Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch: Week 14

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 16 (December 23):

  • Selected game: Kansas City @ Seattle.

Week 17 (December 30):

  • Tentative game: None (NBC will show game with guaranteed playoff implications).
  • Possible games: Browns-Ravens, Dolphins-Bills, Eagles-Trumps, Colts-Titans, Lions-Packers, Jaguars-Texans, Bears-Vikings, Panthers-Saints, Cowboys-Giants, Chargers-Broncos. After what happened last year, I’m not going to bother to try to make the percentage chances add up to 100%. In fact I’m going to be estimating the percentages based on ESPN’s FPI projections. There’s actually a decent chance we could see NBC show an AFC game and/or a game with only wild-card implications with no division title at stake, neither of which have happened in the “all division games Week 17” era, as well as a test of the league’s willingness to put on a game that only matters to one team.
  • Chances of Colts-Titans: 11 percent. Huh? Didn’t I say a lot needed to go this game’s way last week? Well, this game is basically the AFC’s equivalent of the Eagles game below, and losses by the Ravens and Broncos, coupled with the general carnage in the NFC this past week, has made this game a more likely option than that one. If both teams win their next two (and the Titans’ game against the Giants is the only one where the AFC South team isn’t favored, and barely at that – FPI actually gives the Colts a 60% chance to beat the Cowboys, and there’s no line posted for that game on ESPN, so I don’t know what’s up with that), they only need the Ravens and Dolphins to lose once, and both have games coming up where they’re heavy underdogs (the Dolphins against the Vikings, the Ravens against the Chargers), so that scenario alone is more likely than any other I’m considering, and unlike Eagles-Trumps the winner of this game will have the better divisional record, so there could be a one-game gap in either direction.
  • Chances of Bears-Vikings: 6 percent. This is probably the most straightforward potential outcome, being a potential NFC North title game, but also highly unlikely, requiring the Bears to lose their next two and the Vikings to win their next two as it does. Worse, there’s a pretty decent chance this just determines home field for a rematch the following week if it happens.
  • Chances of Jaguars-Texans: 5 percent. The Texans split the season series with both the Colts and Titans and are slated to lose the common games tiebreaker if it comes down to that, so they only need to lose one game relative to the Colts and Titans for this to be “win and win the division, lose and settle for the wild card at best”. I’m assuming the league would take Colts-Titans if that game is for a playoff spot that’s potentially the division title.
  • Chances of Dolphins-Bills: 4 percent. The Dolphins beat the Titans but lost to the Colts, so they’d need to be tied with the Titans and a game ahead of the Colts. The Dolphins beating the Jags Week 16 is probably the easiest way for this to happen; that would cinch up the conference games tiebreaker over the Broncos, and would need only a Ravens loss to the Chargers to do the same to them. This gets a little extra chance because of the possibility of a Dolphins loss slotting them behind the Browns-Ravens winner; see below.
  • Chances of Browns-Ravens: 2 percent. The Ravens beat both the Titans and Broncos, and if they can pull the upset over the Chargers it would give them the edge in conference record over the Colts and Dolphins. The problem is if they lose to the Chargers, any comparison with the Colts or Dolphins would come down to strength of victory, so the Colts and Dolphins would probably have to lose their next two in that case. The Ravens would need to be tied with both the Titans and Colts if they beat the Chargers, and would still need to be tied with the Titans regardless, but a potentially bigger problem (considering the Steelers face division leaders the next two weeks) is that this game would need the Steelers to at least match the Ravens’ record or else risk that the Ravens have already won the division by the time Sunday night comes around! There’s also a long-shot scenario where the Browns can make this win-and-in, lose-and-out for both teams if they win two, the Ravens split, and the Dolphins, Colts, and Titans all lose two.
