Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch: Week 14

NBC’s Sunday Night Football package gives it flexible scheduling. For the last seven weeks of the season, the games are determined on 12-day notice, 6-day notice for Week 17.

The first year, no game was listed in the Sunday Night slot, only a notation that one game could move there. Now, NBC lists the game it “tentatively” schedules for each night. However, the NFL is in charge of moving games to prime time.

Here are the rules from the NFL web site (note that this was originally written with the 2007 season in mind and has been only iteratively and incompletely edited since then, hence why at one point it still says late games start at 4:15 ET instead of 4:25):

  • Begins Sunday of Week 5
  • In effect during Weeks 5-17
  • Up to 2 games may be flexed into Sunday Night between Weeks 5-10
  • Only Sunday afternoon games are subject to being moved into the Sunday night window.
  • The game that has been tentatively scheduled for Sunday night during flex weeks will be listed at 8:15 p.m. ET.
  • The majority of games on Sundays will be listed at 1:00 p.m. ET during flex weeks except for games played in Pacific or Mountain Time zones which will be listed at 4:05 or 4:15 p.m. ET.
  • No impact on Thursday, Saturday or Monday night games.
  • The NFL will decide (after consultation with CBS, FOX, NBC) and announce as early as possible the game being played at 8:15 p.m. ET. The announcement will come no later than 12 days prior to the game. The NFL may also announce games moving to 4:05 p.m. ET and 4:25 p.m. ET.
  • Week 17 start time changes could be decided on 6 days notice to ensure a game with playoff implications.
  • The NBC Sunday night time slot in “flex” weeks will list the game that has been tentatively scheduled for Sunday night.
  • Fans and ticket holders must be aware that NFL games in flex weeks are subject to change 12 days in advance (6 days in Week 17) and should plan accordingly.
  • NFL schedules all games.
  • Teams will be informed as soon as they are no longer under consideration or eligible for a move to Sunday night.
  • Rules NOT listed on NFL web site but pertinent to flex schedule selection: CBS and Fox each protect games in five out of six weeks starting Week 11, and cannot protect any games Week 17. Games were protected after Week 4 in 2006 and 2011, because NBC hosted Christmas night games those years and all the other games were moved to Saturday (and so couldn’t be flexed), but are otherwise protected after Week 5; I’m assuming protections were due in Week 4 again this year, and the above notwithstanding, Week 10 is part of the main flex period this year, as it was in 2006 and 2011. As I understand it, during the Week 5-10 period the NFL and NBC declare their intention to flex out a game two weeks in advance, at which point CBS and Fox pick one game each to protect.
  • Three teams can appear a maximum of six games in primetime on NBC, ESPN or NFL Network (everyone else gets five) and no team may appear more than four times on NBC, although starting this year Week 17 is exempt from team appearance limits. No team starts the season completely tapped out at any measure; nine teams have five primetime appearances each, but only the Texans don’t have games in the main flex period, though they don’t have any early-flex games left either. A list of all teams’ number of appearances is in my Week 5 post.

Here are the current tentatively-scheduled games and my predictions:

Week 17 (January 3):

