Thursday Night Lights: Fox turbocharges new primetime NFL slate

After spending the last few weeks hyping up their shiny new “Thursday Night Football” package to media buyers and advertisers, Fox Sports now has a tangible product to sell in the wake of Thursday night’s release of the 2018 NFL schedule. And while there’s no way of telling how fans will take to the refurbished primetime broadcast slate, at first blush the “Thursday Night Football” lineup looks to be greatly improved on last season’s patchwork effort.

Fox’s 11-game Thursday night roster features 10 of the 12 teams that made the playoffs last season, including the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, perennial AFC contenders New England and Pittsburgh and at least three up-and-comers in Jacksonville, Minnesota and the Los Angeles Rams. In what would normally be lined up as one of Fox’s late-national Sunday afternoon games, the latter two squads will square off in the network’s inaugural “TNF” broadcast on Sept. 27.

Other potentially intriguing draws include an Oct. 11 throwdown between NFC East rivals Philly and the New York Giants, a Nov. 1 Bay Area brawl featuring the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers and, serving as the bread on either end of Fox’s Thanksgiving Day turkey-and-cranberry-sauce sandwich, a Nov. 15 Packers-Seahawks rumble and a Nov. 29 battle between the Saints and Cowboys.

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