Last-Minute Remarks on SNF Week 14 Picks

Week 14 (December 10):

  • Tentative game: Baltimore @ Pittsburgh
  • Prospects: 5-5 v. 9-2. Not terrible, exactly, and the Ravens actually came into the week tied for the second wild card (if Vikings-Panthers is flexed in I could see Ravens-Steelers being CBS’ lead game), but still a bit lopsided and the Steelers-Ravens rivalry has seen better days.
  • Likely protections: Raiders-Chiefs or Vikings-Panthers if anything (CBS) and Cowboys-Giants (FOX).
  • Other possible games mentioned on last week’s Watch and their records: Eagles (10-1)-Rams (8-3), Vikings (9-2)-Panthers (8-3), Seahawks (7-4)-Jaguars (7-4).
  • Impact of Monday Night Football: Will the Ravens be 6-5 and tied for the second wild card, or will they fall to a 4-6 Texans team at home and potentially set up the Steelers needing only a win to clinch the division, if they haven’t clinched it already?
  • Analysis: Ravens-Steelers is likely to have immediate playoff implications for both teams, and I continue to hold that it’s hard to imagine it losing its spot if the Ravens win (even if they lose the game is really only in jeopardy because the alternatives are strong enough to overcome the tentative game bias), but if they lose things get interesting, not only in regards to the question of whether it loses its spot at all but what game it gets replaced with. The general manager of the Coliseum is on record saying that “there are no restrictions on the venue playing host to a Sunday night game”, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the league would be so quick to take Eagles-Rams with Vikings-Panthers sitting there as an alternative. It’s worth noting that Fox has the doubleheader and could make Eagles-Rams its lead late game without any game time changes, while Vikings-Panthers was crossflexed to CBS, and while the league could conceivably “undo” the crossflex to get it a wider audience CBS would likely want another game to be crossflexed back at the very least (as they’d be left with five games with only three of them in the early slot), assuming such a thing is even possible at all; flexing it into Sunday night not only means Ravens-Steelers doesn’t get caught up in the crossflex rules but actually takes a crossflex off the board without replacement (which could be important, as all seven Fox-to-CBS crossflexes have been used). The Jaguars continue to be potential ratings poison, and if Eagles-Rams got flexed in Fox could always go back to their original plan, as a Cowboys game, even against the woeful Giants, is always better than most alternatives.
  • Final prediction: Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers (no change) (if the Ravens win Monday night), Minnesota Vikings @ Carolina Panthers (if the Ravens lose Monday night, CBS didn’t protect it, and previously crossflexed games can be moved to Sunday night), Philadelphia Eagles @ Los Angeles Rams (if the Ravens lose Monday night and Vikings-Panthers is protected or can’t be moved to Sunday night for other reasons).

15 Comments

  1. Posted November 27, 2017 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    I still think because there are potentially non-football reasons involved NBC will want Eagles-Rams for SNF because that would allow NBC to have a big-time “meet and greet” with the stars of NBC’s prime time shows at the LA Coliseum ahead of that game (plus for instance have those competing on “The Voice” perform before the game as part of “Football Night In America”).

    The part you forgot is unless there is a cross-flex, either Seahawks-Jaguars or Lions-Buccaneers I believe MUST be moved to 4:25 due to an overlap of the Jacksonville and Tampa markets in Orlando. That means Eagles-Rams would not be out to the whole country if it remained on FOX.

    Then you have the complaints in New York when the Jets and Giants are on at the same time. This already occurred in Week 3 when many in NYC felt Giants-Eagles should have been moved to 4:05 on FOX so the Jets and Giants were not playing simultaneously and those complaints will be loud and clear next week if it happens again. In addition, you as of now have BOTH LA teams scheduled for the late slot with Redskins-Chargers having to be cross-flexed to CBS (where that game is at 4:05).

    I still see this week having the most flexes of any week in NFL history, with:

    Eagles-Rams flexed to SNF.

    A double cross-flex of the New York games (Giants-Cowboys to CBS at 1:00 PM, Jets-Broncos to FOX at 4:25 PM).