AFC Playoff Picture
DIVISION
LEADERS
WILD CARD WAITING IN
THE WINGS (6-7)
SOUTH
47-6
510-3
7-6
NORTH
38-5
68-5 5-7-1
7-6
WEST
210-3
8-5
10-3 7-6
EAST
111-2
7-6
8-5
NFC Playoff Picture
DIVISION
LEADERS
WILD CARD WAITING IN
THE WINGS (5-7-1)
SOUTH
48-5
59-4
8-5
WEST
38-4-1
68-5
5-7-1
NORTH
29-4
7-5-1
2 teams at 7-6 7-6
EAST
111-2
7-6
9-4
  • Tentative game: None (NBC will show game with guaranteed playoff implications).
  • Possible games: Giants-Swamp, Texans-Titans, Panthers-Bucs, Jaguars-Colts, Packers-Lions, Patriots-Dolphins, Raiders-Broncos, Chiefs-Chargers.
  • Chances of Texans-Titans: 35 percent. With these two teams tied at the top of the division and the Colts a game back, there are only two main obstacles to this game being flexed to NBC: the severe lack of name value of the teams and the possibility of the loser still picking up a wild card spot, and the latter isn’t too big a concern right now. With Houston holding a perfect division record including one game over the Titans, while the Titans have only one division win, this game would at least be a candidate if the teams were either tied or if the Titans took a one-game lead into Week 17; that perfect division record also means that the Colts could be tied with the Texans in the latter scenario and still allow this to be a division title game. But the Colts can’t be tied for the division lead heading into the final week, and NBC might prefer virtually any other game.
  • Chances of Packers-Lions: 25 percent. The Packers have a game in hand over the Lions so they only need to make up one game to make this a division title game, but they have the twin problems of the potential of the loser still making the playoffs and the Vikings gumming up the waterworks. Even then, so long as the Packers beat the Vikings on Christmas Eve the Vikings would lose a tiebreaker if they managed to nab a share of the division lead, with the Packers winning the three-way tiebreaker if it came to that. What may be the biggest problem is that the Lions play on Monday night Week 16, meaning this game may have to be a division title game no matter what happens there – in other words, the Packers may have to make up a game this week and then beat the Vikings – but if that happens NBC would gobble this game up in a heartbeat.
  • Chances of Giants-Swamp: 15 percent. The Giants and Bucs have identical conference records with nothing but conference games remaining, so if they finished tied the Bucs would win the tiebreaker. So if the Giants and Bucs enter Week 17 tied with Washington a half-game behind both, then the loser of this game is out as they would fall behind the Bucs no matter what, while the winner should get in if they can’t be leapfrogged by an NFC North team.
  • Chances of Raiders-Broncos: 10 percent. The Raiders have a game in hand over the Broncos but have only a one-game lead in divisional games, so depending on what games the Raiders lose or Broncos win the Broncos might only need to make up one game. But this game would also need the Dolphins, or (less likely) teams in other divisions, to cooperate in order to eliminate the loser, and both AFC West games are dependent on Broncos-Chiefs as the Christmas night game.
  • Chances of Patriots-Dolphins: 6 percent. The Dolphins would lose the common games tiebreaker to either the Raiders or Broncos, so if they all entered the week tied this game would be closer to a win-and-in, lose-and-out game than that one, for reasons described here, assuming the AFC North or South isn’t a factor… and assuming the Patriots have nothing left to play for, because if they’re still fighting for seeding the league would probably prefer to have them playing at the same time (or earlier) as the Chiefs. The flip side is that the Dolphins can still win the division if they win out and the Patriots lose out, and the Patriots aren’t even guaranteed a playoff spot yet; I don’t know if that’s more or less likely as a scenario (and I’m not sure the Patriots can be guaranteed to be eliminated from the playoffs with a loss before the rest of the Week 17 games), but it might be more likely to put this game in primetime. If the chances I give this game seem high to you, think of it as 3 percent for each of these scenarios.
  • Chances of Jaguars-Colts: 4 percent. Similar to the first Pats-Dolphins scenario above but under slightly different conditions, namely the Colts and Titans being tied for the division lead by a game over the Texans. The Colts swept the Titans so they would get in with a win, but if the Texans win and the Colts lose then the Texans’ sweep of both teams would give them the division. But this game might be even less appealing than Texans-Titans, so it would be an absolute last resort.
  • Chances of Chiefs-Chargers: 4 percent. Also similar to Pats-Dolphins, this game is also dependent on a three-way tie but for the opposite reason: the Chiefs swept the Raiders and the Broncos can’t beat them on divisional record, so if the Chiefs collapsed to the point all three teams were tied for the division lead, the Chiefs would win the division with a win no matter what happened with the Raiders and Broncos. But between this and Jags-Colts, I don’t know which scenario is less likely or which game is less desirable.
  • Chances of Panthers-Bucs: 1 percent. Unlike the other games that only matter to one team, this one isn’t nearly as cut and dry, and in fact I’m not sure a scenario even exists where this game would be picked. The best-case scenario I can find for this being a win-and-in, lose-and-out game for the Bucs is if you took the scenario for the Giants game above and moved Washington a half-game ahead of the Giants and Bucs; then, if the Giants lose and the Bucs win the Bucs would get the 6 seed if no NFC North team intervenes, if the Giants and Bucs lose the Bucs could still make the playoffs unless an NFC North team intervenes, but if the Giants win and the Bucs lose then the Bucs are out. But even that requires the NFC North to cooperate in each direction, making it difficult if not impossible to think of a situation where this game would be a true candidate but Packers-Lions was not.

