This is it people. Week 17. We wait for this week all year because this is one of the most exciting weeks in football every year. This year there is a bit of a damper on the proceedings since there are only two playoff spots left unclaimed. We will get to that later on. For now, here is this week’s NFL TV schedule:
|1:00||Cleveland at Baltimore|
|1:00||Dallas at Washington||FOX (BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario (except Northern Ontario, Belleville, & Cornwall), Eastern Canada)/CTV (Toronto, Kitchener, Ottawa, Northern Ontario, Montreal, Atlantic)/CKPR (Thunder Bay)|
|1:00||Indianapolis at Tennessee|
|1:00||Jacksonville at Houston|
|1:00||San Diego at Kansas City||CBS (BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northwestern Ontario, Northern Ontario, Western Ontario, Midwestern Ontario, Ottawa)/CTV (Vancouver, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Winnipeg)/CITL (Lloydminster)|
|1:00||NY Jets at Miami|
|1:00||Chicago at Minnesota|
|1:00||Buffalo at New England||CBS (Golden Horseshoe, GTA, Eastern Ontario (except Ottawa), Quebec, Eastern Canada)/TSN1/TSN3/TSN4/TSN5|
|1:00||Philadelphia at NY Giants||FOX (Northern Ontario, Belleville, Cornwall, Quebec)|
|1:00||New Orleans at Tampa Bay|
|4:25||Carolina at Atlanta||CBS (all of Canada)/TSN1/TSN3/TSN4/TSN5|
|4:25||Detroit at Green Bay||FOX (all of Canada (except BC & Alberta))/CTV (Toronto, Kitchener, Ottawa, Northern Ontario, Montreal, Winnipeg, Saskatchewan)/CTV2 (Atlantic)/CKPR (Thunder Bay)|
|4:25||Oakland at Denver|
|4:25||Arizona at San Francisco|
|4:25||St. Louis at Seattle||FOX (BC, Alberta)/CTV (Vancouver, Alberta)/CITL (Lloydminster)|
|8:30||Cincinnati at Pittsburgh||NBC/TSN1/TSN3/TSN4/TSN5|
Plenty of good games and a few important ones. Only 8 of the 16 games are being shown here this week. A bit of a downer but to be honest, very few of the games are important enough to warrant a debate over what’s showing and what isn’t. Let’s go over all the games this week (yes I will even include the crappy games hardly anyone wants to watch):
Cleveland at Baltimore – The Browns are out. Because they are the Browns. The Ravens still have a shot. They have to win here and hope San Diego loses. That is their only scenario (barring ties but they tend to screw things up and make things impossible to figure out).
Dallas at Washington – Dallas can somehow clinch either a first-round bye or home-field advantage but it will take a win and a bit of help. Basically, Arizona and Seattle are both needed to lose for the Cowboys to have any chance of avoiding the Wild Card round.
Indianapolis at Tennessee – Indy can move into 3rd. That’s all they can do with a win and a Bengals loss. They are in the Wild Card round, at home, no matter what they do. Right now it looks like the Titans hold the #2 spot in next year’s draft. They would have to lose and hope Tampa Bay wins to secure the #1 choice.
Jacksonville at Houston – The Texans need to win and hope for Chargers and Ravens losses to get them into the playoffs. Getting them this close still makes Bill O’Brien a good choice as coach of the year (although Jason Garrett and Bruce Arians may have something to say about that)
San Diego at Kansas City – This is the big game of the early games. If the Chargers win they are in. If the Chiefs win, they need Baltimore and Houston to both lose. High stakes here.
NY Jets at Miami – To be honest I will be surprised if the stadium is even half full for this one.
Chicago at Minnesota – At least Minnesota has some momentum going into next season, considering they did it pretty much without Adrian Peterson all season. As for the Bears, cutting Cutler is the only chance they have. They may have to do a serious rebuild in the Windy City.
Buffalo at New England – See this is what bugs me. This game means absolutely nothing in the standings. Nothing. Yet many Canadians will get this game. They couldn’t show Cleveland-Baltimore or Jacksonville-Houston instead? Complete idiocy. Just kowtowing to all the Bills fans (and the Patriots fans…you know, the ones who have “always been Patriot fans?” Sure. Up until 2000 you could have fired a rocket and hit all of Ontario and hit about 27 Pats fans. Now there are literally thousands of them. The epitome of bandwagon jumping.)
Philadelphia at NY Giants – I guess we can’t help this one since it’s up to FOX affiliates which games are chosen.
New Orleans at Tampa Bay – I am sure the Saints are happy to be on the road to finish out the season. They were god awful at home. The Bucs clinch Marcus Mariota with a loss here.
Carolina at Atlanta – If both teams weren’t so shitty, this would have been the Sunday nighter. But for the second time in NFL history, we will see a playoff team with a losing record. I hate the fact that one of these teams will be home next week for a playoff game. Absolute stupidity. Goodell, you don’t have to add playoff teams. Just make it so winning a division only guarantees you a top 5 spot. Enough of this horseshit.
Detroit at Green Bay – Another huge game that could have been the Sunday nighter. Other than wanting to pick an AFC game since it had been NFC games for the past four years as the last game of the year, I don’t get the reasoning. Anyway, the NFC North title and a first round bye (and potentially home-field advantage throughout the playoffs) is at stake in this one. Massive game is an understatement.
Oakland at Denver – Probably a good thing we don’t get this game. A Broncos win or Bengals loss keeps the Broncos at home next week to rest.
Arizona at San Francisco – The Cardinals can still clinch the division, a first-round bye and even home-field advantage throughout the playoffs (literally since the Super Bowl is in Arizona) with a win here. But a Seahawks win negates anything the Cards do in this game. Oh and the 49ers get to say goodbye to Jim Harbaugh (if they want to).
St. Louis at Seattle – A Seahawks win gives them the NFC West. However, because of all the odd tiebreakers, Seattle needs Dallas to lose as well to give them home-field advantage. They will know by this point if that has happened.
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh – I still believe NBC may be slightly regretting choosing this game over a few other more notable ones. Saying that, there is still a lot of importance on this one. The winner gets the AFC North crown and at least a home game in the Wild Card round (where, if the Bengals win, it may be a rematch next weekend). The Bengals can also clinch a first-round bye if the Raiders somehow beat the Broncos.
I’d like to thank TSN for creating a better template for seeing where NFL games will be broadcast on their network and the CTV network. Also, a huge thanks to 506sports (www.506sports.com) for their NFL coverage maps all season. Sure beats looking at a ton of region-specific listings to determine where games are being shown.