Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch: Week 9

Since it started in its current format as the NFL’s main primetime package in 2006, the defining feature of NBC’s Sunday Night Football has been the use of flexible scheduling to ensure the best matchups and showcase the best teams as the season goes along. Well, that’s the theory, anyway; the reality has not always lived up to the initial hype and has at times seemed downright mystifying. Regardless, I’m here to help you figure out what you can and can’t expect to see on Sunday nights on NBC.

A full explanation of all the factors that go into flexible scheduling decisions can be found on my NFL Flexible Scheduling Primer, but here’s the Cliffs Notes version with all the important points you need to know:

  • The season can be broken down into three different periods (four if you count the first four weeks where flexible scheduling does not apply at all) for flexible scheduling purposes, each with similar yet different rules governing them: the early flex period, from weeks 5 to 10; the main flex period, from weeks 11 to 16; and week 17. In years where Christmas forces either the Sunday afternoon slate or the Sunday night game to Saturday in Week 16, flex scheduling does not apply that week, and the main flex period begins week 10.
  • In all cases, only games scheduled for Sunday may be moved to Sunday night. Thursday and Monday night games, as well as late-season Saturday games, are not affected by Sunday night flexible scheduling (discounting the “flexible scheduling” applied to Saturday of Week 16 this year – see below).
  • During the early and main flex periods, one game is “tentatively” scheduled for Sunday night and listed with the Sunday night start time of 8:20 PM ET. This game will usually remain at that start time and air on NBC, but may be flexed out for another game and moved to 1, 4:05, or 4:25 PM ET on Fox or CBS, no less than 12 days in advance of the game.
  • No more than two games can be flexed to Sunday night over the course of the early flex period. If the NFL wishes to flex out a game in the early flex period twelve days in advance, CBS and Fox may elect to protect one game each from being moved to Sunday night. This is generally an emergency valve in situations where the value of the tentative game has plummeted since the schedule was announced, namely in cases of injury to a key star player.
  • CBS and Fox may also each protect games in five out of six weeks of the main flex period, but all of those protections must be submitted after week 5, week 4 in years where the main flex period begins week 10 (so it is always six weeks before the start of the main flex period).
  • No team may appear more than six times across the league’s three primetime packages on NBC, ESPN, and Fox/NFL Network, and only three teams are allowed to appear that often, with everyone else getting five. In addition, no team may appear more than four times on NBC. All teams’ number of appearances heading into this season may be seen here.
  • According to the league’s official page, teams are notified when “they are no longer under consideration or eligible for a move to Sunday night.” However, they rarely make this known to the fans, and the list of each network’s protections has never officially been made public. It used to leak fairly regularly, but has not leaked since 2014.
  • In all cases, the NFL is the ultimate arbiter of the schedule and consults with CBS, Fox, and NBC before moving any games to prime time. If the NFL does elect to flex out the Sunday night game, the network whose game is flexed in receives the former tentative game, regardless of which network would “normally” air it under the “CBS=AFC, Fox=NFC” rules, keeping each network’s total number of games constant. At the same time, the NFL may also move games between 1 PM ET and 4:05/4:25 PM ET. However, this feature focuses primarily if not entirely on Sunday night flexible scheduling.
  • In Week 17, the entire schedule is set on only six days notice, ensuring that NBC gets a game with playoff implications, generally a game where the winner is the division champion. In theory, NBC may also show an intra-division game for a wild card spot, or a game where only one team wins the division with a win but doesn’t win the division with a loss, but such situations are rare and NBC has never shown them. If no game is guaranteed to have maximum playoff implications before Sunday night in this fashion, the league has been known not to schedule a Sunday night game at all. To ensure maximum flexibility, no protections or appearance limits apply to Week 17. The NFL also arranges the rest of the schedule such that no team playing at 4:25 PM ET (there are no 4:05 games Week 17) could have their playoff fate decided by the outcome of the 1 PM ET games, which usually means most if not all of the games with playoff implications outside Sunday night are played at 4:25 PM ET.

