The NFL's regional programming rules are famously byzantine, which is why the Wikipedia article trying to explain them all is an insane 18,971 words long. (That's enough words to get you two-thirds of the way through Of Mice and Men, for chrissake.)
Luckily, the fine people at the506.com cut through the bullshit for you, providing weekly maps of exactly what Sunday games are playing in what markets. This allows us to answer the only question that really matters: Which fans are the most screwed this Sunday?
Week 7 winner: The San Francisco Bay Area
Baltimore at Houston—now that's a game. Will Terrell Suggs return and revive a depleted but still heralded defense? Will the Texans' strong O and D lines finally make casual fans notice how helpful it is to have strong O and D lines? Only two teams in the AFC are over .500. These are those two teams.
But here, San Francisco, you get Cleveland at Indianapolis. Yep, just you, and no one else west of Missouri. Go fuck yourself.
Thanks to a strong year for the NFC, all five games airing on Fox in this slot are decent. Sure Arizona and Minnesota are a combined 8-4, but wouldn't you rather see RG3 take on Manningface? Wouldn't you rather watch Carolina beat Dallas, 49-42? Someone has to win Arizona-Minnesota, and then both teams will finish a combined 9-23.
Only two games in this slot. In the first, Tim Tebow might play in the backfield; Tom Brady will run four plays a second; Bill Belichick and Rex Ryan will finally kiss with tongue; and the winner will be the AFC East leader. In the second, Blaine Gabbert takes on Carson Palmer.
San Francisco Bay Area, better cross your fingers that you'll have some baseball to watch this Sunday.
Image by Jim Cooke.