    A reverse of the normal format where the main game is at 1:00 PM and the normal rules that apply to the 4:05 PM game on the singleheader network for that week only applying to the 1:00 PM game (most of the country gets the singleheader game on CBS at 4:05 that week). This would have FOX getting a rare Steelers game with Ravens-Steelers FOX’s main game at 1:00 PM and ONLY Lions-Bucs or Seahawks-Jags also on FOX at 1:00 PM while ALL OTHER GAMES on FOX are moved to 4:25 with in addition to Jets-Broncos, the Redskins-Chargers cross-flex being undone and that also being on FOX. FOX also gets an exemption from the normal blackout policies in New York so Ravens-Steelers can air there at 1:00.

    CBS has Cowboys-Giants as the lone 1:00 PM game while all other CBS games (led by Vikings-Panthers) are at 4:05 (since in this scenario, 1:00 PM is the restricted window instead of 4:05).

    This would be a one-shot deal, but with non-football reasons involved (no one expected the Rams to be this good), I suspect NBC’s Entertainment Division will get involved and want Eagles-Rams on SNF because of such non-football reasons.

  2. Atsushi Idobe
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Walt,

    I just have a question about the overlap in the Orlando market. Just a couple of weeks ago, Chargers-Jaguars and Jets-Buccaneers both aired on CBS simultaneously at 1:00 PM in week 10, so while it might make sense to move either Seahawks-Jaguars or Lions-Buccaneers to 4:25 PM, I do not think that is necessary.

    I am also interested to see how the NFL handles the situation with the Jets and Giants. I know that the Giants have already been eliminated, but would FOX be willing to give up a Cowboys-Giants match-up when they are considered to be valuable no matter the records of either team for Jets-Broncos, with both the Jets and Broncos realistically out of playoff contention?

    With regards to the Sunday Night flex, I agree and I hope that Eagles-Rams is flexed in not only because it is an appealing match-up of two large markets, but in order to alleviate the problem of both Los Angeles teams playing at the same time.

  3. Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Morgan, something has to be done about the problem with Giants/Cowboys and Eagles/Rams at the same time/same network (FOX, 4:25pm). You cannot tell me the NFL will just let them both stay there. Easiest solution is just flex Eagles/Rams to SNF. Second easiest is Walt’s solution of moving Giants/Cowboys to 1pm ET (obviously Eagles/Rams can’t go to 1pm ET).

  4. Jeff
    Posted November 27, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I suspect Balt @ Pitt will stay as the SNF game, even if the Ravens lose tonight. I hope I am wrong though. With Pitt’s scintillating win over my Pack last night on SNF and the rivalry and usually close games it entails, we’ll probably get stuck with this game. My choice for Week 14 is now Minny @ Carolina…1 game apart…..next is Seahawks @ Jack….1 game apart….with lastly Eagles/Rams…2 games apart.

    Week 15’s SNF game of Cowboys @ Raiders must go, especially if the Dallas loses this Thursday vs. the Skins. New England @ Pittsburgh would be my 1st choice, though I am sure protected. Then, of course, my next choice is Rams @ Seahawks. Heck, I might even like that more, to be honest.

    And lastly, Week 17. Jack @ Tenn remains my #1, as I feel that game will give the winner the AFC South. The problem here is that this game could also have Wild Card implications. The Peach Bowl stricken Carolina @ Atlanta game is my #2 and could be for Wild Card seeding, a division title, or last playoff spot. The upcoming Week 13 and beyond in the NFC South will be interesting to see what happens in regards to this game. By the way, Raiders @ Chargers might sneak its way into this time slot.

    Nothing from nflcommunications.com yet regarding Week 14. That will likely come down tomorrow.

    Go Pack Go this Sunday at Lambeau vs the Bucs. 🏈☺🏈

  5. Posted November 27, 2017 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Atsushi:

    I was not aware that both the Jags and Bucs aired simultaneously on CBS. In the past, the NFL tried to avoid that and I’m sure got complaints.

    As for FOX losing a Cowboys game, in this case FOX would get in its place a rare Steelers game (if Eagles-Rams is flexed to SNF) so, losing the Cowboys, especially since if they lose on Thursday their game with the Giants likely means nothing would not be that big a deal, especially if you are dealing with a reverse of the normal rules and Cowboys-Giants at 1:00 on CBS and the main game of Ravens-Steelers on FOX at 1:00 with just either the Bucs or Jags game with it at the same time and the late spot (that includes Jets-Broncos and Redskins-Chargers both cross-flexed to FOX) acting like the early spot normally does (with Panthers-Vikings CBS’s main game at 4:05 in this scenario).