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

Week 11 (November 18):

  • Selected game: Minnesota @ Chicago. I didn’t look at the comments on last week’s post until I was getting ready to write this one, so I didn’t see some of the discussion of potential reasons not to flex in the Texans game, namely that Daniel Snyder’s team might have been concerned about hosting a Sunday night game the week before playing in Dallas on Thanksgiving. Given that, shying away from that game in favor of a slightly worse game with better name value makes some sense, but the Bears are also playing a road divisional Thanksgiving game on an even shorter turnaround (though also a shorter trip), and it’s still surprising Fox wouldn’t have protected Vikings-Bears, or raised bloody hell if the reason they didn’t protect it was because they figured the league wouldn’t flex it in because of those turnaround concerns. For that matter, while I doubt the NFL is in as much hot water with politicians in the Jacksonville area as one of my commenters imagines, if it’s even a slight concern, given the mediocrity of the alternatives, the attraction of the Steelers, and the fact the Jaguars’ season isn’t a complete disaster and would be “waiting in the wings” for a wild card if I started my playoff watch this week, it might tip the playing field in favor of the tentative game bias.

Week 12 (November 25):

  • Tentative game: Green Bay @ Minnesota
  • Prospects: 3-4-1 v. 5-3-1; another reason the Vikings-Bears flex is surprising is that it now creates back-to-back weeks of divisional rivalries involving the same team. Vikings-Bears is now the more enticing game for the division lead, and the Packers have slid below .500, but losing on the road to the Rams and Patriots is understandable (needing a last-second field goal to beat the Garoppalo-less 49ers at home on a Monday night before that less so), and the Packers are still the biggest name team (with the biggest star) in the division with their rivalries with the Vikings and Bears more attractive than whatever the Vikings and Bears have with each other.
  • Likely protections: Patriots-Jets if anything (CBS) and Seahawks-Panthers if anything (with an off chance of Giants-Eagles) (FOX).
  • Other possible games: Thanksgiving weekend, paucity of good games; besides the tentative Seahawks-Panthers is the only game all Sunday without a sub-.500 team (indeed another factor that might have tilted towards keeping the tentative Week 11 might have been that all the best games on the Sunday slate involve teams playing on Thanksgiving). Dolphins-Colts at 5-4 v. 3-5 is the option with the best worst team; hard to imagine that overcoming the tentative game bias let alone the name value of the teams.
  • Analysis: If Green Bay loses at home to the Dolphins and Aaron Rodgers goes down, does this game keep its spot? Throw in a Colts win over the Jags at home and the Vikings on bye, and without trying to predict injuries that would put Dolphins-Colts at 6-4 v. 4-5 against a tentative at 3-5-1 v. 5-3-1. Even without Rodgers I don’t think that overcomes the lack of name value. If we were really desperate we could look at Steelers-Broncos, now guaranteed to be 6-2-1 v. 3-6 with the Broncos on bye, which is probably way too lopsided to justify. So we look at me being wrong about the protections (again). Patriots-Jets might be even more lopsided than Steelers-Broncos and would only invite endless butt-fumble replays, but Seahawks-Panthers could be intriguing; the Panthers’ Thursday night loss only makes the game less lopsided and potentially holding huge wild card implications if the Seahawks can pull off an upset road win over the Rams. It’d be difficult not to flex in a 6-3 v. 5-4 game currently on the singleheader network at the expense of a 3-5-1 v. 5-3-1 game, especially since Russell Wilson and Cam Newton bring enough name value to potentially overcome the rivalry factor.
  • Final prediction: Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings (no change) (assuming Seahawks-Panthers is protected, the Packers win, or the Seahawks lose), Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers (if the Seahawks win, Packers lose, and the game is unprotected or, heaven forbid, has its protection overridden). I swear I’m not losing my edge even though I’m making a contingency prediction a week in advance rather than just punting things to a Last-Minute Remarks post.

Week 13 (December 2):

