2013 NFL Schedule: The Primetime Games: Broncos, Falcons, 49ers, Giants, Patriots, Redskins Have Five Games Each

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins will play five games in primetime this season, starting with the 2013 opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 9 on ESPN.

Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins will play five games in primetime this season, starting with the 2013 opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 9 on ESPN.

Here is the list of all the primetime games scheduled for the 2013 NFL season.

Commentary to follow… Actually, I’ll get the back-patting out of the way early: I called the Ravens/Broncos opener on September 5, and I called the Washington Redskins getting five primetime games this season, up from just one last year.

And here are the games:

Thursday, September 5 – Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Sunday, September 8 – New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 9 – Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins – 7:10 PM ET – ESPN

Monday, September 9 –  Houston Texans @ San Diego Chargers – 10:20 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, September 12 – New York Jets @ New England Patriots – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, September 15 – San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 16 – Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, September 19 – Kansas City Chiefs @ Philadelphia Eagles – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, September 22 – Chicago Bears @ Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 23 – Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, September 26 – San Francisco 49ers @ St. Louis Rams – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, September 29 – New England Patriots @ Atlanta Falcoms – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 30 – Miami Dolphins @ New Orleans Saints – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 3 – Buffalo Bills @ Cleveland Browns – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 6 – Houston Texans @ San Francisco 49ers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 7 – New York Jets @ Atlanta Falcons – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 10 – New York Giants @ Chicago Bears – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 13 – Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 14 – Indianapolis Colts @ San Diego Chargers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 17 – Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 20 – Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 21 – Minnesota Vikings @ New York Giants – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 24 – Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 27 – Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 28 – Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 31 – Cincinnati Bengals @ Miami Dolphins – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 3 – Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 4 – Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 7 – Washington Redskins @ Minnesota Vikings – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 10 – Dallas Cowboys @ New Orleans Saints – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 11 – Miami Dolphins @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 14 –Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 17 – Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 18 – New England Patriots @ Carolina Panthers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 21 – New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 24 – Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 25 – San Francisco 49ers @ Washington Redskins – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 28 (Thanksgiving) – Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Sunday, December 1 – New York Giants @ Washington Redskins – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 2 – New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, December 5 – Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, December 8 – Atlanta Falcons @ Green Bay Packers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 9 – Dallas Cowboys @ Chicago Bears – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, December 12 – San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, December 15 – Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 16 – Baltimore Ravens @ Detroit Lions – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Sunday, December 22 – New England Patriots @ Baltimore Ravens – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 23 – Atlanta Falcons @ San Francisco 49ers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Sunday, December 29 – [Teams to be determined following Week 16] – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

TEAMS WITH FIVE PRIMETIME GAMES: Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins.

TEAMS WITH FOUR PRIMETIME GAMES: Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks.

TEAMS WITH THREE PRIMETIME GAMES: Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers.

TEAMS WITH TWO PRIMETIME GAMES: Carolina Panthers, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

TEAMS WITH ONE PRIMETIME GAME: Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans.

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OBSERVATIONS: So, let me get this straight: The Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl, yet the runner-up gets one more primetime game in the ensuing season than the World Champions? Explain that to me.

Also, explain to me how the NFL didn’t greenlight the Denver Broncos going to Dallas on Thanksgiving Day. This was a given when the AFC opponents for the Cowboys were released at the top of the year. Or so I thought. Now, it’s going to be a chance to pass out with tryptophan in between another Packers/Lions matinee and the Ravens hosting another Thanksgiving night game, this time against the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers.

I wonder if Peyton Manning not getting a Thanksgiving date with Tony Romo was a byproduct of the Broncos actually hosting the NFL kickoff game.

Predictably, the Eagles/Chiefs game with Andy Reid bringing a new squad into Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia is an NFL Network Thursday night affair.

Predictably, that’s the Chiefs’ lone primetime game. The Jaguars’ sole primetime tilt in 2013 is also on NFLN, as was the case last year. Ditto for the Browns and the Bills, who actually play each other on an NFLN game; the Bills and the Dolphins killed two birds with one Thursday night primetime stone last season.

Thr Dolphins improve from one primetime game last year to three this year. Same with the Vikings. The Colts go from one primetime game last season to four this season. And I’ve already told you about the Redskins’ maxing out at five games, up from one last year.

Further proof NBC loves the NFC East: The Cowboys and Giants open the “Sunday Night Football” 2013 campaign. The Cowboys will appear on “SNF” three times this year, as will the Giants. Two of the Redskins’ five night contests are on NBC; two of them will air on ESPN. Eagles? Nowhere to be found on NBC’s initial schedule. Of course, the latter half of the season allows flex scheduling, so if the Eagles are actually a good team, they’ll likely see more than just the two games (down from five last year() they’ve been scheduled this year. In other words: the Cowboys/Eagles game that was not flexed out late last season might be the last time in awhile you’ll hear Al Michaels working an Eagles game.