27 Comments

  1. Walt Gekko
    Posted December 13, 2016 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    Noted this in the other thread:

    The NFL ought to seriously look at altering the TV contracts if possible so the final day of the NFL regular season has all 16 games starting simultaneously. This might include adding a week to the season by giving all teams an additional bye week (that can be tied to the Thursday and other midweek games, which eliminates that issue) so the networks are otherwise getting the same packages they are getting now, just with a new week 18 added.

    If such can be altered, then the final day of the regular season can be done where ALL games that day kick off simultaneously and are NOT subject to normal NFL broadcast policies. In this scenario, the most meaningful games would be airing simultaneously on CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN (and possibly ABC) and NFL Network while games that are less meaningful (including games involving local teams) are airing over-the-air on secondary channels owned by those who own the local network affiliate and also utilizing the DT-2 and DT-3 channels of local network affiliates as much as possible. Games can also in this scenario for that week ONLY air on sister networks of the main broadcast partners, including FS1, NBCSN, CNBC, etc., plus (again, for that week ONLY) ALL games would be available to all online through NFL.com and NFL RedZone for that week also would be available through NFL.com with no special sign-in. This would solve the issues with scheduling the last week and also make it so no network affiliate is stuck with a meaningless local game the final week.

    For that week, it could be done where all games kick off at 3:05 PM Eastern Time/12:05 PM Pacific Time. That would mean there would be no prime time game the final week, but that could be worked around with this being a new additional week or NBC being given an additional prime time playoff game (possibly by expanding the playoffs to three wild cards with three games each on Saturday and Sunday in that scenario) to make up for having to air a game opposite other NFL games the last week of the regular season.

    That is my solution to this problem.

  2. Walt Gekko
    Posted December 13, 2016 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Had people in other forums think you could do a split the final day as doing all games simultaneously would be too little football for them. With that in mind, here’s how I would look at a split the final day so there is a doubleheader:

    All games from one conference start at 2:00 PM Eastern Time (kickoff at 2:01 ET).  This would mean any home games in the Pacific Time Zone in the conference with the early slot would start at 11:00 AM local time that day.

    All games from the other conference would start at 5:45 PM Eastern Time.  The slightly longer-than-usual window for the first game allows for those games to be mostly complete before the second games kick off.

    This would still be a Sunday where the normal NFL Broadcast policies (aside the games having to air over-the-air in the home markets of the teams playing) would be suspended (in other words, home teams that week can have games air opposite their game where that normally is not the case), setting it up so all eight conference games (that are being played simultaneously) would be airing simultaneously on ALL of the NFL’s regular broadcast partners, with in this setup, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN and NFL Network ALL getting doubleheaders of games going on simultaneously.   ESPN would also as part of this be able to air games on ABC and ESPN2 in both time slots (set up with ESPN in the same way where if a local team’s game is airing on ESPN or ESPN2, that game airs in the local market on their ABC affiliate and the game that otherwise is airing on ABC would air in place of the local game on ESPN or ESPN2).  FOX would be likewise able to use FS1 and NBC would be able to use CNBC or NBCSN to air one game each (with in those cases, the local team’s game moved to the FOX or NBC station if airing on FS1 or CNBC/NBCSN otherwise with the game otherwise airing on NBC or FOX shifted to CNBC/NBCSN or FS1 where appropriate).   All games would also be available online the final day through NFL.com and the normal network websites with no special sign-in necessary.