  • Tentative game: San Francisco @ Seattle
  • Prospects: Is it possible Nick Mullens saved the Niners’ other SNF game from being flexed out last Thursday night? Sure. Do I think a win over the one-win dysfunctional Raiders will be the start of a Garoppalo-like run that gets the 2-7 Niners into playoff contention, with the bye coming in Week 11 making 3-7 the best case scenario heading into the decision, and with the second wild card currently held by the Vikings at 5-3-1 with the 4-4 Seahawks looking up at it? I’m not betting on it.
  • Likely protections: Probably Chargers-Steelers (CBS) and Vikings-Patriots (FOX).
  • Other possible games: If Niners-Seahawks does keep its spot it’ll be as much because of the paucity of alternatives than anything else, as only the potentially-protected games involve only teams at or above .500. Ravens-Falcons has the best worse team at 4-4 v. 4-5, with Panthers-Bucs and Rams-Lions involving 3-5 teams, so it’s easy to see why some of my commenters think we could be in for another “protection override” to bring in Chargers-Steelers. One potential contributing factor there (that may cast doubt on whether Chargers-Steelers was protected at all): CBS may need to send its A team to Ravens-Falcons no matter what as a prep run for the Super Bowl in that stadium, barring any crossflexes. Still, it’s entirely possible another win, even over the lowly also-one-win Giants, gives the league the cover it needs to decide not to bother with any of that and keep the tentative in place.

Week 14 (December 9):

  • Tentative game: Pittsburgh @ Oakland
  • Prospects: I’m sure giving the Raiders another primetime showcase against an above .500 team on what just became a five-game win streak is just what the league wanted.
  • Likely protections: Patriots-Dolphins (CBS) and Rams-Bears (FOX) (if Fox needs to protect Eagles games Eagles-Cowboys might be likeliest).
  • Other possible games: The Bengals-Chiefs flex maxed the Chiefs out on primetime appearances (Ravens-Chiefs would have been a protection candidate otherwise, though not necessarily topping Pats-Dolphins), but Bengals-Chargers continues to be a good escape valve at 5-3 v. 6-2, even if the league might not want to showcase a game at tiny StubHub Center where half the stadium might be travelling Bengals fans, and Rams-Bears features two division leaders if Fox didn’t protect it. Falcons-Packers is improving if the Packers don’t go into freefall.

Week 15 (December 16):

  • Tentative game: Philadelphia @ LA Rams
  • Prospects: 4-4 v. 8-1, a skosh lopsided but an NFC East team will always bring enough name value to overcome a mediocre start and the Eagles are only a game back of the division lead.
  • Likely protections: Patriots-Steelers (CBS) and Packers-Bears (FOX).
  • Other possible games: Dolphins-Vikings is the only available game involving only teams at or above .500, and even with both teams winning to get to 5-4 v. 5-3-1 while the Rams fell from the ranks of the unbeatens, it’s still hard to see that overcoming the tentative game bias, market sizes, and overall name value. The next best options involve 3-5 teams in Hunters-Jaguars and Bucs-Ravens.

Week 16 (December 23):

  • Tentative game: Kansas City @ Seattle
  • Prospects: Heading into the protections this game had the same pair of records as Eagles-Rams, and that’s the case once again now, but the Chiefs come from a much smaller market than the Rams while the Seahawks have considerably worse name value than the Eagles and are staring up at the Rams in the division. Still, both teams are playoff contenders, which could be enough for the game to keep its spot in the penultimate week of the season.
  • Likely protections: Steelers-Saints (CBS) and probably nothing, but if something, Bucs-Cowboys or Vikings-Lions (FOX).
  • Other possible games: I’m assuming the games singled out for a potential move to Saturday couldn’t be protected, and with the Jaguars’ slide the games that actually did move to Saturday are the only ones in that group that would have been worth protecting. With the Falcons crawling up to .500, though, Falcons-Panthers could be becoming an intriguing alternative. Texans-Eagles would also be an option if the Eagles were available. Jaguars-Dolphins and Fox’s potentially protected games are very dark horses.

Week 17 (December 30):

  • Playoff positioning watch begins next week because I’d rather not start it in a week where I don’t get the post up until after the Thursday night game, especially since I’m probably going to have to change how I do this part this year.

31 thoughts on “Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch: Week 9

  1. Agreed that Rodgers would have to suffer a long-term injury for Packers-Vikings to even be considered to be flexed – the afternoon slate that week is just awful.

  2. Again, a reminder with Week 14:

    The NFL may not want to move Bengals-Chargers to Sunday Night Football because the Chargers (as noted in other posts) play a Week 15 Thursday Night Game in Kansas City. This has nothing to do with StubHub center, the fact is, the Chargers have a Thursday nighter two time zones to the east. Plus, the Chargers are playing a Week 16 Saturday nighter in LA against the Ravens, meaning the Chargers would be playing in prime time three straight weeks if Bengals-Chargers went to Sunday night.