And for the first time in recent memory, there are no Saturday games scheduled. The Bay City Rollers will now have to find alternate ways to be preoccupied this year.

Regional Roundup: NFL Week 17

 

Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will be working a game featuring the New England Patriots for the sixth time this season, when the Pats host the Miami Dolphins from Foxboro.

We’ve once again reached the final week of the regular season of the NFL. And so, as 2012 becomes 2013, 32 teams become 12 (with four of them on a bye week). And each and every game will be on Sunday. No Monday night game, and no Thursday night game. And the Sunday night game, as first speculated here, is going to be Cowboys/Redskins for the NFC East division title. And yes, both CBS and Fox have doubleheaders, except in markets where a team will be hosting a game, or a team fails to sell enough tickets (hello, Buffalo!). The SportsFans.org website actually tallied a grand total of fourteen games being blacked out locally this season, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers leading the way with six blackouts. The San Diego Chargers are right behind them with four games – but they won’t be adding (subtracting?) to that total this year, as their home finale (which will likely be the finale of Norv Turner’s coaching career and A.J. Smith’s general managing career in San Diego) against the Oakland Raiders has been sold out. I guess they’re happy to see Norv and A.J. go, huh?

EARLY GAMES

CBS: Virtually everybody west of U.S. Route 31 will be watching the Houston Texans play the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium, a.k.a. The House That Peyton Built. And Peyton’s eventual successor, Andrew Luck, is no Wally Pipp, potentially leading his team to a playoff berth in his rookie season. Just two weeks ago in Houston, the Texans defeated the Colts, clinching the AFC South division. Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf call this rematch. Of course, every single game on this weekend’s roster is a rematch, as they’re all games between division rivals. Remember back in Week 1, when Mark Sanchez and the Jets blew out the Bills in New Jersey? Well, as you read in the opening paragraph, Western New York wants no part of the Jets again, which means Marv Albert and Rich Gannon will be working a game that will only be seen in New York City and Albany and their surrounding areas. Reminds me of last season, when the great Marv Albert did a Jets/Eagles game, while most of the rest of the country watched the Patriots vs. the Broncos (and Tim Tebow). The Cincinnati Bengals, who were notorious for games being blacked out last year, only had one such game this season – and it was their win against the reigning Super Bowl champions, the New York Giants. This week, the Bengals face the team that just beat said Giants last week, the Baltimore Ravens, and Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots are assigned to that game. The Pittsburgh Steelers, another AFC North team that defeated the G-Men this year, host the Cleveland Browns, in a game that will be called by Spero Dedes and Steve Beuerlein. And in a game that has no playoff implications whatsoever, the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13) take on the Tennessee Titans (5-10), and for those who have the will to watch it, especially now that Maurice Jones-Drew just went on injured reserve, you’ll hear Don Criqui and Randy Cross interpreting game action for you.

FOX: Looks like the NFC North is going to be split between Fox’s top broadcast booths. First, the trio of Kenny Albert, Daryl “Moose” Johnston and Tony Siragusa will work a game between the Chicago Bears, who are in danger of missing the playoffs, and the Detroit Lions, whose current losing streak pretty much puts an end to any playoff aspirations they may have had this year. Two more teams that also had playoff aspirations this season: the Philadelphia Eagles, who will likely part ways with head coach Andy Reid next week and quarterback Michael Vick next year, and the New York Giants, who have parted ways with the desire to win football games over the past couple of months. Earlier this year on a Sunday nighter in Philly, the Eagles beat the Giants; it would be the last game they would win until they got off the schneid in Tampa earlier this month. The rematch will be worked by Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick, the former Ravens head coach who has been rumored to assume Reid’s job next year. The other two matchups in Fox’s early game window all involve the NFC South division. The Atlanta Falcons, who clinched the division and the number one seed in the NFC overall, entertain the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; working this game will be Dick Stockton and former Buc John Lynch. And the Carolina Panthers travel to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome (not in Benzes, I’m assuming) to take on the New Orleans Saints; assigned to this matchup are Ron Pitts and Mike Martz, who never worked for the Saints, though he did coach the St. Louis Rams.

LATE GAMES

CBS: For the sixth time this season, Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will be working a game involving the New England Patriots. The six-pack includes a trip to jolly ol’ England, as you recall. This week, the also-rans in last year’s Super Bowl host the Miami Dolphins. For the record, Gumbel and Dierdorf worked their previous matchup back in Week 13. Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts actually called a Patriots game this season (granted, it was against a lesser opponent) and this week, they’ll be in Denver, where the Broncos, behind Peyton Manning, will face the Kansas City Chiefs (poor Ian and Dan). And calling the Oakland Raiders/San Diego Chargers game that will not be blacked out in Baja California are Bill Macatee and Steve Tasker (poor Bill and Steve).

