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NFL schedule largely maintains tradition of NFC on Fox and AFC on CBS

Joe Douglas joins Mike Florio to discuss the Jets schedule opening against the Bills and their Black Friday game, open up about trading for Aaron Rodgers from start to finish and more.

So much for every Sunday afternoon NFL game being a free agent between CBS and Fox.

Despite the league saying previously that the new TV contracts would eliminate the traditional CBS-AFC, Fox-NFC schedule, most Sunday afternoon games are remaining on the same network they would have been on with the old TV contracts.

In Week One, there are seven Sunday afternoon games with an NFC road team, and five of those seven games are on Fox, with only two on CBS. There are six Sunday afternoon games with an AFC road game, and five of those six games are on CBS, with only one on Fox.

It’s similar in Week Two: There are 12 Sunday afternoon games, and 10 of them maintain the NFC-Fox, AFC-CBS tradition, while Fox gets one AFC game and CBS gets one NFC game.

In Week Three there are 12 Sunday afternoon games, with nine maintaining the NFC-Fox, AFC-CBS alignment.

As the season goes on the NFL has flexibility to change which networks are showing which games to put the best games in front of the largest TV audiences, but the trend largely remains the same: Most NFC games will be on Fox and most AFC games will be on CBS.

That’s also clear from the networks’ own promotions: When the schedule was released, Fox trumpeted 10 “Notable 2023 matchups” it is showing, and nine of those 10 are NFC games. CBS announced nine “featured national games” from its schedule, and eight of those are AFC games.

So while the league has given itself more flexibility to move games across networks, for the most part, Sunday afternoon viewing habits won’t change: AFC games will mostly be on CBS, and NFC games will mostly be on Fox.