    That to me is the solution.

  3. Walt Gekko
    Posted December 13, 2016 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    I meant to say the same way they do for college football splits with regard to what I said about moving games between ESPN/ESPN2 and ABC where warranted so the local team’s game airs over-the-air.

  4. Jeff
    Posted December 13, 2016 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Here’s my current analysis for Week 17 SNF flex scheduling.

    #1 option I have Houston(7-6) @ Tennessee(7-6), #2 I have NY Giants(9-4) @ Washington(7-5-1), #3 I have Green Bay(7-6) @ Detroit(9-4), #4 I have Oakland(10-3) @ Denver(8-5), and lastly #5 I have New England(11-2) @ Miami(8-5). I think the odds are likely that this Patriots/Dolphins game will stay as my last choice the rest of the way, as I don’t see this game having any real chance of affecting playoff scenarios. We’ll see. On to Week 15 and as always, Go Pack Go in Chicago this coming Sunday. :)

  5. Atsushi Idobe
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Walt,

    I agree with your ideas for week 17 TV broadcasting in terms of airing games on various networks and secondary channels of CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN, and NFL Network. In addition, I agree that it would be appealing to make the week 17 games more accessible for fans through Red Zone and the internet. However, with regards to the way that the games could be split, I would stick with the 2:00 PM and 5:45 PM time slots like you suggested, except that regardless of conference, games featuring teams that cannot move up in playoff positioning or have been eliminated which take place in the eastern/central time zone take place at 2:00 PM while the other games with playoff implications or are in the mountain/pacific time zone take place at 5:45 PM.

    With regards to week 17, Texans at Titans is still my first choice, but the more that I think about it, Raiders at Broncos could become the flex selection even if the Raiders have clinched a playoff berth because it might be a win-or-go home game for the Broncos who still have a very tough remaining schedule. The Broncos are still the defending Super Bowl champions so I think in this scenario, this match-up would appeal to NBC, even if NBC already had the earlier Broncos-Raiders game in Oakland.

  6. Atsushi Idobe
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Obviously, the name value hurts the Texans-Titans game’s chances of being flexed in week 17, but in 2010, NBC flexed in Rams-Seahawks for the NFC West division title when both teams were under .500 and neither team had much national appeal, so I believe that Texans-Titans still has a decent chance to be flexed in if it is for the AFC South division title.

  7. Posted December 14, 2016 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Not So Fast There’s A Good Chance That the game is Pats Dolphins That Game has Playoff Implactions. so that game percentage can rise. Because NBC from Jan 1, 2012 to Dec 29, 2013. chose the 3 Dallas Cowboys matchups in week 17 because of star players. But I don’t want to see packers lions or Titans Texans. But I Hope it’s Pats Dolphins in Week 17 So That A National Audience Can see the game on NBC Sunday Night Football.

  8. Morgan Wick
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Name value only hurts Texans-Titans if there’s another game available that would be suitable for Sunday night. That’s why I still give them the highest percentage chance. And I don’t think Raiders-Broncos can be a win-or-go-home game for the Broncos *regardless of what happens earlier in the day* unless it’s one for the Raiders as well. See the post I linked in the Pats-Dolphins section.

