• Comment: Burkhardt and Lynch have potential and could emerge as Fox’s No. 2 team and earn a playoff assignment if they perform up to expectations.
• What’s on: Sunday night games, plus Baltimore-Denver to open the season on Thursday, Sept. 5; and Pittsburgh-Baltimore on Thanksgiving.
• What’s new: Former Kansas City Chiefs general manager Scott Pioli joins the studio show with regular appearances.
• Announcing pairing: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth.
• Comment: NBC will again have a flexible schedule element for the final seven Sundays. Beginning in 2014, flexible scheduling will allow the NFL to shift Sunday afternoon games between CBS and Fox, occasionally, so better games can have larger audiences.
What’s on: Monday Night Football, including a Week 1 doubleheader: Philadelphia-Washington and Houston-San Diego.
• What’s new: Former UM and Baltimore Ravens star Ray Lewis joins ESPN as a part-time analyst on Sunday Countdown and a regular pregame and postgame analyst on Monday night games.
• Announcing pairing: Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden.
• Comment: Gruden capably handled sole analyst duties for the first time last season after Ron Jaworski was shifted to the studio. His commentary has become more balanced, but he’s still prone to bursts of praise that seem excessive at times.
• What’s on: Thursday night games between Sept. 12 and Dec. 12, except Thanksgiving (when NBC has rights).
• What’s new: Nothing.
• Announcing pairing: Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock.
Comment: The quality of matchups usually does not measure up to ESPN’s and certainly not NBC’s, because every team is required to have at least one full national game, and NFL Network is always given the teams that do not legitimately warrant prime-time appearances. That’s why NFL Net’s schedule includes Bills-Browns on Oct. 3 and the dreadful Jacksonville Jaguars on Dec. 5, against very much worthy Houston.