The NFL is paying the price of parity.
For the second week in a row, it has only one game featuring two teams with winning records. This week, it is 6-1 Giants vs. 4-3 Seahawks, but it will share the FOX doubleheader window with the Rams-49ers, which was supposed to be a feature game, and Washington at Indianapolis.
The league thought the Rams-49ers game would be marquee matchups, but the 49ers were routed by the Chiefs last week to fall to 3-4 and the Rams are 3-3.
That is one of the NFL’s problems this year. Some of the teams they thought were going to contenders have turned out to be pretenders.
They thought they had a marquee matchup when they scheduled Green Bay at Buffalo in the Sunday night matchup. A duel between Josh Allen and Aaron Rodgers could be hyped as a possible Super Bowl matchup.
But the collapse of the Packers, who are 3-4 and lost to the Commanders last week, yes, the Commanders, took much of the luster off this matchup. It figures to be an easy win for the Bills, who figure to go to 6-1, leaving them a game ahead of the 5-2 Chiefs, who have a bye. And it is not likely to be a ratings hit. Last Sunday night’s Steelers-Dolphins game drew only 15.53 million viewers. The Chiefs-49ers doubleheader game drew 22.29 million viewers. But it was still the least watched doubleheader game since Week One when both CBS and FOX had games.
The Bills get the top seed unless they lose two games and the Chiefs win out because the Bills have the head to head tiebreaker.
The NFL also thought it had a great matchup Thursday night on Prime with Baltimore at Tampa Bay, a Lamar Jackson-Tom Brady matchup. But the Bucs are 3-4 and the Ravens 4-3 so it isn’t a premier matchup.
According to Sports Media Watch, last week’s Thursday night game between the Saints and Cardinals drew a season low 7.82 million viewers. The Ravens-Bucs matchup figures to top that, but isn’t likely to get the ratings it would have gotten if the two teams were playing better.
Fox will feature Chicago at Dallas in the early window while CBS will feature Pittsburgh at Philadelphia in the early window.
The Eagles are coming off their bye week with a 6-0 record. They are the only unbeaten team in the league. The Eagles now play five losing teams in a row before they face 4-2 Tennessee on Dec. 4 so they could go into that game at 11-0. The only question is whether they will stub their toe somewhere along the line.
London will host the Broncos-Jaguars at 9:30 a.m. Eastern time – 7:30 a.m. in Denver — with both teams at 2-5. So it is a perfect London game. The European fans will pack the stadium regardless of the matchup. In the U.S. it will be shown on broadcast TV only in Jacksonville and Denver. It will also be shown on ESPN+.