FOX: This week’s Green Bay Packers/Minnesota Vikings game is assigned to the A-team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, and for good reason: Adrian Peterson could break Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record. He needs about 200 yards to do so – which, given AP’s body of work, isn’t entirely impossible, but perhaps he can run the Vikings into the postseason, as a playoff berth is also on the line for Minnesota. As you read last week, this game was also a candidate, in my view, of being flexed into Sunday night this week. The St. Louis Rams and the Seattle Seahawks, who ended the regular season in NBC’s Sunday night spotlight two years ago – and could have possibly done so again this season, especially if a “win or go home” situation presented itself – will settle for Chris Myers and Tim Ryan instead of Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth. And speaking of notable announcers, Gus Johnson will once again get the call for an NFL game, as he and Charles Davis work the regular season finale for the playoff-bound San Francisco 49ers and the January-could-not-come-soon-enough Arizona Cardinals.

My next roundup will be in roughly ten weeks, when NCAA March Madness once again takes its toll. Thanks for reading.

Information from the506.com was used in this post.

Regional Roundup: NFL Week 16

Former Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green lashed out after losing a game at home to the Chicago Bears in 2006. These teams meet in Glendale once again this weekend.

It’s the penultimate week of the 2012 NFL regular season, and since there are only two primetime games this week – 49ers/Seahawks on Sunday night on NBC, and Falcons/Lions in a Saturday night edition of “Monday Night Football” on ESPN; remember, NFL Network’s “Thursday Night Football” season concluded last week – there is a whopping fourteen games on tap on Sunday afternoon. This week, Fox has the doubleheader, yet they have six games to CBS’ eight. Previously, both were set for seven apiece, until NBC opted to take a Fox (NFC) game for “Sunday Night Football” and flex out an AFC game – Chargers/Jets – to CBS. Oh, and no Gus Johnson game this week. Now you know. And knowing is half the battle. And if you knew immediately after the Eagles ended their eight-game losing streak with a last-second victory in Tampa two weeks ago, that this week’s Buccaneers game would be blacked out, well, you’re a bigger soothsayer than I thought.

EARLY GAMES

CBS: By the way, of those eight games on CBS’ docket, all but one are in their early game window. And of these seven games, three are divisional matchups – noen bigger than the one Jim Nantz and Phil Simms are working: the Pittsburgh Steelers, at 7-7 on the year, host the Cincinnati Bengals, who are a game up on them. Both teams are behind the Baltimore Ravens, who currently sit atop the AFC North, yet have lost three straight games. So not only is a wild card berth at stake for the Bengals and the Steelers, but perhaps the top spot in the division, as well. The Green Bay Packers have already clinched the NFC North division, and have a chance for a first-round bye if they take care of business against the Tennessee Titans; Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf will be at Lambeau Field. As for the team that just lost in primetime to the Titans, the New York Jets, they mercifully have a second straight primetime dud of a game averted as their home finale against the San Diego Chargers, once penciled in for Sunday night on NBC, is kicked to CBS as a 1 PM game. And while both of these teams bear losing records and will be losing their general managers (at the very least) next season, who benefits from this game? You do, because the great Marv Albert, along with his compadre Rich Gannon, are assigned to this matchup. The team that embarrassed the Jets during their last home game in primetime, the New England Patriots, travel to Jacksonville to make jigsaw puzzle pieces out of the Jaguars, in a game that will be called by Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots. Also, the Oakland Raiders visit Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, and viewers watching this game will be greeted by Spero Dedes and former Panthers quarterback Steve Beuerlein. Well, I told you at the start of this paragraph that CBS was running three division games during this window, none bigger than Bengals/Steelers – and ain’t it the truth: the Kansas City Chiefs host the Indianapolis Colts (okay, so it won’t be all that bad with Andrew Luck involved – but it might get ugly in a hurry); Bill Macatee and Steve Tasker will work this game from Arrowhead Stadium. And you know CBS has a heavy NFL workload when they have to bring in Don Criqui to call a game; in this case, it’s Buffalo at Miami. Criqui will be joined by CBS college football analyst and current morning show co-host on CBS Radio’s new 92.9 The Game in Atlanta, Randy Cross (Criqui and Cross both called NFL games regularly on CBS for years). So the end of the world has not happened, which means people still have bills to pay – and of course, the matter is worse in upstate New York, where they still have to watch them.