  • Chances of Eagles-Trumps: 1 percent. The race for the last wild card spot in the NFC is turning into enough of a clusterbleep that heading into my calculations I thought a scenario where this was a win-and-in game was decidedly possible. The Eagles won the first matchup between these teams and are guaranteed to hold the common-games tiebreaker, so the teams could be tied or Washington could hold a one-game lead. Here’s the problem: 1) not only does this require the Vikings to lose a game, the Panthers beat the Eagles so the Panthers need to lose a game as well. 2) The Vikings are favored in both of their remaining games. 3) The Eagles play the mighty Rams this week. 4) In the likely scenario that the Eagles lose to the Rams, the Eagles would need the Lions and Bucs to lose before Week 17… and the Lions play the Vikings Week 16, who would need to lose their next two, meaning the Lions would need to specifically lose to the Bills this week, and while the Bills are favored it’s by less than a field goal.
  • Chances of Cowboys-Giants: 1 percent. The Cowboys hold tiebreakers over both of the other two teams in the division, so if they lose their next two and Philadelphia and Washington win their next two, a Cowboys win would clinch the division but a loss would relegate them to the wild card at best.
  • Chances of Packers-Lions: 1 percent. The NFC wild card is such a clusterbleep that even with all the chaos the Packers are in, they actually have a chance to not only make the playoffs but have a win-and-in game. They’d need to win their next two, have the Vikings lose their next two, have the Panthers lose at least once, and have the NFC East teams split. There’s even a teensy chance for this to be a win-and-in game for the Lions as well, though more would have to break just right (for one thing, Washington would have to lose both of their next two).
  • Chances of Panthers-Saints: 1 percent. Carolina lost to Washington so the ideal scenario here would be if the Panthers entered the week tied with the Eagles but a game ahead of Washington. The race for home field in the NFC would also have to already be decided, as there’s no way to guarantee the Saints would have something to play for, so ensuring they don’t have anything to play for regardless of when the game is played is the next best thing.
  • Chances of Chargers-Broncos: 1 percent. At this point, the Chargers are guaranteed to enter Week 17 at no worse than the five seed, and there’s no way to guarantee two teams would pass them with a loss, and the Broncos certainly can’t be that team. This is really about being a win-and-in, lose-and-out situation for the Broncos, if they end up tied with the Colts and Titans and a game ahead of the Ravens and Dolphins, but it really only works if the Chiefs have already clinched the division entering Week 17 (which means they need to win Thursday night), or else the Chargers and Chiefs would need to play simultaneously.
  • Chances of no suitable game: ~67 percent. Some of my commenters have suggested that the league might give NBC two regionalized games, possibly with an NBCSN simulcast, as a way of making up for no Week 17 Sunday night game last year, if it comes to that; it makes a degree of sense to me but I’ll believe it when I see it. It would be a bit of a logistical nightmare with NBC having to put together a second broadcast team and production crew on short notice, especially since when they did put together a second broadcast team over Thanksgiving it consisted of their studio crew, which might be needed in the studio for this experiment, meaning they might have to go with the Notre Dame broadcast team of Dan Hicks and Doug Flutie, not to mention NBC probably has the least recent experience with regionalization of any of the Big Four networks (and no, digital subchannels are not an option), but they could probably find a way to make it work, and it could be an especially attractive option if it allows the league to put more games at 1 PM ET that might otherwise have to be played at 4:25. But it would need there to be a suitable pair of games that can be isolated from the rest of the slate (more than that would be even more of a logistical nightmare and would incur CBS and Fox’s wrath); the AFC North and East could potentially fit the bill, but the West would only work if the Broncos are already eliminated from the playoffs (or conversely, if their win-and-in, lose-and-out scenario has come to pass but the Chargers can still steal the division), and while the Ravens and Dolphins games could be put on for wild-card implications the Panthers and Vikings playing their respective divisions’ leaders might preclude the NFC wild card race from getting the same treatment. It would make sense for it to be on the table, but I would doubt that it was unless there was more than idle speculation behind it, and it wouldn’t be a panacea anyway; there’s still a very real chance NBC will have to go without a Week 17 game another year.