    Rams-Bears remains the favorite to be moved to SNF in Week 14 because that game could have serious bearing on both the NFC North and playoff positioning for the Rams.

    As for the rest:

    Week 12: Packers-Vikings remains the favorite. Even at 3-5-1, the Pack would far from out of it in the NFC North and that game could spell desperation for the Pack.

    Week 13: Still think if CBS protected Chargers-Steelers, CBS could do a “protection override” and make CBS give up that game to SNF. 49ers-Seahawks would be an even worse matchup than Steelers-Jags would have been on SNF.

    Week 15: Unless the Eagles totally collapse, they should win the NFC East (even if they currently are one game out of first) given all the injuries the Redskins have. Especially if the Eagles take care of business Sunday night against the Cowboys as they should, this should stay in place, especially since NBC might have wanted to use this for a “meet and greet” with the stars of NBC’s prime-time lineup ahead of the game that night.

    Week 16: If the Seahawks tank, CBS could be faced with possibly a second “protection override” on Steelers-Saints with the NFL moving THAT game to SNF, finding some way to compensate CBS in the future.

    Week 17: If Eagles-Redskins is for the NFC East, that will be the Sunday night finale. If that isn’t, but the Bears-Vikings rematch is for the NFC North, THAT is the Sunday night finale. If Panthers-Saints has the NFC South on the line, THAT is the Sunday night finale. Those are in order of preference and at the moment the three best possible finales for Sunday Night Football.

  3. As for the tentative matchup for Week 11 of Pitt.(4-2-1) @ Jack.(3-5), I think this game has a better chance of staying in it’s spot if Pittsburgh actually LOSES this week at Baltimore. This would set the matchup of Pitt.(4-3-1) @ Jack.(3-5) and less lopsided. My alternatives for Week 11, based on records after Week 8, go as such in my order of preference(and remember, I only rank teams with winning records):

    #1–Minn.(4-3-1) @ Chi.(4-3) <—I guess my #1 choice made it. Look at that pull I have with the NFL and NBC. 😉
    #2–Hou.(5-3) @ Wash.(5-2) <—getting very intriguing after Texans started 0-3 <—this clearly doesn't seem interesting enough to the NFL yet to merit it a SNF slot. Vikings/Bears both winning, in Week 9, had a lot to do with this not making it to SNF
    #3–Phil.(4-4) @ N.O.(6-1) <—too much of a record disparity here it seemed, but it did get flexed to "America's Game of the Week" in the late slot on FOX though.
    #4–Cin.(5-3) @ Balt.(4-4) <—fell off of my radar due to the Ravens losing and now sporting a 4-5 record. I never think a SNF game, in Weeks 11 to 16, should involve a team with a losing record.

    My current Week 12 rankings after Week 9's standings go as such:

    #1–Sea.(4-4) @ Car.(6-2)

    G.B.(3-4-1) @ Minn.(5-3-1) <—the tentative game and likely SNF game

    My current Week 13 rankings after Week 9's standings go as such:

    #1–L.A.C.(6-2) @ Pitt.(5-2-1)
    #2–Minn.(5-3-1) @ N.E.(7-2)

    The tentative game of S.F.(2-7) @ Sea.(4-4) is going to be flexed out for sure.

    My current Week 14 possibilities after Week 9's standings go as such:

    L.A.R.(8-1) @ Chi.(5-3), N.E.(7-2) @ Mia.(5-4), Cin.(5-3) @ L.A.C.(6-2) <–getting to be most likely

    The tentative game of Pitt.(5-2-1) @ Oak.(1-7) is a goner from the SNF slate, for sure.

    My current Week 15 possibilities after Week 9's standings go as such:

    Phil.(4-4) @ L.A.R.(8-1) <–tentative game & unless Eagles dive, will likely stay, Mia.(5-4) @ Minn.(5-3-1) <–looking more promising as an option after both teams won in Week 9, N.E.(7-2) @ Pitt.(5-2-1) <–I know, I know, CBS protected this game the day the 2018 NFL schedule came out in April. Especially after what happened in last year's matchup, also in Week 15, with the controversial no TD by Jesse James. Yes, you heard me right, Jesse James. Can't make that shit up. LOL.

