NFL schedule: Sunday Night Football reigns
Remember when Monday Night Football was the NFL’s premier time slot? That’s no longer the case. The proof is in the schedule. We’ll also throw in the new weekly NFL Network game. Check out the matchups week by week:
Week 1: Sunday, Pittsburgh-Denver; Monday, Cincinnati-Baltimore & San Diego-Oakland. No Thursday game in Week 1 for the NFL Network, although NBC gets Cowboys-Giants on Wednesday night as a season opener. All good games, but Sunday night has Peyton Manning’s Bronco debut. A clear edge for NBC.
Week 2: Sunday, Detroit at San Francisco; Monday, Denver at Atlanta. Thursday, Chicago at Green Bay. All good games. NBC can’t show Peyton every week, so ESPN gets its turn. But Lions-49ers — two rising playoff teams — is an excellent game. Call it a wash.
Week 3: Sunday, New England at Baltimore; Monday, Green Bay at Seattle; Thursday, Giants at Carolina. Patriots-Ravens? Are you kidding me? Another winner for NBC.
Week 4: Sunday, Giants at Philadelphia; Monday, Chicago at Dallas; Thursday, Cleveland at Baltimore. Bears-Cowboys is a good game. But any NFC East matchup not involving the Redskins is hard to beat. Another winner for NBC.
Week 5: Sunday, San Diego at New Orleans; Monday, Houston at the Jets; Thursday, Arizona at St. Louis. Saints-Chargers is an interesting game, but the high-riding Texans against Tim Tebow and the Jets probably takes it. A winner for ESPN.
Week 6: Sunday, Green Bay at Houston; Monday, Denver at San Diego; Thursday, Pittsburgh at Tennessee. Interesting games, all. Personally, I’d take Packers-Texans, but I understand the Peyton Manning pull. Call it even.
Week 7: Sunday, Pittsburgh at Cincinnati; Monday, Detroit at Chicago; Thursday, Seattle at San Francisco. Bears-Lions is a classic rivalry, but the Bengals are like the Lions, 2011 upstarts, and the Steelers are a national brand. NBC wins it.
Week 8: Sunday, New Orleans at Denver; Monday, San Francisco at Arizona; Thursday, Tampa Bay at Minnesota. The bounty-marred Saints against Peyton, matching the NFL’s two biggest off-season stories. Total victory for NBC.
Week 9: Sunday, Dallas at Atlanta; Monday, Philadelphia at New Orleans; Thursday, Kansas City at San Diego. Eagles-Saints looks like the better game, but the Cowboys are hard to beat from a ratings watch. Let’s call it square.
Week 10: Sunday, Houston at Chicago; Monday, Kansas City at Pittsburgh; Thursday, Indianapolis at Jacksonville. We interrupt this analysis to make a comment. It’s difficult to produce a truly awful NFL matchup, especially on Nov. 8, when most teams will have some kind of playoff hope. But Colts-Jags might be the worst nationally-televised game ever. Even the Andrew Luck newness will have worn off by then. Texans-Bears trumps Steelers-Chiefs, so another NBC victory.
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