For the first time, the NFL will see almost a full season of primetime Thursday Night Football. Every week but weeks 1, 16, and 17 will feature a Thursday night game. NFL Network's package extends from 8 games to 13 games in Weeks 2-15, excluding Week 12 when the Thanksgiving Night game moves to NBC.
After whispers of the league putting up extra Thursday night games for sale to the networks, they decided to keep broadcasts in house for one reason - to make holdout cable companies get NFL Network. No team appears twice on Thursday Night football and 26 of the league's 32 teams will appear on NFL Network. For the first time, each NFL team will appear in primetime and each team will play a Thursday night game... in the interest of fairness and carriage of course. The mission is simple - expand demand for NFL Network as much as possible. Here's the schedule...
Week 2: Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers
Week 3: New York Giants at Carolina Panthers
Week 4: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
Week 5: Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams
Week 6: Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans
Week 7: Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers
Week 8: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings
Week 9: Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers
Week 10: Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 11: Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills
Week 13: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
Week 14: Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders
Week 15: Cincinnati Bengals at Philadelphia EaglesThe Thursday Night calendar is heavy on divisional matchups with 9 out of the 13 matchups being rivalry games. In addition, teams that don't make primetime appearances on NBC or ESPN get their turn here. (That means you Cleveland!) While there are a few clunkers (Bucs at Vikings?! Colts/Jags?!?), the TNF schedule isn't that bad considering its "Island of Misfit Toys" nature. Bears/Packers and Giants/Panthers should both be great early-season contests and Saints/Falcons should go a long way in deciding the NFC South. But best of all, NFL Network returns a competent announce team with Brad Nessler and Mike Mayock in the booth for another season.