    My current Week 16 possibilities after Week 9's standings go as such:

    K.C.(8-1) @ Sea.(4-4) <–tentative game that might go away if Chiefs continue to win and Seahawks start to go into the tank. This started to happen in Week 9. That's the only way I see it going away though. Atl.(4-4) @ Car.(6-2), Hou.(6-3) @ Phil.(4-4), and Pitt.(5-2-1) @ N.O.(7-1).

    My current Week 17 possibilities after Week 9's standings go as such:

    Car.(6-2) @ N.O.(7-1), Chi.(5-3) @ Minn.(5-3-1), Cin.(5-3) @ Pitt.(5-2-1), and Phil.(4-4) @ Wash.(5-3).

    As a side note, as soon as I say that Carolina was given no respect this season, when it came to playing a national game, they play their 1st nationally televised game this season and bam, get blown out 52-21. I guess the lack of respect was warranted? LOL. I should have done my research and seen that the Panthers have only beaten the Steelers once in their entire history. And that happened in their 1st meeting no less, way back in 1996. That was the Panthers' 2nd season in the NFL no less. Of course, they did make the NFC Championship game that season. Overall, the Panthers are now 1-6 vs. the Steelers and have been outscored 227-98.

  4. On: November 9, 2018 at 4:17 pm
    Walt Gekko said:

    Again, a reminder with Week 14:

    The NFL may not want to move Bengals-Chargers to Sunday Night Football because the Chargers (as noted in other posts) play a Week 15 Thursday Night Game in Kansas City. This has nothing to do with StubHub center, the fact is, the Chargers have a Thursday nighter two time zones to the east. Plus, the Chargers are playing a Week 16 Saturday nighter in LA against the Ravens, meaning the Chargers would be playing in prime time three straight weeks if Bengals-Chargers went to Sunday night. MY REPLY—actually I see the Stub Hub Center being the main reason to not want to flex that game into the Week 14 SNF slot, but there are ways to make it not look like not such a small joint. The other factors you mentioned have zero bearing in my opinion.

    Rams-Bears remains the favorite to be moved to SNF in Week 14 because that game could have serious bearing on both the NFC North and playoff positioning for the Rams. MY REPLY—though if the Rams continue winning and have the NFC West locked up decision time (11/27) and the Bears falter, then Rams/Bears could fall off of the radar.

    As for the rest:

    Week 12: Packers-Vikings remains the favorite. Even at 3-5-1, the Pack would far from out of it in the NFC North and that game could spell desperation for the Pack. MY REPLY—Seattle @ Carolina could have a chance if somehow the Seahawks win at the Rams this week. Then it would be a matchup of Sea.(5-4) @ Car.(6-3). We will find out this coming Tuesday at the latest. (11/13)

    Week 13: Still think if CBS protected Chargers-Steelers, NFL could do a “protection override” and make CBS give up that game to SNF. 49ers-Seahawks would be an even worse matchup than Steelers-Jags would have been on SNF. MY REPLY—Morgan could be right that the 3rd string QB could have saved this game. Especially if they beat the Giants at home on MNF this coming Monday. Needless to say, I hope that SF @ Sea. doesn’t stay as the game.

    Week 15: Unless the Eagles totally collapse, they should win the NFC East (even if they currently are one game out of first) given all the injuries the Redskins have. Especially if the Eagles take care of business Sunday night against the Cowboys as they should, this should stay in place, especially since NBC might have wanted to use this for a “meet and greet” with the stars of NBC’s prime-time lineup ahead of the game that night. MY REPLY—last year the “meet and greet” never happened, that you expected, with Eagles at Rams. I think it was in Week 15 last year. That matchup last year had even better records than they do this season. That being said, I see this game staying put.

    Week 16: If the Seahawks tank, CBS could be faced with possibly a second “protection override” on Steelers-Saints with the NFL moving THAT game to SNF, finding some way to compensate CBS in the future. MY REPLY—CBS will not be compensated if they do “take” Steelers @ Saints from them. Why do I say this? Because NBC was never compensated for there being no Week 17 SNF game last season. When I say compensated, I mean by NBC getting a Wednesday night Primetime game that you thought that they would get and that no one else in the world believed would happen. 😉 If compensation does take place, it would be in the monetary fashion and we’d never hear about it.