    I still think the NFL is likely hearing from NBC’s Entertainment Division wanting Eagles-Rams for non-football reasons.

  6. Posted November 28, 2017 at 3:47 am | Permalink

    It’s called a “doubleheader” for a reason. What’s the main game at 1pm on FOX now? Seattle-Jacksonville? There needs to be a showcase game in the 1pm slot, either Giants-Cowboys or Ravens-Steelers. If Eagles-Rams were in Philly, I would gladly volunteer to take the early slot (especially to force the Rams into an early kickoff their time). But since the game is in LA, a 1pm ET kickoff isn’t feasible). Something needs to be put there. I don’t care if you move the Cowboys to SNF, just get it out of the Eagles-Rams way. Right now, I could care less about the Eagles getting another SNF game or more exposure, it’s about the Rams. I want them and LA to get exposure. It’s a joke if they get screwed because of the Cowboys and Steelers/Ravens.

  7. Posted November 28, 2017 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    Schmolik:

    It doesn’t come up much anymore, but in the past the NFL on occasion did do the reverse where the 1:00 PM game was the main game and the regional games were in the late slot. There was one time I vividly remember the NFL doing it that way in 1987 when the main game was at 1:00 by itself and the regional games were all at 4:00 when CBS (which then had the NFC), which I remember because that included the Giants playing what turned out to be the last home game for the then-St. Louis Cardinals (for those who don’t remember, the football Cardinals were in St. Louis from 1960-’87). It would not be unprecedented for the NFL to have the doubleheader game at 1:00 and the regional games at 4:25 and do the reverse of the norm because this is a rare case where it makes sense to do that if Eagles-Rams gets flexed.

  8. Posted November 28, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Rejoice Rejoice Steelers Fans. I Will Watch Ravens Steelers next Sunday Night on NBC. Because it’s going to be a great Game. Now that Week 14 is taken care of. Now we can move on to Week 15.

  9. Posted November 28, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    I’m a little surprised only because if I were at NBC, I’d be demanding Eagles-Rams citing non-football reasons that trump the Steelers popularity.

  10. Posted November 28, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    BTW, I think Cowboys-Raiders remains in Week 15, especially if the Raiders and Chargers both win this week because both still have to play the Chiefs again.

    Also, Raiders-Chargers could now be the Week 17 finale.

  11. Posted November 28, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Also BTW, Bengals-Ravens could be possible for Week 17 if the Playoff Machine is correct because that could be winner-take-all for a Wild Card spot (I have the Bengals beating the Steelers this week and getting to 8-7 going into that game).

  12. Jeff
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Well all, that was about the least boring announcement for Week 14 schedule changes that we could have expected. All they did was flip Sea @ Jack to the late game, with Dal @ NYG moving to the early game. Ha. Joke was on us, huh?

    Go Pack Go this Sunday at Lambeau vs the Bucs. 🏈☺🏈

  13. Jeff
    Posted November 28, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    How about most boring. Least boring would mean the opposite. My bad.

  14. Posted November 28, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Thank you NFL! The Eagles-Rams looks to be the primary late game now with Seahawks/Jaguars the backup. Cowboys/Giants (it’s in New York, not Dallas as I thought) can be the lead 1pm ET game).

  15. Posted November 28, 2017 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    My guess is the NFL would have been under pressure to break CBS’s protection of Patriots-Steelers in Week 15 had Eagles-Rams been flexed.  Coupled with FOX lobbying to keep Eagles-Rams, it’s likely the NFL didn’t want to do anything, though if I were in NBC’s Entertainment Division, I would have demanded Eagles-Rams for non-football reasons (mainly being able to have a “meet and greet” with the stars of NBC’s prime time shows at the LA Coliseum before the game and also have those competing on The Voice performing before the game as part of Football Night in America).  

    Moving Eagles-Rams would likely have also meant a plethora of other moves that would have likely included multiple cross-flexes (including Cowboys-Giants to CBS AND Jets-Broncos and Redskins-Chargers to FOX) with Ravens-Steelers as FOX’s main game of the entire day being at 1:00 PM with the regional games at 4:25 and moving ALL of CBS’s games to 4:05 except for Cowboys-Giants that would have been at 1:00).

    It might have been a logistical nightmare seeing almost ALL games switching time slots had Eagles-Rams been flexed.  

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