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NFL Week 15 Broadcast Preview

December 13, 2007 5:46 PM

A lot to discuss over the next week, where I’ll be talking with producers about the Mitchell report (Bad Roger! Bad Andy!), a season surge in NBA ratings, a look at the bowl game announcers and some tricks Fox Sports has up its sleeve as we get the ball rolling here at Pressbox once again heading into the holidays.

First up, however…: P-A-T-R-I-O-T-S = R-A-T-I-N-G-S.

Once again, the undefeated New England Patriots delivered for the network airing the team’s game. Poor Fox, which saw its two opportunities to air a match with the team (vs. Philly and vs. Giants) snatched away by NBC and the NFL Network, respectively. Despite losing the Patriots, Fox last week scored its best single-header ratings in six years, earning a 12.9 rating/27 share for its game lineup. That figure is good enough to mark a 24% gain over the same week last season.

Fox and CBS are neck-and-neck in the ratings race, with both tied at a 10.6/22 though 14 weeks of the season. Both are leading NBC’s broadcast, which is earning a 10.2/16 in primetime.

CBS averaged a 12.6/24 for the network’s double-header, up 20% versus week 14 of 2006, with the Patriots’ gutting of the Steelers pulling an 18.4/32. That now has the Patriots games delivering the two highest ratings of the year with a 20.1 in week 9 and this week’s 18.4; the biggest NFL cable rating ever on ESPN in week 13 with an 11.1; NBC’s highest-rated “Sunday Night Football” ever in week 12 with a 13.4; and likely the NFL Network’s best rating ever in week 17 if the Pats continue to run undefeated.

Up this week for the Patriots will be the Jets, followed by the winless Dolphins, hardly water-cooler talk, so their ratings will be put to the test. In fact, CBS isn’t even making it the most watched game of the network’s single-header this weekend. The Patriots/Jets game will run in 27% of the country, less than the Steelers/Jaguars game, which will be carried in 32%. In other 1 p.m. games, Titans/Chiefs will be seen by 7%, Bills/Cleveland shockingly seen in only 6% in a battle of potential wild card teams and Ravens/Dolphins in 6% as well.

The afternoon game will be seen in 22% of the nation.

Here are the announcer lineups.(Scroll down to see)

Game Announcers
1 p.m. ET starts
Buffalo @ Cleveland Gus Johnson/Steve Tasker
Tennessee @ Kansas City Ian Eagle/Solomon Wilcots
Baltimore @ Miami Kevin Harlan/Rich Gannon
N.Y. Jets @ New England Jim Nantz/Phil Simms
Jacksonville @ Pittsburgh Greg Gumbel/Dan Dierdorf
4:05 p.m. ET starts
Indianapolis @ Oakland Dick Enberg/Randy Cross

Over at Fox, with a double-header, here are the maps for the early game.

NFL on Fox Week 15 Regional (Click image to view.)

Game Announcers
1 p.m. ET starts
Green Bay @ St. Louis Kenny Kenny Albert/Daryl Johnston/Tony Siragusa
Atlanta @ Tampa Bay Matt Vasgersian/J.C. Pearson
Seattle @ Carolina Dick Stockton/Brian Baldinger
Arizona @ New Orleans Ron Pitts/Tony Boselli
4:05 p.m. ET starts
Philadelphia @ Dallas Joe Buck/Troy Aikman
Detroit @ San Diego Sam Rosen/Tim Ryan
NFL on Fox Week 15 National (Click image to view and go to page 2.)

The network counters with an NFC East battle with playoff implications, in the Washington Redskins vs. the New York Giants. If the Giants win, they clinch a playoff berth; if the Redskins lose, they are all but eliminated.

“I know I sound like Madden, but these NFC East games are just special in my mind,” said NBC’s Cris Collinsworth. “They always have an appeal. That's one deal that never changes.”

This is the Giants’ third appearance on “Sunday Night Football” this season. They lost to the Dallas Cowboys 45-35 in the first “Sunday Night Football” game of the year, and defeated the Eagles 16-3 in Week 4, sacking Donovan McNabb 12 times in the victory. Washington is making its first 2007 appearance on “Sunday Night Football” after appearing one time last year, a 27-10 loss to the Cowboys.


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