    Week 17: If Eagles-Redskins is for the NFC East, that will be the Sunday night finale. If that isn’t, but the Bears-Vikings rematch is for the NFC North, THAT is the Sunday night finale. If Panthers-Saints has the NFC South on the line, THAT is the Sunday night finale. Those are in order of preference and at the moment the three best possible finales for Sunday Night Football. MY REPLY—you forgot a 4th one Walt. If the Bengals-Steelers is for the AFC North, THAT is the SNF matchup. All 4 of these could be great matchups to end the season. However, if one of these matchups are a win and in, lose and out, then that will be the game on SNF.

  5. Dan:

    I would not be surprised if for Week 16 the NFL does a “protection override” and move Steelers-Saints to SNF IF that game matters in both conferences as NBC is owed for losing the Sunday night finale last year. Perhaps to compensate, the NFL agrees next season to have it where the normal blackout rules that have it where a home game on the singleheader network does NOT go opposite a game on the doubleheader network are waived for ALL CBS DH weeks next year, even going as far as on FOX singleheader weeks where ALL of FOX’s games are at 1:00 PM on such weeks or maybe going as far as to having a London game on “Black Friday” next year with CBS getting that game and if such continues in future years giving that to ESPN.

  6. Jeff:

    With A.J. Green out, by the time the Bengals and Steelers meet in Week 17, the Steelers could be playing for a first-round bye while the Bengals are getting ready for next year, however, if the Bengals need that game for a Wild Card and the earlier games don’t matter AND the Steelers need that game for home field (in that scenario almost a certainty because do you really think the Patriots are going to lose AT HOME TO THE JETS in Week 17?), that could still be the Sunday Night Finale.

    Most likely scenario is the Eagles and Redskins are both 8-7 going into the finale in Washington and it’s win and in, lose and go home and that is the Sunday Night Finale. The Bears-Vikings rematch right now is the next most likely, followed by Panthers-Saints and then Bengals-Steelers.

    If we wind up with a second straight year of no Sunday night game in Week 17, however, I would not be surprised if the NFL next year does what I would have done this year, has been done for years in other leagues overseas and is now being done in the NBA and MLB: Playing all games simultaneously, for the NFL that would be having all games in one conference at 3:00 PM ET and the other at 7:00 PM ET (games divided between ALL of the NFL’s broadcast partners as previously noted), which I would do as a new Week 18 (all teams getting a second bye week tied to mid-week games) with Week 1 a week earlier and all games in Week 1 in midweek (to avoid Labor Day Weekend) as follows:

    Tuesday: NBC gets the opening game as it is now
    Wednesday: CBS gets a doubleheader with games at 7:10 and 10:35 PM ET.
    Thursday: FOX gets a doubleheader with games at 7:10 and 10:35 PM ET.

    CBS gets its DH on Wednesday because it has “Big Brother” on Thursdays in the summer.

    ESPN does not get a game in Week 1, but instead gets its opening doubleheader on the Wednesday after Labor Day to start Week 2. NBC gets what has been its season-opening Thursday-after-Labor Day game as a Week 2 game and both gets their normal Sunday and Monday night games as well. FOX/NFL Network gets the first game of its regular Thursday night package in Week 3, with that between teams who played on Wednesday or Thursday in Week 2. Week 4 begins Thursday nights with teams coming off one of their two bye weeks.

    That’s what I could see happening if NBC does not get a Sunday nighter in Week 17 again this year.

  7. Nathaniel:

    The NFL could easily invoke a protection override and move Chargers-Steelers anyway, since the Steelers already have been flexed out once and are likely to be again in Week 14.

    Actually:

    If the Colts win this week vs. the Jags (they were up when this was written), next week at home against the Titans and the following week against the Dolphins (winnable games), there is a good chance Texans-Colts winds up the SNF game in Week 14 as you’d have in that scenario a 6-5 Colts team having won five straight when the decision has to be made. Texans could easily lose a game between now and the time this would have to be flexed with that game potentially having division implications.

    You think the NFL would love to get an Andrew Luck vs. DeShawn Watson showdown in prime time?

  8. Surprised the NFL did not move Giants-Eagles to 4:05 PM on FOX. Yes, that would mean Philly would not get the main CBS game (unless a waiver were issued, however, there have been MASSIVE complaints in New York about Jets and Giants games being on at the same time from fans of both teams (until the past few years, the Jets and Giants used to NEVER be on at the same time unless BOTH were on the road and even then it was avoided as much as possible, as usually in this situation one game was at 1:00 and the other was at 4:05/4:25).

