Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch: Week 5

NBC’s Sunday Night Football package gives it flexible scheduling. For the last seven weeks of the season, the games are determined on 12-day notice, 6-day notice for Week 17.

Last year, no game was listed in the Sunday Night slot, only a notation that one game could move there. CBS and Fox were able to protect one game every week each but had to leave one week each unprotected and had to submit their protections after only four weeks.

Now, NBC lists the game it “tentatively” schedules for each night, and by all appearances, CBS and Fox can’t protect anything. However, the NFL is in charge of moving games to prime time.

Here are the rules from the NFL web site:

  • Begins Sunday of Week 11
  • In effect during Weeks 11-17
  • Only Sunday afternoon games are subject to being moved into the Sunday night window.
  • The game that has been tentatively scheduled for Sunday night during flex weeks will be listed at 8:15 p.m. ET.
  • The majority of games on Sundays will be listed at 1:00 p.m. ET during flex weeks except for games played in Pacific or Mountain Time zones which will be listed at 4:05 or 4:15 p.m. ET.
  • No impact on Thursday, Saturday or Monday night games.
  • The NFL will decide (after consultation with CBS, FOX, NBC) and announce as early as possible the game being played at 8:15 p.m. ET. The announcement will come no later than 12 days prior to the game. The NFL may also announce games moving to 4:05 p.m. ET and 4:15 p.m. ET.
  • Week 17 start time changes could be decided on 6 days notice to ensure a game with playoff implications.
  • The NBC Sunday night time slot in “flex” weeks will list the game that has been tentatively scheduled for Sunday night.
  • Fans and ticket holders must be aware that NFL games in flex weeks are subject to change 12 days in advance (6 days in Week 17) and should plan accordingly.
  • NFL schedules all games.
  • Teams will be informed as soon as they are no longer under consideration or eligible for a move to Sunday night.

Here are the current tentatively-scheduled games and my predictions:

Week 11 (November 18):

  • Tentative game: Chicago @ Seattle
  • Prospects: In big trouble. Seattle is 3-2 and Da Bears are 2-3.
  • Other possible games: Redskins @ Cowboys; Panthers @ Packers. That the NFL’s biggest rivalry did not merit a preliminary pick on Sunday night does not bode well; however, either could prove a very, very significant matchup. Panthers-Packers is currently riding on how the Panthers do the next few games. Look out for dark horses like Steelers-Jets and Browns-Ravens.

Week 12 (November 25):

  • Tentative game: Philadelphia @ New England
  • Prospects: In trouble. The Eagles need to get off the schnozz to avoid getting flexed out.
  • Other possible games: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers do not fall far by losing to the Colts. Bucs-Redskins could well be the best game. It all depends on whether both teams are for real. Too many teams have other commitments on Thanksgiving or Monday night to really endorse any other games, although Texans-Browns is a very dark horse.

Week 13 (December 2):

  • Tentative game: Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh
  • Prospects: Very much in trouble. The Steelers are back to looking like an elite team, but unless the Bungles pick up the pace this will be flexed out.
  • Other possible games: Jaguars-Colts, with Texans-Titans as a dark horse. Seahawks-Eagles keeps fading. Giants-Bears has a fighting chance if the Bears can come back.

Week 14 (December 9):

  • Tentative game: Indianapolis @ Baltimore
  • Prospects: Back to looking like a strong game. But the Ravens need to stay consistent.
  • Other possible games: Steelers-Patriots will give this game a lot of competition. But don’t count out Cowboys-Lions (now fading), Bucs-Texans, or Cardinals-Seahawks.

Week 15 (December 16):

  • Tentative game: Washington @ NY Giants
  • Prospects: Starting to look decent. Being in the same division as the Cowboys hurts, but these are two teams on fire and the thrilling finish of their last meeting will help write the storyline.
  • Other possible games: Eagles-Cowboys is in big trouble. Jaguars-Steelers now looks to be the favorite. Seahawks-Panthers is also in trouble.

Week 16 (December 23):

  • Tentative game: Tampa Bay @ San Francisco
  • Prospects: Could be better than might have been thought before the season. However, it is a 10-vs.-23 matchup in the NBC Sports Power Rankings, so it could be lopsided.
  • Other possible games: Texans-Colts, Packers-Bears (in trouble but an appealing matchup regardless of respective records), Ravens-Seahawks (could fall off if the Seahawks keep struggling) – with Jets-Titans a potential dark horse, though one that’s fading fast. There aren’t a lot of attractive matchups this week.

Week 17 (December 30):

  • Tentative game: Kansas City @ NY Jets
  • Prospects: Awful.
  • Other possible games: Steelers-Ravens, Titans-Colts, Cowboys-Redskins, with Panthers-Bucs and Jaguars-Texans dark horses. All of the three favorites involve teams currently 12th or better in the NBC rankings. Lions-Packers fading. Playoff positioning watch begins after Week 9.

