By Marty Hendricks —
Thursday Night Football has a new home, and the winners are sports fans in Western Wisconsin with Fox 25/48’s expanded lineup of Packers, Vikings and NFL action this season.
“Our viewers will love the addition of these 11 TNF games to our schedule,” said Jud Beck, Fox 25/48 general manager and vice president. “Unlike past years on TNF, 2018’s schedule of games is full of compelling matchups. Fox worked diligently with the NFL to bring great games to Thursday Night. The opener on Sept. 27 featuring the Vikings versus the LA Rams is quite a statement.”
Football programming reigns supreme on Fox 25/48 this fall with 10 Packers regular-season games, nine Vikings contests, and the TNF matchups debuting on Fox from late September through mid-December.
“We kick off every Sunday at 9:30 a.m. with Green Bay Nation and we keep it coming all day—it’s Destination Football,” Beck said. “Fox 25/48 has the most robust NFL schedule ever, with over 40 games.”
Fox 25/48’s prime-time programming—headlined by hits “9-1-1,” “The Resident,” “Empire,” “Lethal Weapon” and “MasterChef”—welcomes viewer favorite “Last Man Standing” starring Tim Allen to the lineup this fall.
“Fox prime is the strongest it has been in a decade,” Beck said. “I love the return of ‘Last Man Standing,’ which will air Friday nights at 7 p.m. I could not be more proud that Fox chose to bring this family-friendly comedy back to prime time.”
The prime question concerning the 2018 Packers is this: Can Green Bay rebound from a 7-9 season that saw the team miss the playoffs for the first time in eight years? It’s the 100th season of the historic franchise and expectations are high in Titletown.
The fate of the Packers’ 2017 season was cemented when Aaron Rodgers crashed to the turf at U.S. Bank Stadium in mid-October, breaking his right collarbone. A 4-1 start quickly went south as backup quarterback Brett Hundley struggled as a starter and the Green Bay defense—especially the secondary—was exposed as the injuries mounted in a dismal 3-8 finish.
That sparked change in the franchise, starting with longtime general manager Ted Thompson being reassigned alongside the promotion of Brian Gutekunst and the hiring of new coordinators Joe Philbin on offense and Mike Pettine on defense.
“They have the best quarterback in football with No. 12 and will be a Super Bowl contender if their defense improves and their draft choices step up,” said Mike Ditka, former Chicago Bears head coach and ESPN analyst. “If Aaron stays healthy, and with new weapons like Jimmy Graham, the offense could be something special this season. Mike McCarthy has made a lot of changes and defensive coordinators will have new things to worry about.
“But first, you have to win your division. The NFC North is always a dogfight, and the Vikings are the team the Packers, Bears and Lions have to knock off the top of the mountain.”