FOX: The Dallas Cowboys, like the other 31 teams in the NFL, have aspirations of going to the Super Bowl, which this year takes place in New Orleans. But for the Cowboys, who are in a three-way logjam in first place in the NFC East, the road to New Orleans goes through – well, New Orleans, kinda. The Saints march into Jerry World, as will Kenny Albert, Daryl “Moose” Johnston and Tony Siragusa to interpret game action to viewers. And let’s just get this out of the way: the St. Louis Rams, who at 6-7-1 see the playoff glass half-empty, will play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who themselves saw their playoff hopes dashed, in a half-full Raymond James Stadium; as a result, six of the Bucs’ eight home games on the season will be blacked out on local television. Still, Ron Pitts and former Rams coach Mike Martz will be working this one; how much the Bucs will work it is anyone’s guess. The road teams involved in these next two games could possibly be traveling to “Sunday Night Football” next week: The Philadelphia Eagles, who handed the Bucs a loss in the last game they were able to sell out at home, will be playing what is likely the final game in South Philly with one Andrew Walter Reid on the sidelines. And who better to yank the hot seat from under him but the Washington Redskins, winners of five straight games, four of them behind Robert Griffin III, who is slated to return under center this weekend. And returning to Lincoln Financial Field are Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick. The Redskins are one of three teams deadlocked in first place in the NFC East, and next week, they host the Cowboys, so chances are, that game will be flexed to primetime in Week 17. Or could it be the game in which Adrian Peterson might break a 28-year rushing record? Next week, the Minnesota Vikings will host the Packers, but first, the team led by their reliable running back must travel to Reliant Stadium to face another division winner, the AFC South-winning Houston Texans. If Peterson manages to rush for about 150 yards – he’ll only need about 150 more to break Eric Dickerson’s record – and also, if the Vikings manage to win the game, they might find themselves playing under the lights, not only for (possibly) a playoff berth, but history, as well. As for Vikings/Texans, this contest will be worked by Chris Myers and Tim Ryan. Gee, I wonder if Christian Ponder’s new wife, Austin resident Samantha Steele, is going to attend this game.

LATE GAMES

CBS: There’s just one game in CBS’ late window, and the only people that it matters to the most are gamblers and people who have Peyton Manning on their fantasy football team in the finals. That’s right, the Denver Broncos, who at this point of the season have as many wins (eleven) in the AFC West as the rest of the teams in the division combined, plan to put their winning streak into double digits against the Cleveland Browns. Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts will call the game from Invesco High Authority, or whatever it’s called these days.

FOX: The third team in a three-way tie for first in the NFC East, the New York Giants, have coughed up sole ownership of the division lead, while the Baltimore Ravens, losers of three straight games, are in danger of doing it themselves in the AFC North. Joe Buck and Troy Aikman work this game which bears severe playoff implications in both conferences. And speaking of conferences – and bears – do you remember this?

This instant classic from then-Arizona Cardinals head coach Dennis Green came after his team had lost a Monday nighter to the Chicago Bears, who had overcome a 20-0 halftime deficit, improving their undefeated record to 6-0. Fast forward to 2012, and over their last six games, the Bears are not who we thought they were, seeing a 7-1 record slip to 8-6, tied with the Vikings for second place in the NFC North. As for the team in the cellar of that division, the Detroit Lions, they had their asses crowned by the Cardinals last week (not bad for a team that lost by almost 60 points the previous week), and if this game, which will be worked by Dick Stockton and John Lynch, shows Arizona victorious for the second week in a row, well… I’ll just be waiting to see Lovie Smith surface as an analyst on NFL Network one day.

Information from the506.com was used in this post.

2012 NFL Schedule: The Primetime Games: Bears, Broncos, Chargers, Eagles, 49ers, Giants, Packers, Steelers Have Five Games Each

Mark your calendars: Here's the complete listing of primetime games scheduled for the 2012 NFL season.

Here is the list of all of the primetime games scheduled for the 2012 NFL season. Commentary to follow…

Wednesday, September 5 – Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Sunday, September 9 – Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 10 – Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens – 7 PM ET – ESPN

Monday, September 10 – San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders – 10:15 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, September 13 – Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers – 8:20 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, September 16 – Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 17 – Denver Broncos at Atlanta Falcons – 8:30 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, September 20 – New York Giants at Carolina Panthers – 8:20 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, September 23 – New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 24 – Green Bay Packers at Seattle Seahawks – 8:30 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, September 27 – Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens – 8:20 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, September 30 – New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 1 – Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys – 8:30 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 4 – Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams – 8:20 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 7 – San Diego Chargers at New Orleans Saints – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 8 – Houston Texans at New York Jets – 8:30 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 11 – Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans – 8:20 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 14 – Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 15 – Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers – 8:30 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 18 – Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers – 8:20 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 21 – Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 22 – Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears – 8:30 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 25 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings – 8:20 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 28 – New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 29 – San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals – 8:30 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 1 – Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers – 8:20 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 4 – Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 5 – Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints – 8:30 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 8 – Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars – 8:20 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 11 – Houston Texans at Chicago Bears – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 12 – Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:30 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 15 – Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills – 8:20 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 18 – Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 19 – Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers – 8:30 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 22 (Thanksgiving) – New England Patriots at New York Jets – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Sunday, November 25 – Green Bay Packers at New York Giants – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 26 – Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles – 8:30 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 29 – New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons – 8:20 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, December 2 – Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 3 – New York Giants at Washington Redskins – 8:30 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, December 6 – Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders – 8:20 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, December 9 – Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 10 – Houston Texans at New England Patriots – 8:30 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, December 13 – Cincinnati Bengals at Philadelphia Eagles – 8:20 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, December 16 – San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 17 – New York Jets at Tennessee Titans – 8:30 PM ET – ESPN

Saturday, December 22 – Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions – 8:30 PM ET – ESPN

Sunday, December 23 – San Diego Chargers at New York Jets – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Sunday, December 30 – [Teams to be determined following Week 16] – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

TEAMS WITH FIVE PRIMETIME GAMES: Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers.

