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NBC Should Pick Browns in Week 13

Update [2007-11-20 11:26:12 by ChrisPokorny]: This frustrates me now. According to the Cincinnati Post, the Bengals will play the Steelers for the flex game in Week 13:

NO FLEX FOR BENGALS -The Bengals game at Pittsburgh on Dec. 2 will remain the Sunday night game, the NFL announced Monday. As part of the league's flex scheduling, the starting times for final seven Sunday night games are subject to be changed. NBC (WLWT-TV Channel 5 locally) will broadcast the game to a national audience.

NBC will have to announce their flex scheduling decision for Week 13 either today or tomorrow, and I'm here to continue pushing the campaign for the network to select the Cleveland Browns vs. the Arizona Cardinals. Obviously the Browns did not receive a prime time game this season because nobody really expected us to contend. Despite having a horrible defense, our offense and special teams has been one of the most exciting in the league, leading us to a 6-4 record and tied for the final playoff spot in the AFC.

The Cardinals have something to fight for too. Their offense has come alive again the past two weeks with Kurt Warner under center, and the defense had its first "breakout" performance of the season this past Sunday after cornerback Antrel Rolle intercepted three passes from Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, returning two of them for touchdowns. Arizona is only a game out of the division lead in the NFC West and they also have a great shot at taking down the Detroit Lions for a wildcard spot in the NFC.

The currently schedule game for NBC is the Steelers vs. the Bengals. Considering the Bengals are out of the playoff race, the network shouldn't keep that game. Since the intention of flex scheduling is to air games late in the season that "count", let's take a look at all of the games that include two teams with playoff implications:

  1. Buffalo vs. Washington: The Bills just laid an egg against the Patriots and the Redskins aren't the most exciting team in football at this point. I highly doubt this game would make it on.
  2. Jacksonville vs. Indianapolis: Oh, this one would have been a no-brainer, until CBS decided to protect it. NBC is not eligible for this game.
  3. San Diego vs. Kansas City: This could be an intriguing match-up, despite the teams' records. The Chargers are currently in the division lead, while the Chiefs would probably capture the division lead with a win. Overall though, neither team is on a roll, so they don't really deserve to be featured.
  4. Seattle vs. Philadelphia: Putting this game on the air would tick me off. Both of these teams are nothing more than average this year, yet they always receive more "high-market treatment".
  5. New York Giants vs. Chicago: The Bears aren't contending, but it's worth noting that this is FOX's protected game.
  6. Houston vs. Tennessee: This is the type of game that is comparable to the Browns vs. Cardinals game. The Texans' offense is much better with Andre Johnson, and despite Vince Young's struggles, showcasing him in prime time would probably make the network happy.
  7. Browns vs. Cardinals: This is the best, non-protected inter-conference game of the week and it involves two teams with high-powered offenses that are extremely close to playoff spots. Neither of these teams gets blown out too; we already know how close we came to winning in two of our losses (Oakland, Pittsburgh). On average, both of these teams' games are decided by seven points or less. No blowouts. Down to the wire action. It makes sense to us, but you never know what external factors that NBC is considering too (viewership hopes from certain markets).
I hope to hear some positive news later on regarding NBC's decision. If not, I'll be fairly upset, depending on what game they do decide to select.