  9. Posted December 14, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Hey Morgan Not So Fast Like I Said Pats Dolphins might be the final SNF Game For Week 17 Because if the Dolphins keep on winning the game is likely to be that game so that it can attract a National Audience on NBC Sunday Night Football On Sunday January 1, 2017 which is New Year’s Night

  10. Morgan Wick
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    It would take a lot to happen, not all of which the Dolphins can control. At minimum they would need to win their next two games *and* need the Broncos to beat the Patriots on Sunday. On top of that, they’d either need the Patriots to lose the following week as well, or the Broncos to win the following week *and* have the Raiders lose both weeks. Anything else doesn’t create a clear-cut scenario no matter what else happens earlier in the day, and even in the latter scenario, as I said, the NFL might prefer having the Patriots playing simultaneously with the Chiefs. And while NBC would be salivating over having Brady on, I’m not sure if they would prefer it to Packers-Lions or the Giants game if they become options. Don’t let your wishful thinking cloud your judgment. :)

  11. Jeff
    Posted December 14, 2016 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Hello all,

    In a side note, the NFL has flexed a game from Week 16. Tampa Bay @ New Orleans was originally slated for 10am PST/1pm PST, but moved to 1:25pm PST/4:25pm EST. Interesting move. I think the NFL and FOX both like this move, as FOX only had San Francisco @ Los Angeles and Arizona @ Seattle as their games in this particular time slot.

  12. Atsushi Idobe
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Jeff,

    Yes I agree that it is interesting that the Buccaneers-Saints game moves to 4:25 PM on Christmas Eve. I think that may be the main late game of the doubleheader since the other two games feature teams that have been disappointing this season, and the games might not be as important as Buccaneers-Saints.

    For week 17, it really is tough to guess what game is flexed in and which games will move to 4:25 PM, since in past years I have disagreed with which games were flexed in, and which games became the doubleheader late games on FOX or CBS.

  13. Walt Gekko
    Posted December 16, 2016 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Probably that was the only game that could be moved to 4:25 on FOX on Christmas Eve. I’m guess local officials in Green Bay (especially Churches) requested that Vikings-Packers NOT be moved to 4:25 on Christmas Eve so as not to interfere with Christmas Eve Service. Only other option would have been do a double cross-flex where Colts-Raiders would move to FOX and one of the NFC games on FOX would have been shifted to CBS at 4:05.

    Very surprised the NFL chose to again this year have an 8:25 PM ET on Christmas Eve (and in Houston, which is a 7:25 PM local start) given I’m sure many Churches were not pleased with the NFL last year having a Thursday night game on Christmas Eve that ran past Midnight on the east coast.

    Perhaps if the NFL insisted on a night game on Christmas Eve, what should have been done was the 1:00 PM games be moved to 12:15 and the late games be moved to 3:35 to allow for the night game to kick at 7:05 PM ET.

  14. Atsushi Idobe
    Posted December 17, 2016 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Walt,

    The scheduling for week 16 must be tough when Christmas falls on a Sunday like it did this year with Christmas Eve service as a consideration like you mentioned. I agree with you and am surprised that the NFL scheduled Bengals-Texans for 8:25 PM ET on Christmas Eve, when I figured that all of the Christmas Eve games would be played in the afternoon like in 2011. Likewise, I am surprised that the NFL scheduled both Ravens-Steelers and Broncos-Chiefs for Christmas Day. I figured that they would play just one game on Christmas Night, like they did in 2011 with Bears-Packers being the Christmas game then. While both Ravens-Steelers and Broncos-Chiefs are meaningful and great rivalry games, I figured the NFL would want to avoid competing with the NBA games on Christmas Day as much as possible.

  15. Posted December 17, 2016 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    The Dolphins won Tonight that keeps the hope for there game against the pats is looking good for primetime. So that it can be flexed in Week 17 So the percentage will likely go up from 6% to 15% percent. and a National audience can watch Pats Dolphins On New Years Night on NBC Which Is Sunday Jan 1.

  16. Walt Gekko
    Posted December 18, 2016 at 4:59 am | Permalink

    Atsushi:

    The 4:30 game Christmas Day is an NFL Network-only game. I was a bit surprised to see that given we did not have that on Christmas Day in 2011, but the NFL I think did that as insurance in case there happened to be an NBA lockout similar to 2011 that almost caused the NBA not to have Christmas Day games (the NBA actually opened that lockout-shortened season on Christmas Day).

