Somewhere, in the offices of the executives running each major sports league, there’s a board room. And in the corner of that board room, there’s a chart. And on that chart, there are two inverse, intersecting lines. And at the point where those lines intersect, there’s a circle drawn in Sharpie marker, because that point represents the perfect balance between playing time and commercial breaks – the point that maximizes profit while still keeping people interested.
I’ve never been in those board rooms, and I’ve never seen those charts, so I don’t know what that perfect ratio is, but I can guarantee it’s not four commercial breaks in five plays – something to which Giants and Lions fans were treated at the end of Sunday’s first quarter (Play > End of quarter commercial break > Challenge > Commercial break > Three plays > Injury and commercial break > Field goal > Commercial break).
More and more, the NFL has tipped the ratio toward profit rather than interest, and as the pace of play has slowed, so too has the game’s growth. But we’re still watching and I’m still writing, because in other leagues you can’t go last to first in one year, like the Titans may do in 2016.
Seahawks 24-3 Rams: Jeff Fisher may not have been the biggest problem in Los Angeles. Maybe they’re just not that good, too.
Dolphins 34-13 Jets: The Jets have full on quit and may end up in a full on rebuild.
Texans 21-20 Jaguars: Let’s take a look at my ‘Jaguars make the playoffs’ preseason pick:
They gagged away a game they should have won and ended the Gus Bradley era, while ushering in the time of Tom Savage, who replaced one of the biggest wastes of free agent money in recent memory, Brock Osweiler.
Bills 33-13 Browns: Someone in Cleveland made a deal with the devil: give us LeBron James, do whatever you want to the Browns.
Packers 30-27 Bears: Green Bay’s one-dimensional offense may have just found its second dimension. Given the opponent, you take it with a grain of salt, but Ty Montgomery ran for over 160 yards, and Christine Michael added another 45. If that’s the type of Packer offense that shows up in the playoffs, look out.
Steelers 24-20 Bengals: The Steelers won. That’s all you really takeaway, because that’s all you need to takeaway. In a division battle, they did what they needed to and keep marching toward a showdown with the Ravens on Christmas day.
Ravens 27-26 Eagles: The Ravens won. They had to survive a late charge from the Eagles, but they did what they needed to and keep marching toward a showdown with the Steelers on Christmas day.
Giants 17-6 Lions: One-hundred-ninety-three million dollars buys you one hell of a defense. We’ve known that for a while, but once again, Big Blue put up a hell of a defensive performance and shut down a team capable of scoring points. The Giants are playing playoff defense, and if they get a playoff offense, there’s no telling what they could do.
Titans 19-17 Chiefs: The Titans may not be a year away after all. Given the somewhat seesaw nature of their 2016, Tennessee looked like a young team that needed this year before really making their mark. But that changed with this huge win. They were down this entire game and looked beaten for most of it, but came back to win and now find themselves tied atop their division with a team quarterbacked by a guy named Tom Savage – who sounds more like the villain in the next Fast and Furious movie.
Colts 34-6 Vikings: Losing Teddy Bridgewater matters, it just took a while to learn exactly how much.
Falcons 41-13 49ers: Chip Kelly will be back in college next year. Not many coaches lose 13-straight and survive.
Patriots 16-3 Broncos: He gets injured, but John Elway should do whatever he can to get Tony Romo. The weak-backed QB has always had playoff talent, and with the weapons they have on offense, and the defense that won them the Super Bowl last year, Denver is a big time contender if they get a solid quarterback. Hey may get hurt, but he’s worth taking a risk.
Saints 48-41 Cardinals: The Cardinals need to get to 2017. Now.
Raiders 19-16 Chargers: The Oakland Raiders are going back to the playoffs and they’ll be dangerous. They know how to play in tough spots and they’re never out of it – with another road win and a fourth quarter comeback on Sunday against the Chargers.
Author: Joseph White
Joe Bianchino is a writer, producer, and radio host located in upstate New York. He is a life-long New York sport fan, Chelsea supporter, and Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter @JoeBNTS. Email him at Joe@noticketsports.com.