The NFL released its 2013 reg-ular-season schedule last Thursday night. With the passing of legendary NFL player and announcer Pat Summerall, the main focus of my column last week, I didn’t get the chance to analyze some of the prime-time matchups we will see this season.
Now, I have that opportunity.
Here is my take on what prime-time games are worth watching, and what ones you can pass up.
u Baltimore at Denver, Sept. 5, NBC: The defending Super Bowl-champion Ravens don’t get to open the season at home because their neighbors across the street at Camden Yards, the Orioles, won’t move their Thursday baseball game from night to day.
Still, the season-opening game is intriguing on many levels. It will be the first game for the Ravens without linebacker Ray Lewis
(retired) and safety Ed Reed (signed with Houston). And it’s a rematch of the Ravens’ double-overtime win at Denver in the AFC divisional round. The Broncos are still stinging from that.
u N.Y. Giants at Dallas, Sept. 8, NBC: NFC East rivals. Enough said.
u Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, Sept. 16, ESPN: The Bengals just signed former Steelers linebacker James Harrison. Harrison will be out to prove that the Steelers made a huge mistake.
u Kansas City at Philadelphia, Sept. 19, NFL Network: New Chiefs coach Andy Reid returns to Philadelphia. How will the Eagles fans greet him? Tune in and find out. (Spoiler alert: He will get a standing ovation).
u Chicago at Pittsburgh,
Sept. 22, NBC: Smash-mouth football. I won’t be surprised if the final score is 6-3.
u Buffalo at Cleveland, Oct. 3, NFL Network: I can’t think of any good reason to watch this one.
u Miami at Tampa Bay, Nov. 11, ESPN: The battle for Florida. Otherwise, a snoozer.
u Denver at New England, Nov. 24, NBC: The annual Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady matchup.
u Pittsburgh at Baltimore, Nov. 28, NBC: An AFC North battle is a great way to cap off Thanks-giving Day.
u New England at Baltimore, Dec. 22, NBC; Atlanta at San Francisco, Dec. 23, ESPN: It’s a rematch of last year’s conference championship games in Week 16. They should be two great late-season games.
The NBA playoffs conference quarterfinals continue this weekend.
There are four games today. TNT and TNT HD will have Game 4 of the Eastern Conference series between the Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls at 2 p.m. That will be followed at 4:30 p.m. with Game 4 of the Western Conference series between the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies.
ESPN and ESPN HD will have the final two games of the day. At 7 p.m., it’s Game 3 of the Eastern Conference matchup between the Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks. Game 3 of the Western Conference series between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets follows at 9:30.
There are four games Sunday. ABC Sports (ABC10 WTEN and ABC10 HD) will have two Game 4s from the Eastern Conference — the New York Knicks at Boston Celtics at 1 p.m., and the Miami Heat at Milwaukee Bucks at 3:30.
TNT and TNT HD will have two Game 4 Western Conference matchups — the San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers at 7 p.m., and the Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors at 9:30.
A side note. Time Warner Cable SportsChannel 50 (standard definition) and TWCS-1803 (high definition) will have Game 5 of the Eastern Conference series between the Bulls and Nets.
The NHL regular season closes out this weekend, and the playoffs will start Tuesday.
There are three games on TV today. NBC Sports (NBC13 WNYT and WNYT HD) will have the New Jersey Devils at New York Rangers at 3 p.m. NBC Sports Network and NBCSN HD have the Detroit Red Wings at Dallas Stars at 7. NHL Network and NHLN HD carry the Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs at 7.
On Sunday, NBCSN and NBCSN HD will have the Ottawa Senators at Boston Bruins at 7:30 p.m. At 11, NHL Network and NHLN HD will have the Stanley Cup playoffs scheduling show. I’ll have the schedule on my Parting Schotts blog early Monday morning.
ESPN “SportsCenter” anchor Lindsay Czarniak will host ABC Sports’ coverage of the Indianapolis 500 on May 26. She becomes the first female to host the event. Czarniak has a background in motorsports, having served as a pit and feature reporter and host for TNT’s telecasts of NASCAR Sprint Cup races and a pit reporter for NBC Sports prior to moving to ESPN. She also hosted ESPN’s “NASCAR Now.” . . .
Actor Jon Hamm, best known as Don Draper on AMC’s “Mad Men,” will host the ESPY’s on ESPN July 17. . . .
TWCS-50 and TWCS-1803 HD will have the VMI-Siena men’s lacrosse game today at noon. . . .
ESPN, ESPN HD, NFL Network and NFLN HD will have the final four rounds of the NFL draft today at noon.