    Back in 2011, I believe the NFL may very well have behind closed doors been facing private pressure from groups that deal with those with major problems, many of whom are lonely with no family and for many of whom the NBA usually is all they have on Christmas Day and the likely fear is without those games, some of those would do something drastic. This likely if so including being pressured to prepare to move two games from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day (in that scenario, Broncos-Bills and Giants-Jets would likely have been the games moved) if the NBA lockout had made Christmas Day NBA games a casulty. In turn, the NFL and NFLPA (again if so, likely privately) pressured the NBA and NBA Players Associated to come to an agreement so the NFL would not have to move games to Christmas Day and face the wrath from the Catholic Church in particular for playing most likely a 1:30 PM ET game on Christmas Day in particular. That to me is what settled the NBA lockout then, the NFL not wanting to have to succumb to private pressure to move games from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day on relatively short notice.

    The NFL likely would play a full slate on Christmas Day except the Catholic Church would likely be all over them for doing so.

  17. Walt Gekko
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    After yesterday, most likely scenario is this:

    As long as the Titans win against the Jags on Christmas Eve, then I think Texans-Titans is the Sunday night finale because that game will be for the AFC South regardless of the outcome of any other games (the Christmas Eve night game between the Bengals and Texans in fact would be completely meaningless if the Titans win in the afternoon because the win or lose, the Texans would still have to beat the Titans the following week to win the AFC South.

    If Packers-Lions is for the NFC North, it’s possible that could be the finale, however, the NFL would have to wait two days since the Lions don’t play until Monday night against the Cowboys.

    If the Giants beat the Eagles Thursday night, another possibility would be the NFL would go for Giants-Redskins and hope its a scenario where the Cowboys lose both Monday night to the Lions and New Year’s Day to the Eagles, setting up Giants-Redskins to where if the Giants win, they win the NFC East, if the Redskins win, they make it as a wild card.

  18. Atsushi Idobe
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Walt,

    That is very interesting to hear regarding the scheduling of NFL games on Christmas Eve/Day in 2011 and how it was impacted by the NBA lockout. Admittedly, I don’t follow the NBA too closely so that caught my attention. I really like the NFL playing games on Christmas Eve afternoon when Christmas is on a Sunday, so I was disappointed that two games were scheduled on Sunday and one on Saturday night, although like you said private pressure may have played a role in the NFL’s scheduling decision.

  19. Posted December 19, 2016 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Pats Dolphins Is Also Considered A Possible Game in Week 17 Because I Think the chance is high. And it’s more Likely That NBC Will Flex Pats fins into primetime. Because the Dolphins have been one of the AFC’s Surprise team’s this season. Because the Ravens if this is true then that will be the The NBC Sunday Night Football Game for week 17 So that a National Audience can see it.

  20. Posted December 19, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Pats Dolphins Is Also Considered A Possible Game in Week 17 Because I Think the chance is high. And it’s more Likely That NBC Will Flex Pats fins into primetime. Because the Dolphins have been one of the AFC’s Surprise team’s this season. Because the Ravens and broncos lose if this is true then that will be the The NBC Sunday Night Football Game for week 17 So that a National Audience can see it.

  21. Walt Gekko
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Andrew:

    That game is likely to be meaningless for the Pats unless the Jets pull a Christmas miracle in Foxboro Christmas Eve as the Pats may have the #1 seed already wrapped up. The Dolphins also could have already had a playoff berth wrapped up by then and even before if the Broncos and Ravens both lose on Christmas Day and the Dolphins win Christmas Eve. There is NO chance Pats-Dolphins is the Sunday Night finale at this point.

