Tuesday, May 29, 2018

2018 Packers/Vikings Twin Cities TV Schedule Comparison Predictions (Free Download)

By Guest Contributor @MarkDeisinger

As I do every year, I've generated a spreadsheet that compares the Twin Cities broadcast TV Packers and Vikings schedules and attempts to predict which games will be shown locally. Obviously, this is targeted toward the Twin Cities fan.

When I'm watching the Packers play, the best seat in the stadium, for me, is my couch at home. However, I live in the Twin Cities metropolitan area of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, which presents a problem – not all Packers games are available on TV, because of something called the Minnesota Vikings and the locals' baffling propensity to watch their ultimately fruitless efforts on the field of play.

For a variety of reasons, I'm unwilling to bolster my broadcast TV setup with additional technology. This means I can only see the games that a broadcast network is willing to show on the air. Oh sure, there are Packer fan restaurants or parts of restaurants devoted to Packer games, but they are always very crowded and extremely noisy, and my aging sensibilities don't take kindly to that much noise for that long. Friends and family in Wisconsin are too far away to make a trip without devoting an entire weekend. You would think I could make a run into Northwest Wisconsin, but the football viewing area gods have seen fit to declare that portion of Wisconsin to be Viking territory, a claim both ludicrous and patently offensive, as statistics show that, in every single county in Wisconsin, the favored NFL team is the Green 'n' Gold. On the contrary, there are so many Packers fans in the Twin Cities that one could argue the extension of the viewing area should run the other way.

Several years ago, a fellow Packer-loving Twin Citian sent me an Excel spreadsheet that compared the Packers schedule to the Vikings schedule so that one could attempt to predict which Packers games would be aired locally in the Twin Cities market. This intrigued me, and I took his idea and, with his blessing, ran with it. It now has the predictions built in, based on a combination of an understanding of NFL schedule and TV broadcast rules and my personal experience and gut feel for how things usually shake out. Over the years, I've gotten to the point where I have a pretty good picture of which games I'll be able to see.

Others have opined at length on the ins and outs of the team schedule this year, with its two divisional home games to kick off the season, to the tough run of mostly away games coast to coast after the bye, to the fact that we face Detroit in the last week yet again. It's a challenging schedule, but nobody hands out wins in the NFL. Every year is tough.

As a Packers fan in Minnesota, then, I tend to look at the schedule based on what I can see and what I can't from my couch. Being a fan of the best sports franchise in the galaxy means that I find it a privilege to see every game I can, even when things aren't going the Pack's way. This year's schedule looks pretty good for me, with up to eleven games aired locally; maybe even twelve if a game flexes late in the season. Possibly thirteen if the US Bank stadium roof “pulls a Metrodome” and springs a leak, forcing the Vikings to shift their Sunday home game to Tuesday evening in Kalamazoo or something.

I'll miss the Washington game on September 23 and the ESPN-aired San Francisco game on October 15, and the final three games are all probably out of reach without a flex, but the heart of the schedule looks pretty solid. I can work with this. The couch awaits.

--> (By the way, I will entertain any offers of free tickets to a Lambeau game. Please pick a game I won't be able to see from home. Also, I prefer front row end zone so that I can greet Dean Lowry when he does his next Lambeau Leap.)

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