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 12 winner: Peoria, Ill.
A weird Sunday for Week 12, as Thanksgiving Thursday pulls three pretty good matchups. Neither has a truly dismal slate this week, but Peoria narrowly beats out Orlando, Fla., on the "strength" of its Fox late game.
Places that get screwed tend to fall between two or more NFL markets. Peoria is split among three, though this doesn't translate into split allegiances. While the north-central Illinois city lies 180-200 miles from Chicago, Indianapolis, and St. Louis, Chicago has an extremely large media market and thus a solid claim on Peoria's fandom. NFL schedulers don't care about that, though, so for the CBS game Peoria gets stuck with Bills-Colts, a battle of two mediocre teams that show flashes of brilliance when they're not getting 50 points dropped on their heads. Chicago itself gets the also-flawed but superior Ravens-Chargers game, as CBS reminds us how frustrating the AFC is this year.
Peoria gets the Bears game. They're probably cool with that. Like I said, odd week in "Who's Getting Screwed?"
Last time the Rams and the Cardinals played each other, in Week 5, the teams were a combined 6-2. Since then they're 0-9-1.
Meanwhile, the rest of the country gets to watch 49ers-Saints. This matchup already would have been plenty juicy—the Saints have surged back into contention by winning five of six, scoring 29.5 points per game in that span—but it got a hell of a lot better when the boringly efficient 49ers found themselves with a real quarterback controversy on their hands. Right now it's looking like Colin Kaepernick will get the start against one of the league's worst secondaries.
There might be some Rams fans in Peoria; to these people I apologize. To the rest of you, the fact that you have the Rams game totally blows; my apologies to you as well.