NFL Pushing Bears, Chargers Back Into Primetime This Season
The NFL is spotlighting the Bears after winning the NFC North last year, as they will be in the "prime-time spotlight five times this season," according to Colleen Kane of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The Bears are scheduled for two "TNF" games, two “SNF” appearances and one “MNF” game (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 4/18). In Chicago, John Mullin noted the schedule "already has eight games at 'national'" 12:00pm CT times. The Bears go "all the way to the end of October before they play a game with a 'conventional' noon start time." The NFL and its network partners "do like the Bears to be good" (NBCSPORTSCHICAGO.com, 4/17). Meanwhile, in L.A., Sam Farmer notes the NFL is "much more bullish" on the Chargers this year after they had just one primetime game in '18. They will host two “SNF” games this fall, plus play a "TNF" game in Oakland. The Chargers' Monday night "home" game against the Chiefs will be in Mexico City (L.A. TIMES, 4/18).
THE USUAL SUSPECTS: In Seattle, Bob Condotta notes the Seahawks are "one of 10 NFL teams to get the maximum five prime-time games and have now had at least four prime-time games for seven straight years" (SEATTLE TIMES, 4/18). The Seahawks will have "four consecutive prime time games grouped around" the team's Week 11 bye (Tacoma NEWS TRIBUNE, 4/18). Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, Dave Zangaro noted the Eagles' five primetime games is "nothing new" for the team. The Eagles have had "more than just about any team in the league in recent years," totaling 81 primetime appearances since '00, behind only the Cowboys with 85 (NBCSPORTSPHILADELPHIA.com, 4/17).
GETTING RUSTY? In Pittsburgh, Tim Benz notes the Steelers "have their usual five prime-time games," which are "all front-loaded within the first 11 weeks." That was a "smart play for network audiences," as the Steelers have a "large national following." However, they are "coming off a non-playoff campaign, and they have a slew of holes on their roster." The thinking "appears to be smoosh them in as many prime-time games as possible" before their season "could come off the rails and they get squeezed out of playoff contention" (TRIBLIVE.com, 4/18).
BIG CATS NO MORE: In Detroit, Justin Rogers noted the Lions' "MNF" matchup against the Packers in Week 6 is the "only time the Lions are scheduled to play in primetime this season," which "probably shouldn’t surprise anyone." The Lions are "coming off a disappointing 6-10 season and don’t carry many players who could be considered national draws" (DETROITNEWS.com, 4/17). The Lions "aren’t exactly brimming with star-caliber players" and "aren’t exactly a major network draw" (FREEP.com, 4/17).