Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

Will CBS Make Sunday's Patriots at Bills Game Their Nationally Televised 1 PM Game?

After beating Indianapolis on Sunday, the Bills look likely to get some national exposure against the Patriots.

The Buffalo Bills have rarely enjoyed "big ticket item" status when it comes to national network coverage on Sunday afternoons. The rare exception can be a rivalry game, like the one coming up Sunday at home against New England.

But if CBS features their matchup this week, that could change quickly. A big performance against the perennial class of the AFC East could cause national outlets to take notice and give them a level of respect they've failed to earn for decades. And it looks like the chances are good the stage will be set for such a showdown.

First of all, a primary complicating factor to this is that FOX enjoys a doubleheader this weekend, as they often do in the weeks prior to their MLB Playoff coverage. That means that CBS will send it's primary team of Jim Nantz and Phil Simms to the location of their lone national offering, which could be in the 1 PM or 4 PM slot. 

There are a few interesting alternative choices for CBS, though. Here are some reasons why they might choose their other available games:

1 PM

Houston at Carolina - Texans were on Hard Knocks, rare chance to showcase Carolina on CBS.

San Diego at Cincinnati - Two teams that enjoyed impressive Week 1 victories.

Tennessee at Cleveland - Potentially a Marcus Mariota vs. Johnny Manziel quarterback matchup, if Josh McCown is unable to start.

4 PM

Miami at Jacksonville - Only marginal appeal with Miami being 1-0.

Baltimore at Oakland - West Coast and AFC North markets would have interest, but not much else. 

To me, New England at Buffalo ought to be CBS's choice for Sunday. Some great storylines exist: the Belichick/Ryan storyline, the defending champions, controversy over the various -gates, and both teams (and the entire AFC East) enjoyed positive starts. 

After a down viewership for their Baltimore at Denver showing yesterday, CBS shouldn't want to take any chances either. A heated division rivalry with the reigning champs is the safe choice.

If Nantz and Simms call the game, we'll have to see how they present the game. Many teams' fans (and even some in the media) have accused them of harboring biases towards the Patriots and Tom Brady. Add to that, Simms' son Matt Simms was cut by Buffalo at the 53-man roster cutdown. It's tough to believe a professional like Simms would hold a grudge. But for the Bills fan watching on television, don't expect much favor in the eyes of the broadcasters.


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