NFL Week 5 SuperPower Rankings

News and notes from the SP rankings:

-If the Pats show even a hint of weakness against the Cowboys, No. 1 will go to the Colts. Dr. Z’s SI rankings joined CBS and Fox in ranking the Colts ahead of the Pats this week, leaving the Colts just two more turncoats shy of taking over the top spot in the Consensus Rankings.

-The Chargers are the latest team to be overrated for beating the Broncos.

-You may recall I picked two upsets last week: the Chiefs over the Jags and the Dolphins over the Texans. Neither happened; the only dog I picked to win that actually managed to do that was the Chargers over the Broncos, which caused the rankings to finally put the Broncos in a more correct position. I missed the other two technical upsets, Carolina over New Orleans and the Bears over the Packers, but went 10-for-14.

This week, my upset special may not seem to have a big enough gap in the Consensus Rankings to qualify. I don’t agree that the tight pull-out over the Bills shows that the Cowboys have the stuff to “overcome adversity”. I think it shows weaknesses other teams can exploit. That said… you can probably see where this is going. That game has probably put that little seed in the minds of the Patriots players: This is an easy one. Oh, and the game is in Dallas. That counts for something.

This week’s College Football Rankings are coming out tomorrow.

Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch: Week 4

NBC’s Sunday Night Football package gives it flexible scheduling. For the last seven weeks of the season, the games are determined on 12-day notice, 6-day notice for Week 17.

Last year, no game was listed in the Sunday Night slot, only a notation that one game could move there. CBS and Fox were able to protect one game every week each but had to leave one week each unprotected and had to submit their protections after only four weeks.

Now, NBC lists the game it “tentatively” schedules for each night, and by all appearances, CBS and Fox can’t protect anything. However, the NFL is in charge of moving games to prime time.

Here are the rules from the NFL web site:

  • Begins Sunday of Week 11
  • In effect during Weeks 11-17
  • Only Sunday afternoon games are subject to being moved into the Sunday night window.
  • The game that has been tentatively scheduled for Sunday night during flex weeks will be listed at 8:15 p.m. ET.
  • The majority of games on Sundays will be listed at 1:00 p.m. ET during flex weeks except for games played in Pacific or Mountain Time zones which will be listed at 4:05 or 4:15 p.m. ET.
  • No impact on Thursday, Saturday or Monday night games.
  • The NFL will decide (after consultation with CBS, FOX, NBC) and announce as early as possible the game being played at 8:15 p.m. ET. The announcement will come no later than 12 days prior to the game. The NFL may also announce games moving to 4:05 p.m. ET and 4:15 p.m. ET.
  • Week 17 start time changes could be decided on 6 days notice to ensure a game with playoff implications.
  • The NBC Sunday night time slot in “flex” weeks will list the game that has been tentatively scheduled for Sunday night.
  • Fans and ticket holders must be aware that NFL games in flex weeks are subject to change 12 days in advance (6 days in Week 17) and should plan accordingly.
  • NFL schedules all games.
  • Teams will be informed as soon as they are no longer under consideration or eligible for a move to Sunday night.

Here are the current tentatively-scheduled games and my predictions:

Week 11 (November 18):

  • Tentative game: Chicago @ Seattle
  • Prospects: Uh-oh. Seattle is 3-1 but Chicago is 1-3.
  • Other possible games: Redskins @ Cowboys; Panthers @ Packers. That the NFL’s biggest rivalry did not merit a preliminary pick on Sunday night does not bode well; however, either could prove a very, very significant matchup. Panthers-Packers is currently riding on how the Panthers do the next few games. Look out for dark horses like Steelers-Jets and Browns-Ravens.

Week 12 (November 25):

  • Tentative game: Philadelphia @ New England
  • Prospects: In trouble. The Eagles need to get off the schnozz to avoid getting flexed out.
  • Other possible games: Could we see Bucs-Redskins here? It’s a 5-11 matchup in the latest NBC Power Rankings. It all depends on whether both teams are for real. Too many teams have other commitments on Thanksgiving or Monday night to really endorse any other games.

Week 13 (December 2):

  • Tentative game: Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh
  • Prospects: Very much in trouble. The Steelers loss hurts itself, but the Bungles look dismal.
  • Other possible games: Jaguars-Colts, Seahawks-Eagles (though looking less and less likely), and a true dark horse: Texans-Titans

Week 14 (December 9):

  • Tentative game: Indianapolis @ Baltimore
  • Prospects: Alarm bells going off. If the Ravens continue to disappoint this could be flexed out.
  • Other possible games: Steelers-Patriots was mentioned last week and still looks very strong. But don’t count out Cowboys-Lions, Bucs-Texans, or Cardinals-Seahawks.

Week 15 (December 16):

  • Tentative game: Washington @ NY Giants
  • Prospects: Better but still not promising. The Giants need to keep up the hot pace. The exciting finish of their last game works in their favor.
  • Other possible games: Eagles-Cowboys could be in trouble if the Eagles keep struggling. Jaguars-Steelers now looks to be the favorite. Seahawks-Panthers remains in it but has its own problems.

