Which TV Market Is Getting Screwed This Sunday? An Analysis Of Week 15 NFL Viewing Maps

The NFL's regional programming rules are famously byzantine, but luckily the506.com cuts through the bullshit for you, providing weekly maps that allow us to answer the only question that really matters: Which fans are the most screwed this Sunday?

Week 15 winner: Bullhead City, Ariz.

Which TV Market Is Getting Screwed This Sunday? An Analysis Of Week 15 NFL Viewing Maps

The Broncos, at 10-3, have won as many games as the rest of AFC West combined. They clinched their division two weeks ago. They go up against a "desperate" Ravens team that, despite losing its last two games, is still in solid shape to make the playoffs because its 4-1 division record gives Baltimore a guaranteed tiebreaker over Cincinnati. Long story short, this isn't as great a matchup as it seems.

Which TV Market Is Getting Screwed This Sunday? An Analysis Of Week 15 NFL Viewing Maps

By rule, a primary market receives no game if that market's team is playing at home on the opposite channel in the same time slot. Primary markets typically extend about 75 miles from the team's home stadium, leading to small no-game zones like those seen around New Orleans, Atlanta, St. Louis, and Chicago in the CBS early round.

Phoenix's primary market, on the other hand, is gigantic and nonsensical. It includes Bullhead City, which is 230 miles from Phoenix, but excludes Tuscon, which is only 116 miles away. With Lions-Cardinals in the afternoon slot on Fox, Bullhead City gets no game on CBS. Tuscon, Southern Nevada, and Southern California get Steelers-Cowboys. With both at 7-6, this is an absolute must-win for these teams and perhaps the best matchup of the week.

Which TV Market Is Getting Screwed This Sunday? An Analysis Of Week 15 NFL Viewing Maps

As this particularly unpleasant-looking map shows, there are a lot of different games on Fox this Sunday. Five of these games have playoff relevance. Two of the remaining are between underperforming but often exciting teams: Buccaneers-Saints and Panthers-Chargers. The last is Lions-Cardinals. The Lions have blown 10-point leads in three straight games, while the Cardinals have lost their last nine.

Just across the river, Southern Nevada and California get Giants-Falcons. The Giants need to win to hold off the surging Redskins and Cowboys, while the Falcons want to win because last week they lost to the fucking Panthers and everyone stopped taking them seriously again. Now this is a real matchup.