TEAMS WITH FOUR PRIMETIME GAMES: Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets.

TEAMS WITH THREE PRIMETIME GAMES: Cincinnati Bengals.

TEAMS WITH TWO PRIMETIME GAMES: Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs,  Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans.

TEAMS WITH ONE PRIMETIME GAME: Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins.

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Well, I guess I came up a bit short with my predictions of six primetime games for the Jets and the Cowboys. As it turns out, they didn’t even get five primetime games.

But what shocks me the most is the fact that one of the Jets’ primetime games is not against the Jaguars. It’s currently scheduled for Sunday, December 9 at 1 PM ET on CBS – but there’s a good possibility that it could be flexed to Sunday night. You’ve got to give the NFL credit for scheduling it this late in the season: not because it could be flexed to NBC if need be, but as it even says right on the NFL.com splash page for the 2012 Jaguars schedule, “Tebow could be the Jets’ starting quarterback” by then!

The Jaguars will get one primetime game (at least I got that prediction right) – but it’ll be against the Colts, who will also play their lone primetime game in Jacksonville. Dolphins/Bills and Buccaneers/Vikings are two other primetime matchups that pretty much uphold the “at least one primetime game for each team, guaranteed” quota.

Also, I was generally right about the Broncos, with Peyton Manning under center for the first time, opening the season on “Sunday Night Football.” I wrote yesterday that the Steelers and Texans matchups were ripe for primetime, and while I personally hoped the Broncos would open against the Texans, for reasons I previously explained (for the record, they’ll meet in Week 3), it looks like the Steelers will indeed square off against Peyton and his new crew at Mile High.

Speaking of the Broncos, another strong prediction of mine was that the Broncos’ matchup with the Patriots would be scheduled for Thanksgiving night on NBC. I was half-right: the Patriots will be in the mix, but instead, it’ll be against the division rival New York Jets, and Gang Green’s first Thanksgiving game since they hosted Cincinnati just a few years ago.

As for that Patriots/Broncos game… yes, it’ll be on CBS, and so early in the season (Week 5) that it certainly wouldn’t be flexed into “Sunday Night Football.” I wonder if Robert Kraft had a hand in this decision, too?

Oh, those Broncos… I wrote yesterday that I was waffling between four and five primetime games, and since they actually got five, I’ll claim that as another accurate prediction. I’m actually surprised that teams like the Bears and the Chargers got five games. Both of these teams missed the playoffs last year. You figured the Eagles – who really missed the playoffs badly last year – would get their customary five primetime games, no matter what. But the Chargers? Who were thisclose to firing their head coach and general manager? If that went down, we would probably be talking about how the Chargers got two primetime games or less.

And yes, based on comments posted on my previous post, I am aware that teams traditionally get five primetime games at most when the schedule is first released, with a sixth coming by way of Sunday night “flexing” (which is how the Cowboys accomplished that feat last year). My point was, rules were made to be updated. You can bet the maximum number of primetime games will be altered somewhere down the road. How soon, I’m not sure. But with more primetime games being schedule, comes more opportunities to play in primetime. Let’s face it: Would you rather watch the Bears or the Browns? (And for the record, I don’t know if he was joking or not, but Andrew Siciliano, within the hour before the schedule being released, said on “Total Access” during an item on the Broncos that he believed they’d “max out with six primetime games”. Maybe he expects the maximum to be updated, too.)

Of the eight teams with five primetime appearances, three of these teams (Giants, Packers, Steelers) appear three times on “Sunday Night Football”; this includes the Wednesday, September 5 season opener against the Cowboys, who will also make three NBC appearances, as will the Patriots (this includes Thanksgiving). Of course, these are all subject to change, thanks to “flex scheduling”. Also, the Bears will appear three times on “Monday Night Football”, with the 49ers, Broncos, Chargers and Eagles each appearing twice on “MNF,” as will the Jets, Falcons, Lions and Texans – accounting for half of their four primetime appearances in 2012. And every team appears on NFL Network just once. (Of course, NFLN games are simulcast on local broadcast outlets in the cities of the teams playing.)

And there is one lone Saturday night game: it’ll be on ESPN on December 22. This explains why there is no Monday night game on Christmas Eve. Funny, the NFL had no problem playing games on Christmas in recent years. Heck, they played fourteen games on Christmas Eve last year.

All that being written… just 141 days left until all of these games are finally played for your viewing (and gambling, if you prefer) enjoyment.

Game(s) on!

