For national attention, eight teams have low expectations or populations

Darin Gantt
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

If you get a lot of prime-time games, it’s usually because you’re good, interesting, or at least from a city with a lot of people.

So it’s worth noting the teams on the other end of the spectrum, who are hidden away from public view.

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While the Bills are the only team shut out of national audiences this season, there are eight other teams who make a single appearance in the highest-profile games.

The Cardinals, Panthers, Bengals, Lions, Jaguars, Dolphins, Buccaneers, and Titans each make one appearance in a prime-time game.

Of that group, half of them are isolated into Thursdays early in the season when games are only shown on NFL Network, before the Fox national package kicks in (Panthers-Bucs in Week Two and Jaguars-Titans in Week Three). The Cardinals have a Thursday against the 49ers, while the Bengals, Lions and Dolphins appear on Mondays.

Part of the justification can be viewed through a competitive lens, as none of the eight single-dippers made the playoffs last year (and only the Panthers, Jaguars, and Titans made the postseason in 2017).

But the teams also represent some of the league’s smaller markets.

Based on the size of television markets, the Bucs are the top team (11th), followed by the Cardinals (12), Dolphins (16), Panthers (23), Titans (27), Bengals (35), and Jaguars (42). The Bills reside in the 52nd-ranked television market.

For teams outside the top-10 markets, you better be good or make a lot of moves in the offseason if you want attention (and many coaches and players are just fine playing on Sunday at 1 p.m.).

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