The NFL is still finalizing the schedule for the next regular season, but fans without the NFL Network will be pleased to know that they won't be missing as many games as they did last year. This time around, CBS is taking over the broadcasting duties for Thursday night games during the first half of the season.

SportsBusinessDaily.com reported recently that the new Thursday night CBS games will most likely feature the highest caliber and most popular teams.

The report also states that the additional broadcasts will feature stronger teams than Monday Night Football will have next season. Those Thursday games reserved for the NFL Network in the second half of the season are expected to include much less intriguing match-ups.

The free agency period and the upcoming draft will most likely mean some teams will shed the dud status they earned last year. That means some teams set for those games that don't seem very strong right now could wind up in the best games of the season rather than the worst.

At the same time, there are some teams that simply have a long track record of success and winning. These will be the teams chosen to represent all of the NFL for one day of the week across the first half of the season.

High expectations equal high value for broadcast networks like CBS, and the amount of financial consideration the NFL will be receiving for the Thursday night broadcast rights is obviously a factor in this scheduling approach.

For instance, should the New England Patriots face the Denver Broncos in a Thursday night game, it's most likely to take place in the first half of the season. If it's the Browns playing the Bills, that's a game that the NFL Network would likely host if it lands on a Thursday.

Even though the Bills and Browns did make some interesting and bold offseason moves, they both have a poor track record over the last few years as far as being playoff contenders.

What this might mean for the NFL Network remains to be seen, but it could definitely lead to fewer early-season subscribers to the network. The Thursday night games have been one of the network's best selling points since it started featuring those games.

It could also mean the network is now secure enough that it no longer needs those games to keep subscribers tuned in.

Either way, all NFL fans know that on "any given" Thursday, anything can happen in an NFL game. So, there's really no telling which games will actually be better than others.

All CBS will know for sure when the schedule is released is that they'll be showing the games that are expected to be the best.


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