Prediction: Jets And/Or Cowboys Will Play A Whopping Six Primetime Games In 2012

There's a good chance you might be seeing a little bit more of Tony Romo and Tim Tebow in primetime this season. That's because Sportsrantz is predicting that the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Jets are strong candidates to be granted six primetime games. Per NFL rules, as many as three teams can play a maximum of six primetime games in a season.

In what is perhaps the worst kept secret in all of sports (unless you ask Duffy’s), the NFL announced today that the entire 2012 schedule will be released tomorrow – Tuesday – at 7 PM ET, coinciding with a special on NFL Network. ESPN will air their own special devoted to the schedule release, as well.

And with the complete 2012 NFL schedule comes a bigger primetime picture.

The additional six primetime games are made possible by NFL Network’s “Thursday Night Football” package expanding from eight games to thirteen, with the Thanksgiving night game, carried on NFL Network since they began telecasting regular season NFL games, airing on NBC effective this year. As part of this deal, commissioner Roger Goodell guaranteed that all 32 teams would play at least one primetime game every year.

Which means the five teams that were snubbed by the night spotlight – Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans – will somehow be ready for primetime in 2012.

But this post isn’t about the teams privileged to play primetime games – but rather, the ones that will be perhaps too privileged.

In 2011, there were a grand total of 42 scheduled primetime games, not counting the Week 17 “Sunday Night Football” season finale on NBC. Of these 42 games, 25 of them involved six teams that were awarded five primetime games each: the New York Jets, the Baltimore Ravens, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Indianapolis Colts, the Philadelphia Eagles and, despite their 6-10 record the previous season, the Dallas Cowboys. Of course, one of these games, the Colts/Patriots contest originally scheduled for Sunday night, December 4 on NBC, was flexed back to CBS in exchange for Lions/Saints – so by virtue of that maneuver, the Saints ended up getting five primetime games. And of course, the Cowboys/Giants season finale was flexed to Week 17, effectively giving the Cowboys a total of six primetime games in 2011.

So it’s obvious that an NFL team playing six primetime games in a season can be done. But with more primetime games to spread around, what are the odds that one team – maybe two – end up getting six games on the 2012 scheduled for primetime? According to NFL rules, a maximum of three teams can make as many as six primetime appearances in a single season.

So when you factor in the Colts clearly not getting five primetime games in 2012, and perhaps ditto for the Bountygate-suspension-plagued Saints, you get the sense that with an expanded primetime menu, while all 32 teams will be guaranteed at least one game, not only will some teams get more primetime exposure – particularly one playing with a future Hall of Fame quarterback for the first time – but teams that have already been experiencing the ultimate primetime exposure, in the form of five games, will be ripe for a sixth primetime game.

And no matter how wishy-washy Rex Ryan may be about an encore on HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” whether he likes it or not, his Jets team will be featured in six primetime games when the schedule is finally released on Tuesday.

You read me right: I predict that the New York Jets will get more primetime games this season than the New York Giants, who won the previous Super Bowl! And it isn’t just the Rex Ryan factor, but it’s definitely the Tim Tebow factor. The team says they plan to get Tebow involved with a large number of plays in each game, but if you figure he gains the starting job halfway through the season, it’s possible most of the Jets’ primetime games will be played in the second half of 2012.

And yes, among this six-pack of prime-timers will be the lone primetime game that the Jaguars will play in 2012. That game will probably be on ESPN or perhaps NFL Network. In fact, here are the six teams that the Jets might be facing under the lights this season: 49ers, Chargers, Texans (home); Jaguars, Patriots, Steelers (away).

And here’s another bold prediction: Not only will the Jets be maxing out on primetime appearances when the initial 2012 schedule is released, but there will be a second team to follow suit – because, remember, you can have up to three teams playing six primetime games in a single season – and that second team would be the team that the Jets opened up their 2011 campaign against, fittingly in primetime: The Dallas Cowboys.

There’s a reason why the Cowboys are labeled “America’s Team”: because America watches them in droves. In fact, that September 11 Jets/Cowboys contest on NBC last year ended up being the most-watched edition of “Sunday Night Football” – that is, until the final game of the regular season, which also involved the Cowboys. In fact, the six top-rated “Sunday Night Football” games featured the Cowboys. The NFL knows what it’s doing by scheduling the Cowboys against the Giants to open the season on September 5. The league knows it cannot do wrong by scheduling the season opener for the Cowboys on NBC in primetime for three years in a row.

That’s why when I analyzed the “leaked” 2012 NFL schedule, which the leaker since confessed to creating himself, my jaw hit the floor when I found that there were no Cowboys games in the plans on NFL Network. And historically, Cowboys games on NFL Network were played on Saturday nights. The ‘Boys are no stranger to Thursday games – why, we watch them every Thanksgiving as we fill ourselves up with turkey and brussels sprouts. I suppose NFL teams can only play one Thursday game per season? Well, in the event that’s not set in stone, you can certainly put me down for a Cowboys six-pack.

