sell out Raymond James Stadium for the third time in a row: the opener vs. the Panthers (which is their only win thus far) and the game vs. the Redskins before the team’s actual bye next week. It’s probably a no-brainer that when an offensively struggling outfit in the Kansas City Chiefs visits a team that couldn’t sell out a home game if they were faced with a walk on the plank, a television blackout is inevitable. So for the benefit of the six states in the Midwest that will be able to watch this game, as well as the lone city in Florida cleared to carry the game, Fort Myers (WINK-TV), your announcers will be the great Marv Albert, along with Rich Gannon. (Marv should have a clause in his contract that he shouldn’t call games that are blacked out locally, he is that good.) How sad is the situation in Tampa Bay? The Cleveland Browns, at 0-5, the last winless team left in the league this season, is still selling out its home games. This week, it’ll be the second battle of Ohio, as the Browns once again square off against the Cincinnati Bengals, who upended the Browns by a touchdown four weeks ago. Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots will be your play-by-play people for this game.
FOX: The Detroit Lions are ready to roar after their bye week, but the Philadelphia Eagles will hear none of it. Kenny Albert, Daryl “Moose” Johnston and Tony Siragusa report from Lincoln Financial Field. Personally, I think the Dallas Cowboys/Baltimore Ravens tilt has a bit more luster (i.e. the appropriate assignment for Kenny, Moose and Goose this week), but I digress. Though it brings Brian Billick back to the city where he coached the Ravens for nine years, and led them to an improbable Super Bowl victory. Billick, who moonlights as an NFL Network analyst, will be providing the color commentary to Sam Rosen’s play-by-play for this game. And Chris Myers and Tim Ryan are taking their talents to South Beach – and so are Jeff Fisher, his mustache and his St. Louis Rams, as they try to build off energy from a win that knocked the Arizona Cardinals from the ranks of the undefeated (a victory that seems like two Thursday nights ago) by facing the Miami Dolphins, which Fisher was reportedly close to signing to be their head coach, only to end up coaching the Rams instead. The Fins fans will likely let him hear it throughout the game.
CBS: So who have you got for the big Tom Brady/Russell Wilson showdown? Granted, it’s no Brady vs. Manning, but the New England Patriots will find ways to put some points on the board (fourteen players listed questionable and all) as they play the Seattle Seahawks, in a game that will be called by Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts. And the aforementioned no-longer-undefeated Arizona Cardinals are hosting the Buffalo Bills, who were on the losing end of a 42-point deficit at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers last week. Could this week be even worse? Bill Macatee and Steve Tasker will let you know if it is.
FOX: Speaking of the San Francisco 49ers, it’s a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship Game with the New York Giants. As of Friday, Joe Buck was originally scheduled not to be working this game (with Thom Brenneman getting the assignment), as Buck was preserving his voice for National League baseball playoff games with his old buddy Tim McCarver. But since the Giants will be hosting Game 1 of the NLCS on Sunday night, Buck – never one to miss calling a game in which the Giants are involved – will call both the late NFL game and the opening game of the NLCS. So Buck will once again be working with Troy Aikman, and moments later, with McCarver. The question is, can the 49ers pull the rare task of winning three straight games against three opponents from the state of New York in back-to-back-to-back weeks? If they outscored their previous two opponents 79-3 (including a shutout of the New York Jets), I wonder if the Giants’ punter is going to be put to work early and often. And finally in the nation’s capital, Dick Stockton and John Lynch bring you a matchup between Christian Ponder and the Minnesota Vikings, and Robert Griffin III, who despite suffering an injury last week, is pondering starting for the Washington Redskins.