    It looks like Texans-Titans (unless the Jags upset the Titans Saturday) since with logistics involved (including the fact the NFL likely has to wait until almost midnight on Monday otherwise for the Lions-Cowboys result before deciding) on a week where its not as easy to get everything in place due to it being New Year’s. The NFL can make that decision around 6:00 PM on Christmas Eve instead of waiting up to another 54 hours that way.

  22. Cory
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Walt, if the Packers beat the Vikings on Christmas Eve at Noon, the Packers Vs Lions is guaranteed to be for the NFC North title with the winner of the contest taking the crown so NBC can still announce this game on Sunday Night Football and not have to wait. My money is still on the Green Bay-Detroit. I don’t think a casual fan will be attracted to a relatively nameless match up in Texans- Titans and I believe TV ratings far and away trumps any other factor in Week 17.

  23. Walt Gekko
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Cory:

    I think it will depend on whether after Week 16 the #2 seed is possibly at stake in the NFC, plus the likelihood the loser could have a wild card clinched based on the outcome of earlier games on New Year’s Day wheras if the Titans beat the Jags, the Texans game Christmas Eve night with the Bengals doesn’t matter since regardless it comes down to Texans-Titans for the AFC South. Also with the Titans you have Marcus Mariotta and DeMarco Murray and the chance to showcase them in an unlikely run to a division title.

  24. Karl
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    If the Packers beat the Vikings the Packers vs Lions game is for the NFC North crown. It perhaps could even be a win or go home scenario as well. If the Packers win, it doesn’t matter what the Lions do Monday night against the Cowboys the winner of that week 17 game would be the NFC North champion and have a home field playoff game in the Wild Card round. My bet is Packers vs Lions.

  25. Jeff
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    After Week 15, I still have my #1 as Houston(8-6) @ Tennessee(8-6). My #2 is now Green Bay(8-6) @ Detroit(9-5). My #3 is NY Giants(10-4) @ Washington(7-6-1). My #4 is Oakland(11-3) @ Denver(8-6). And lastly, my #5 is New England(12-2) @ Miami(9-5). I still believe my #5 choice will never happen. A potential problem with my current #1 is that if Indy either stays only 1 game behind Houston/Tennessee or is even with 1 of them, then the potential is there for all 3 games being in the mix on Week 17 and there’s no way that those games amongst those 3 teams wouldn’t be played at the same time and thus not on Sunday Night Football. If this happens, then Packers/Lions could likely fill the vacuum, but clearly this coming Saturday will be a huge factor in the Week 17 SNF game. We’ll see. That’s what makes this fun.

    Go Pack Go this weekend at Lambeau vs. the Vikings. :)

  26. Walt Gekko
    Posted December 19, 2016 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    Jeff:

    If the Titans beat the Jags on Christmas Eve, the Colts will be eliminated from AFC South and likely Wild Card contention even before their game with the Raiders takes place (used the ESPN Playoff Machine to figure that out). The two NFC South games on Christmas Eve will play heavily into whether or not Packers-Lions in Week 17 is win or go home or is simply for playoff seeding:

    If the Panthers and Buccaneers win on Saturday AND the Falcons and Bucs then both win on New Year’s Day, ONLY THEN is Packers-Lions a winner-take-all NFC North game with the loser out should the Pack also beat the Vikings on Saturday. That is the ONLY scenario where that is now the case if the Pack wins on Christmas Eve.

    With that in mind, as long as the Titans take care of business in Jacksonville on Saturday, Texans-Titans will be a winner-take-all for the AFC South AT LEAST for the Titans and it becomes winner-take-all, loser-go-home for both regardless of anything else if the Dolphins also beat the Bills in Buffalo on Saturday (Colts need both the Texans and Titans to lose this week and their week 17 game to end in a tie to win the AFC South I believe).

    That tilts it to Texans-Titans if the Titans take care of business in Jacksonville on Saturday since the Titans can’t be a Wild Card unless a myriad of things happen whereas there is now the possibly the Lions and Packers BOTH make it regardless of the outcome of their game for the NFC North on New Year’s Day.

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