The Cowboys’ half dozen primetime games might play like this: At home, they’ll host the Redskins and Steelers, but they’ll play four primetime games on the road: the Bengals, the Eagles, the Falcons, and of course, the season opener against the World Champion Giants. Bonus prediction: On Thanksgiving, the Cowboys will play the Bears.

As previously mentioned, I predict the Giants will receive less primetime games than their Metlife Stadium mates, the Jets, despite winning the big game back in February. They’ll get five. As will the Eagles, Packers, Patriots and Ravens.

Then, there’s the Denver Broncos. I’m literally on the fence as far as whether or not Peyton Manning’s new team will play four primetime games or five. But I can guarantee that two home games against the Steelers and the Texans are shoo-ins for primetime clearance. I liked the Broncos opening up the 2012 campaign with Manning under center for the first time on “Sunday Night Football” against the Texans, the team that ended his personal consecutive games started streak, when the fake 2012 NFL schedule came out a few weeks ago. I’d like it to happen for real when the actual 2012 NFL schedule is released. And while the Broncos eliminated the Steelers from last year’s playoffs behind Tim Tebow, who of course is no longer with the team, those “playoff elimination revenge” gamea are always entertaining. And then there’s another playoff rematch from last year – that Broncos road game in New England. Who knew that NBC and CBS would both be smitten by Tebowmania last year and squabble over the carriage of a regular season game between these two teams. But with Peyton Manning involved, it’s a whole new ballgame. Yes, the quarterback rivalry between Manning and Tom Brady that had shone during all of those Patriots/Colts contests begins a new era when Manning represents the Broncos. With CBS carrying the previous two matchups between these two teams in the Tebow era, the least that the NFL can do is give this game to NBC. They could wisely schedule it in the late fall, which is when Brady and Manning usually square off, or they could make this the “SNF” season opener on September 9. Either way, look for that game to end up on NBC. It’s only fair. Heck, maybe it could be the Thanksgiving night game. In fact, that matchup on Thanksgiving night might just break all existing Cowboys primetime game records.

And yes, the Patriots will also host the Colts in a game this season… This would be a perfect Monday night game for ESPN.

With all 32 NFL teams guaranteed at least one primetime game starting this year, it would be quite perplexing to come up with which opponents will make up their night contests (well, most of them; see: Jets/Jaguars). So I won’t go through that much trouble. I mean, Buccaneers/Raiders as a Monday night game on ESPN looked good when that false schedule came out, but then again, the league can throw a lateral and put Buccaneers/Cowboys in primetime for the second year in a row.

But with an expanded number of primetime games to be played, don’t be surprised if you see one team – perhaps two – under the lights a little more.

Why Is The NFL Playing Possum With The Schedule Release Date?

Can anybody explain why the NFL is so hush-hush about confirming the schedule release date every year? It appears that they will be doing so once again on short notice, because I was actually able to confirm that the 2012 schedule will be released this Tuesday, April 17, at 7 PM ET. A little bird at a place in Miami called Duffy's told me.

Once again, the National Football League has not given their fans advanced notice on when to expect the release of the 2012 NFL schedule.

Clearly, all signs point to the day being Tuesday, April 17, based on the release day in recent years. Such as last year, when there was still no official word “48 hours until showtime” – yet there were several clues, including a listing on ESPN2 for the “SportsCenter Schedule Release Special” beginning at 7 PM. NFL Network had their own schedule release show at that same date and time, but I do not recall a lot of promotion building up until the date of the 2011 schedule release.

Fast forward to 2012: Once again, there’s a listing for a “SportsCenter Special” this Tuesday night, but on ESPN. It was initially logged into TVGuide.com’s listings as “SportsCenter Special: NFL Schedule Release.” But that since has been updated to remove the “NFL Schedule Release” part of the title, and there’s no description of the special. And here we are once again, 48 hours until showtime, and there is still no official word from the NFL confirming the 2012 schedule release date, and the league-run cable network still has a scroll on the bottom of the screen that reads: “Find out where and when your team will play next season. Watch the 2012 NFL Schedule Release Show, coming soon on NFL Network.”

“Soon.” The same explanation that NFL public relations whiz Greg Aiello gave Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio. And mind you, this was last Tuesday.

In an attempt to get down to the bottom of this conundrum, I did some Googling and I came across an interesting search result description. It read, “Tue. Apr. 17, 2012. 5 PM – 8 PM EDT. Schedule Release Party. Join us at Duffy’s in North Miami Beach on April 17th to celebrate the release of the 2012 NFL schedule.”

Please do yourself a favor and just click on this Google search equation. You’ll find that there are several references to the aforementioned “schedule release party” on pages belonging to the official website of… the Miami Dolphins… which, last I checked, is a team in the NFL.

Yet, when you go to the Dolphins’ actual website, you will find nary a reference to this schedule release party happening at Duffy’s this Tuesday. Was it canceled? Or perhaps an intern with keen scheduling habits posted the information a little too soon?

There was only one way for me to find out for sure: I called Duffy’s.

