FOX 17 – The National Football League returns this week with a full slate of games being played on in a few new places.
Starting off with Thursday night, the season opens on NBC with the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles hosting the Atlanta Falcons. Thursday night games in Week #2 and Week #3 will air on the NFL Network. Starting in Week #4, Thursday night games will air on Fox (and therefore also on FOX 17) and the NFL Network, except for Thanksgiving. There will not be Thursday night games in Week 16 and Week 17.
Also for opening week, we have two Monday night football games, one of which involves the Detroit Lions. The Lions host the N.Y. Jets at 7:10 p.m. and the Oakland Raiders host the Los Angeles Rams at 10:15 p.m. Both those games air on ESPN.
Since the Lions are on a national broadcast, that usually means our regional Fox coverage shifts to two other regional teams with strong followings in the West Michigan market: the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers. But, the Packers host the Bears in the national Sunday night game on NBC.
So, that leaves our market with our final NFC North participant, the Minnesota Vikings. That game will air here on FOX 17 Sunday at 1:00 p.m. with the Vikings hosting the San Francisco 49ers. Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis will be the announcers for the game.
Fox has the doubleheader to start the season, so following the Vikings game, Fox will switch over to the Dallas Cowboys vs. the Carolina Panthers game at 4:25 p.m. That game will have the #1 Fox broadcasting team of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman making the call.
CBS has only one slot on Sunday afternoon for the West Michigan market. That game will be at 1:00 p.m. and feature the Houston Texans visiting the New England Patriots. CBS’s #1 broadcasting team of Jim Nantz and Tony Romo will be making that call.
Since this is Week #1, here are a few things to remember about how the networks and the NFL make their decisions of what market gets which games:
- Sunday games where the visiting team is in the NFC typically are on Fox.
- Sunday games where the visiting team is in the AFC typically are on CBS.
- For the West Michigan Market (Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek), the Detroit Lions are our home team. After the Lions, our next selections, in order, are the Chicago Bears, the Green Bay Packers and the Minnesota Vikings.
- Most weeks, either Fox or CBS will have a doubleheader. Occasionally, both will.
- Later in the season, this can all change as NBC and ESPN can choose different games for the Sunday night and Monday night primetime games. When they do, things get switched around so CBS and Fox have close to equal coverage.
FOX 17 will post this story weekly, usually on Thursday, outlining the week’s coverage. We’ll be relying on information we get internally from the Fox Network and from the NFL distribution maps posted by 506sports.com .