  9. We’ll let’s look at week 13- if Chargers vs Steelers is protected ( which I suspect it will, there is not much better options. The only game is can see is Ravens vs Falcons which isnt that great and a very slim chance of Broncos vs Bengals. I think they go with Ravens vs Falcons here

    Week 14- Steelers (6-2-1) vs Raiders (1-8)- you already this game is gonna be flexed out
    Top 3 games
    1. Rams vs Bears
    2. Patriots vs Dolphins
    3. Colts vs Texans
    We’ll I think they’re gonna protects Rams vs Bears, but still there is a ton of good games this weekend. I honestly think if the Colts can keep up being competitive the game vs the Texans looks like a good game to have on NBC.

    Week 15- Even with the Eagles at 4-5 I still don’t see this game going anywhere.. maybe if they continue to freefall I could see Dolphins vs Vikings

    Week 16- I don’t see this one getting flexed especially with all the other flex possibilities.

    Week 17- too early to decide

  10. Fox might not have necessarily protected Rams-Bears. At that point, no one knew how good the Bears were going to be (though Week 2 should have been a tell-tale sign).

    Agree on Eagles-Rams in Week 15. Eagles could easily be 6-6 and still in the thick of the NFC East race when that has to be decided, though injuries are mounting up big time on the Birds.

    Still think the NFL could do a “protection override” and move Steelers-Saints to SNF anyway, and if so compensate CBS in some way next season for doing so.

  11. My current Week 12 rankings after Week 10’s standings(before Monday Night football’s insignificant game) go as such:

    #1–G.B.(4-4-1) @ Minn.(5-3-1) <–the only game that has 2 teams at or over .500 for the entire weekend, except for Monday Night Football's Tenn.(5-4) @ Hou.(6-3). This was the tentative game and was selected back on November 8th. Little did I know that had happened though. I don't think many or any of us noticed that.

    My current Week 13 rankings after Week 10's standings(before Monday Night football's insignificant game) go as such:

    #1–L.A.C.(7-2) @ Pitt.(6-2-1)
    #2–Minn.(5-3-1) @ N.E.(7-3)

    The tentative game of S.F.(2-7) @ Sea.(4-5) is going to be flexed out for sure or is it a for sure? My above #1 and #2 games might both be protected. 🙁

    My current Week 14 rankings after Week 10's standings(before Monday Night football's insignificant game) go as such:

    #1–N.E.(7-3) @ Mia.(5-5)
    #2–Cin.(5-4) @ L.A.C.(7-2)
    #3–L.A.R.(9-1) @ Chi.(6-3)

    The tentative game of Pitt.(6-2-1) @ Oak.(1-8) is a goner from the SNF slate, for sure.

    My current Week 15 possibilities after Week 10's standings(before Monday Night football's insignificant game) go as such:

    Mia.(5-5) @ Minn.(5-3-1), G.B.(4-4-1) @ Chi.(6-3), and N.E.(7-3) @ Pitt.(6-2-1)

    Phil.(4-5) @ L.A.R.(9-1) <–tentative game & unless Eagles dive, will likely stay, though at the moment it doesn't make my possibilities due to Philadelphia being 4-5.

    My current Week 16 possibilities after Week 10's standings(before Monday Night football's insignificant game) go as such:

    Pitt.(6-2-1) @ N.O.(8-1)
    K.C.(9-1) @ Sea.(4-5) <–tentative game that, doesn't make my possibilities due to Seahawks being 4-5, might go away if Chiefs continue to win and Seahawks start to go into the tank. This started to happen in Week 9 and continued in Week 10. That's the only way I see it going away though.

    My current Week 17 possibilities after Week 10's standings(before Monday Night football's insignificant game) go as such:

    Car.(6-3) @ N.O.(8-1), Chi.(6-3) @ Minn.(5-3-1), and Cin.(5-4) @ Pitt.(6-2-1).

  12. Reminder that the late afternoon window usually garners a higher rating than the Sunday Night game, so there’s little chance the NFL’s going to move a game that’s going to 90% of the country at 4:25 to Sunday Night instead. Hence, Vikings-Pats, Pats-Steelers and Steelers-Saints are staying put at 4:25 in all likelihood.