I first spoke to a waitress who, when asked if there were any events scheduled for Tuesday, she was not aware. After explaining that I found a promo for a schedule release party at that location on Tuesday, she placed me on hold for a minute. Continuing my call would be a woman who identified herself as Yaya, presumably a manager at the North Miami Beach Duffy’s location (the first woman I spoke to offered to connect me with the manager, and since the manager of the North Miami Beach location is listed on their website as Frans Kobus, Yaya might be an assistant manager – either that, or they need to update their website). Anyway, within seconds of taking my call, Yaya was anxious to inform me that there will be a schedule release party at Duffy’s on Tuesday night, complete with appearances from Dolphins cheerleaders, and possibly Dolphins players, as well – but the start time won’t be 5 PM – it will be 7 PM.

I repeat: I got an employee from a restaurant endorsed by an NFL franchise to confirm the schedule release date, before the actual league itself confirmed it for everybody else.

Which begs the obvious question: Why must the NFL be so coy in leading fans on to the official schedule release date? Does the league really need all of that time to “make up mock schedules to test the full schedule,” as Aiello had explained? I mean, we know for months when the NFL Draft is scheduled, and that’s considered a big deal. Since you’re able to get tickets to attend the event live in New York, it certainly would bode well to know what the date is ahead of time and have your schedule cleared.

Like the annual draft, the annual schedule release is also considered by some to be a big deal.

But what about establishments that hold schedule release parties? Like Duffy’s? For the NFL to all but wait until 24 hours until confirming the schedule release date, anyone who wants to attend schedule release parties would certainly have to do so on short notice. They may have already committed to alternate plans on Tuesday night, and thus would not be able to learn along with other Dolphins fans who their first opponent will be in the 2012-13 season.

And that doesn’t only hurt fans – that hurts eateries and drinkeries that depend on fans’ patronage. Like Duffy’s.

So, there you have it. Mark your calendar. Set your DVR. The 2012 NFL schedule will be released on Tuesday night at 7 PM ET.

And if you’re in the Miami area, why not swing by Duffy’s.

Tell ’em Diamond Joe sent you.

Tim Tebow: Studio Analyst?

After Tim Tebow, shown here being sacked by New England's Gerard Warren, was humiliated by Tom Brady and his team in primetime, CBS hopes the popular quarterback will be back for more.

As it turns out, the Broncos’ excruciating elimination from the NFL playoffs at the hands of the Patriots may not be the last you have seen of Tim Tebow for awhile.

At least on CBS.

While it appears that Tebowmania has taken a sharp downturn following New England’s 45-10 blowout of Denver on Saturday night, CBS still thinks the iron is somewhat hot – so they’ve struck Tebow’s representatives asking if he could appear as a guest studio analyst alongside James Brown, Boomer Esiason et al. on the “Championship Sunday” edition of the “NFL Today” pregame show, scheduled to air at 2 PM ET, right before the AFC championship game, pitting the Ravens against the Patriots in a playoff rematch at Foxboro Stadium.

What better idea than to summon the No. 1 victim fresh from the scene of the crime, and let him be cross-examined right before Tom Brady and their crew set out to claim their next victims.

CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus admits the network has “had conversations with [Tebow’s] people” regarding a possible appearance on “NFL Today,” and at this time, “we haven’t heard back,” but McManus expects to receive a response by Wednesday.

It’s the least Tebow could do as a consolation prize for CBS, which had hoped to reap maximum ratings with Saturday night’s Patriots/Broncos playoff game. Instead, the 20.6 overnight rating it garnered, while still impressive for Saturday night programming in any form, was bested by the previous divisional playoff game of the day on FOX between New Orleans and San Francisco by more than a point (a 21.7 overnight rating).

It would be interesting if the start times of this year’s championship games, which alternate every year between the conferences at 3 PM and 6:30 PM ET, were established so that the NFC championship game between the New York Giants and the San Francisco 49ers started at 3, with the conclusion of the game going up against CBS’ pregame, which would start at 6 PM ET (truncated to a half-hour), featuring Tim Tebow in his first television appearance since his Massachusetts thrashing.

Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch tweets that it would be “unlikely” that Tebow would appear as a studio analyst on Sunday on CBS, or any other network, for that matter. “[A] source says ESPN also requested Tebow [likely for their “Sunday NFL Countdown” program] and [Tebow’s] reps declined,” reports Deitsch, who in a subsequent tweet mentioned the possibility of Tebow making an appearance “via a satellite interview with a studio show… We shall see.”

Certainly, it would probably be a dream come true for the “NFL Today” gang, should Tebow agree to appear on the show.

Just think: one week ago, they were all “Tebowing” on the set.

Now, the man who started the “Tebowing” craze can join them.

UPDATE: Tim Tebow has declined CBS’ invitation to their NFL pregame show this Sunday. Said Sean McManus: “Tim Tebow has decided not to appear, [but the network] is perfectly fine with the lineup we have.”