Week 16 (December 23):

  • Tentative game: Tampa Bay @ San Francisco
  • Prospects: Could be better than might have been thought before the season. However, it is a 5-vs.-16 matchup in the NBC Sports Power Rankings, so it could be lopsided.
  • Other possible games: Texans-Colts, Packers-Bears (in trouble but an appealing matchup regardless of respective records), Ravens-Seahawks (current tentative favorite) – with Jets-Titans a potential dark horse, though one that’s fading.

Week 17 (December 30):

  • Tentative game: Kansas City @ NY Jets
  • Prospects: The Chiefs may prove to be better than anticipated, but unless the Jets follow suit this could turn out to be a terrible matchup, especially given the competition.
  • Other possible games: Steelers-Ravens, Titans-Colts, Cowboys-Redskins, Packers-Lions, with Panthers-Bucs and Jaguars-Texans dark horses. All of the four favorites involve teams currently 12th or better in the NBC rankings. Playoff positioning watch begins after Week 9.

NFL Week 4 SuperPower Rankings

Were they overrated, or were the teams they faced underrated? Were they underrated, or were the teams they faced overrated?

My Consensus Power Rankings, like it or not, have two fatal flaws: an over-emphasis on record and an over-emphasis on the preseason. Like college football polls, come to think of it.

Because the comments I stick on the consensus rankings are based on the comments the sports sites make, I can’t make comments on whether they’re right. But let’s look at all 32 teams in the order of the Consensus Rankings (or, for the purposes of this post, the top 8) and see if they’re overrated, possibly underrated, or neither. Potential upset picks (which I’m 4-0 on) loom.

Patriots: 4-0 against the Jets, Chargers, Bills, and Bengals. All four are 1-3. Overrated.
Colts: 4-0 against the Saints, Titans, Texans, and Broncos. The wins over Tennessee and Houston were on the road and were struggles, the other two were romps. Nawlins is 0-3, Denver is 2-2 but both wins were over teams thought to be awful. As for the Titans and Texans, both have only two wins apiece. The Texans just lost to freakin’ Atlanta. Overrated.
Cowboys: 4-0 against the Giants, Dolphins, Bears, and Rams. The Dolphins and Rams suck, the Bears might be overrated at 1-3, and the Giants are 2-2 with their only two losses against unbeatens. Not coincidentially, the Boys’ closest win is over the Giants at home. We know Cowboys > Giants and Packers > Giants, but we don’t know, really, where the Giants stand.
Packers: 4-0 against the Eagles, Giants, Chargers, and Vikings. All except the Giants are 1-3 (the Chargers’ loss to KC shows the loss to GB was more them sucking than the Packers being good), but the win over the Giants – in the Meadowlands! – was a romp. So, Packers > Cowboys. On the other hand, the victories over Philly and San Diego were by a touchdown or less, so they’re still overrated.
Steelers: Wins against Buffalo, 2-2 Cleveland, and 2-2 San Fran. Latter two were romps. Loss to Arizona, also 2-2, by a touchdown, in the desert.
Seahawks: Wins against 3-1 but overplaying Tampa Bay, 1-3 Cincy in a tight one at home, and 2-2 San Fran in a romp in San Fran. Loss to Arizona. Damn near impossible to read.
Titans: Somewhere between 2-1 Jacksonville (#8) and Indy, both teams with good records. Of course, Jacksonville’s two wins are over Atlanta and overrated Denver, so who knows where they stand? And could New Orleans still be better than their 0-3 start against three teams in the top 10 of the Consensus Rankings, overrated as Tampa Bay is up there? More expertise like this going into the picks for this week after I slip to 7-7 picking mostly favorites. (But both underdogs I picked won. Whoda thunk that? I mean, 9 underdogs winning?)

As promised last week, my upset special is Kansas City over Jacksonville, taking a cue from KC’s shocking upset. As if the Jags’ poor out-of-bye record wasn’t enough, it’s at Arrowhead. A more daring upset is needing-a-win Miami against a potentially over-performing Texans squad.

New Home for My College Football Rankings

The College Football Rankings join a long list of things making the march to the web site, but not because it’s ill-fit for Blogger under the status quo. It’s simply too hard to figure out, and then hand-code, the more flashy ranking page you saw last week, so I’m only posting the full, top-to-bottom rankings. Last week’s rankings are here and this week’s are here. You need something that views Rich Text Format files.

The lineal titles are also updated; in such a wild week, LSU and Ohio State actually held onto their titles. Whoda thunk?

Can someone explain something to me?

Back in August, I put up a topic poll on my website, linked to on the right side. Within the first twenty-four hours or so, I picked up two responses that weren’t from me.

Since then, in nearly two months, I have received zero responses.

So my question is, why haven’t you been steering the direction of the web site (and to a certain extent, Da Blog)?

Please! I’m begging you, give me some help and vote today! I could lose all the results after a week from tomorrow! Why did two people see fit to vote when I first put up the poll but no one has since then?