    I hate going against an article posted on a team’s website, but Chargers-Steelers really is the only remotely viable option for Week 13, so I think I’m still with Walt and assume the NFL will override CBS’s protection on that one. Rams-Bears remains the heavy favorite for Week 14 in my mind – the one complicating factor is that Eagles-Cowboys at 4:25 could get so unappealing that FOX would need a different lead game for their doubleheader. Think both Dallas and Philly would have to lose their next two for that to happen, though.

  13. Well it’s official Chargers vs Steelers is protected. So that leaves Ravens vs Falcons as the most likely scenario

  14. if Minn stays on SNF in weeks 11 and 12, no ways they will put NE-Minn in week 13 have have Minn 3 weeks in a row.

  15. I am sure it’s been said once….but with Fox taking over TNF the league gave better matchups to Thursday and it looks like they will miss out on some good matchups in the last 4-5 weeks of the season. Flex was supposed to fix the problem. Shaking my head at the NFL.
    Thursday football needs to go away for good.
    Logistics will prevent NFL from ever leaving North America. Stop forcing it.
    And if I read one more post about elected officials in North Florida….

  16. Greg:

    We know Steelers-Chargers (and all other Steelers games) on CBS have been protected (as noted by a link upthread). We have been talking about the NFL doing a “protection override” for that game and possibly Steelers-Saints in Week 16. While the 4:25 game does better in the ratings some weeks, keep in mind NBC is still owed for not getting an SNF game in Week 17 last season. That may mean NBC gets up to two games that otherwise normally would not be flexed due to being protected being flexed to make up for last year.

  17. Well If The Eagles Lose To The Saints And Lose 1 Game. Then I See Eagles Rams getting Flexed Out I Don’t Think Anyone Wants to See A 5-7 Or A 4-8 Record But I Could Be Right About That.

  18. This guy’s articles have gotten kind of meaningless. He is never correct on his guesses and he has incorrect information about who is protected and who isn’t. chargers Steelers bumped to Sunday night despite him saying they would be protected. This used to be the go-to spot for Sunday night Flex info not anymore unless you read the comments

  19. Andrew:

    That depends on the NFC East. I would not be surprised to see the Redskins with all the injuries they have going into a free-fall to where 8-8 could be enough to win the NFC East. If so, even at 5-7, the Eagles could be in contention for the NFC East.

  20. Well, no surprise on there being a “protection override” in Week 13. It’s a CBS Singleheader week and that game goes to a much larger audience.

    Week 14 no surprise either. FOX as noted likely never protected Rams-Bears as no one likely thought the Bears would be worthy of not one, but two flexes. Do note the Steelers-Raiders game had to go to FOX because CBS already had Broncos-49ers as a 4:05 game (also gets the Bay Area an additional game because otherwise there would have been no game on FOX at 4:25 PM ET/1:25 PM PT.

  21. I’m a little surprised they already flexed in Rams-Bears for Week 14 – on the off-chance the Bears play terribly in back-to-back nationally televised games these next two weeks, that game would look a lot less appealing. Glad the NFL pulled rank on CBS, though, and moved Chargers-Steelers to SNF.

    Thoughts on the remaining weeks:

    Week 15 – The Eagles would probably have to lose their next three games to get PHI-LAR flexed, which seems rather unlikely.

    Week 16: My hunch is that Seattle hangs around the playoff conversation enough to keep their game against Mahomes and the Chiefs on SNF, but they have to at least split their next two games (home against Green Bay, at Carolina) for that to happen.

    Week 17 – We’ll have zero idea until Week 16 is over. I will say I find Panthers-Saints unlikely at this point – either because the Saints may have pulled away at that point or because they need to play at the same time as the Rams for home-field advantage purposes or both.

  22. Attacking Morgan anonymously?
    Most be those North Florida elected officials.
    I find no fault with Morgan when NFL makes Flex decisions weeks ahead of the game.
    I enjoy predicting the flex schedule as much as the next guy, but some of the ideas…
    Tuesday and Wednesday games?
    Week 17 Games at 3pm and 6 pm?

    Thank you NFL for not giving us 49ers and Raiders in prime time!

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