Our weekly look at which markets are getting what games from the networks, courtesy of the gang at the506.com. They're interesting because they tell us what match-ups are valuable to the networks.
We'd like to say that the Ravens are finally getting a little respect – remember, their AFC heavyweight battle last week against the Bengals drew close to zero national attention and about as small a broadcast spread as imaginable.
Not a problem this week, as the Ravens will be seen over the vast majority of the nation. But, we're guessing the widespread distribution of Ravens-Favrkings has more to do with a certain Minnesota quarterback than it does with Derrick Mason's third trip to Minnesota since his Michigan State days.
Ravens-Favrkings draws the network's No. 2 crew of Gumbel-Dierdorf, while the rest of the rest of the early slate generates only limited regional coverage. Considering that the Packers-Favrkings battle two weeks ago was one of the highest-rated games in league history, you understand the widespread distribution this week. In fact, we're surprised the game doesn't get the network's No. 1 crew.
The Patriots might be struggling, but they continue to be a major national draw. Last week, Patriots-Broncos, a battle of NFL heavyweights, was the most widely distributed game on the docket. This week, Titans-Patriots, a meeting of a winless team against a potential contender, draws the network's No. 1 crew of Nantz-Simms and major distribution around the country with the Bills-Jets Empire State battle the only other contest in the time slot.
Another weekend of yawners on Fox, save for what is easily the top draw of the week, Giants-Saints. The game will be called by the network's top tandem, with Thom Brennaman, filling in for Joe Buck, who's on baseball duty, paired with Troy Aikman. The game's distribution is limited by the fact that this is a double-header week for Fox, which has the unfortunate obligation of showing games like Rams-Jags and Eagles-Raiders in other parts of the nation.