Regional Roundup: NFL Week 7

Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes makes an acrobatic touchdown catch as the Falcons beat the Buccaneers on January 3, 2010. This weekend will be the first time since then that a daytime Buccaneers game is sold out at Raymond James Stadium, and thus, airing on television in the Tampa Bay area.

Something that has not happened since the first week of 2010 will take place this weekend. What is it? Keep reading and you’ll know. CBS has the doubleheader this week.


CBS: The no-longer-undefeated Houston Texans are hosting the Baltimore Ravens in what many are already calling a possible “AFC championship game preview”. Of course, injuries to notable defensive players during last week’s games seemed to have thrown a monkey wrench in the reality of that kind of talk. But for what it’s worth, the two teams met in the divisional playoff round last season, so it should still be exciting. The game, which will be called by Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf, will be seen in roughly 90% of the country. Five percent (the entire state of Tennessee and most of the state of New York) will watch the great Marv Albert and Rich Gannon work the Titans/Bills tilt; the other five percent (Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, and for some reason, San Francisco) will get the Cleveland Browns at the Indianapolis Colts, and Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots guiding viewers.

FOX: Each and every one of Fox’s NFL games this week are being crammed into the early game window, as Game 6 of the NLCS is scheduled for Sunday night. However, the St. Louis Cardinals can easily wrap things up on Friday night and then wait it out with the Detroit Tigers for the World Series, which starts Wednesday, October 24. You know Joe Buck is rooting hard for his hometown Cardinals to take the series in five games against the San Francisco Giants. Then, for the second week in a row, he can snatch an assignment away from Thom Brenneman. Last week, he worked both Game 2 of the NLCS in San Francisco, and the NFL game before it that also just happened to be in San Francisco. Well, what do you know, Fox has tabbed Thom to work alongside Troy Aikman again this week – and once again, it involves Buck’s beloved Giants, who host the Washington Redskins. The other Redskins/Giants game later this year will be a Monday nighter on ESPN, so you know Buck will want in on the Fox game! Anyway, if, to paraphrase Russ Hodges, the Cardinals win the NL pennant, expect Buck to make his usual rounds at MetLife Stadium, and in turn, Brenneman bumping Sam Rosen out of the Green Bay Packers/St. Louis Rams game with Brian Billick. (Update: The Giants force a Game 6, so Brenneman and Rosen will stay put.) The other Fox matchups this week include the Dallas Cowboys visiting the Carolina Panthers, and the trio of Kenny Albert, Daryl “Moose” Johnston and Tony Siragusa handling that game. You also have the Minnesota Vikings, led by their ESPN-personality-dating quarterback, hosting the Arizona Cardinals, which will be worked by Chris Myers and Tim Ryan. And for the first time since the final week of the regular season in 2009 – January 3, 2010, to be exact – the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be playing a Sunday afternoon game that will actually be televised in Tampa! It’s hard to believe that the Bucs went from selling out all of their home games in 2009, a year they finished with a 3-13 overall record, to not selling out any of their eight home games in 2010, a year they went 10-6. The only two games at Raymond James Stadium that were sold out last season were both primetime games (a Monday night game against the Colts and a Saturday night contest against the Cowboys). And just as their last opponent in a sold-out daytime game at Ray Jay, the Atlanta Falcons, is a divisional rival, their next sold-out day game opponent also hails from the NFC South: the New Orleans Saints, who picked up their first win of the season just two weeks ago. And as an added bonus, viewers in Tampa will once again get to hear former Buccaneer John Lynch call this week’s Bucs game with Dick Stockton.


CBS: It’s not often the Eyeball network has the football field to itself. Usually, it’s the other way around, like in Week 1, when CBS presents U.S. Open Tennis in the late afternoon. But they’ve got the perfect game lined up for this situation: the Jacksonville Jaguars vs. the Oakland Raiders – oh, I’m sorry, that’s only for viewers in Northern California and Florida and South Georgia. The rest (the most) of the country will see the New England Patriots and the New York Jets do battle in the first of two exclusive NFL stages – these two AFC East rivals will meet again Thanksgiving night on NBC. This weekend’s game marks Tim Tebow’s return to Foxboro Stadium since he and his old team, the Denver Broncos, were eliminated from the playoffs last season. But I hear the Jets are going to use him as a running back! We’ll see how that works out. And of course, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms are handling the Jets/Patriots game; Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts are calling the Jaguars/Raiders contest from Oakland, which, by the way, avoided a blackout themselves.

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