33 thoughts on “Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch: Week 14

  1. Colts vs Titans is looking the most likely to be a battle for the wild card spot, also I could honestly see NBC going regional for the week 17 game but instead of the other game being simulcasted on NBCSN, they would probably do it on NFLN. If that’s the case then Browns vs Ravens, Dolphins vs Bills, Bears vs Vikings, and Eagles vs Redskins all open up as chances. But if NBC doesn’t do the regional action the only really option they have to hope for is Colts vs Titans and hope Bears vs Vikings is for the division. Also I know this may sound crazy but if there is absolutely no option they could go for Cowboys vs Giants since that would automatically get solid ratings.

  2. It’s worth noting that in the first four years of the current incarnation of SNF, three of the four Week 17 matchups had either no stakes or extremely low stakes for one of the teams involved:

    2006 – Packers at Bears. The Bears were locked into the #1 seed going into the week and the game would up being completely meaningless by virtue of the Giants wrapping up the last NFC wild card slot the night before.

    2007 – Titans at Colts. The Colts were locked into the #2 seed, rested their starters and the Titans beat the Colts’ backups to get the last wild card spot in the AFC.

    2009 – Bengals at Jets. The Bengals actually could have moved up into the #3 seed with a win, but had already clinched the AFC North and chose to pull their starters partway through the game and the Jets won to get the last AFC wild card.

    So I’ll be interested to see if last year’s decision to have no SNF game in lieu of moving a game with no stand alone importance is actually a new precedent they’re setting or just a one-off precipitated by complicating factors (New Year’s Eve, Jags-Titans being wholly unappealing to NBC, etc.).

  3. Right, that was the original that spawned four sequels! And like most long-running franchises, America started to tire of them by the third or fourth edition.

  4. Karl:

    2006 was originally supposed to be Favre’s last game with the Packers, who had been expected to move on from Favre but Favre wound up playing an additional year with them and we know what happened after that.

    Also, responding from the last thread: If the Chiefs and Seahawks have both locked up their playoff positioning before that game kicks off, I see both heavily going with the scrubs for both Week 16 and 17. In the 2004 season, the Eagles went into a Monday nighter against the then-St. Louis Rams having already clinched everything at 13-1 and only played the starters one series. It would not surprise me if Andy Reid did that again here in a similar scenario if the #1 seed is already locked up.

    Greg:

    If the Week 17 split happens, it would likely be NBC and NBCSN as FOX has the NFL Network games now. The NBCSN game likely is simulcast on COZI-TV (DT-2 channel for most NBC stations) while in the home markets of the teams playing the game mainly on NBCSN, that game is on NBC while the main NBC game in those areas is on NBCSN/COZI-TV. NBC could use their Notre Dame Football broadcast crew (Mike Tirico, Doug Flutie) for the second game.

    Colts-Titans looks like the best chance of the being the Sunday Night Finale as of now, but both need to win their next two.

    The other option is the one I’ve been touting in previous threads: Compensating DirectTV for losing the last week of the regular season and going with ALL AFC games at 2:00 PM Eastern Time (no games in the Pacific time zone allows this) and ALL NFC games at 6:30 PM Eastern Time, with this becoming permanent and beginning in 2019 a new Week 18 added to the schedule (all teams getting a second bye week tied to mid-week games) and all games in a conference at 3:00 or 7:00 PM Eastern Time. In this format, as noted before NBC gets the game of highest importance in east slot (Regular SNF crew on top game, ND crew on other game), while FOX & CBS split Games 2-3 (Using #1-2 crews for such), ABC (as ESPN on ABC) getting Game 4 (MNF crew on top game, top Sat. Night CFB crew on other game), ESPN (simulcast on LivWell, DT-2 for ABC stations) getting Game 5 (Beth Mowins-Rex Ryan on top game, #2 ESPN-ABC CFB crew for other game), Game 6 on NFL Network (simulcast on MOVIES or BUZZR, DT-2/DT-4 channels for FOX stations, #3 FOX crew on top game, #4 FOX crew on other), Games 7-8 on CBSSN/FS1 (simulcast on DECADES, DT-2 Channel for CBS stations and MOVIES/BUZZR, #3-4 CBS crews and #5-6 FOX crews for games).

    That solves the issue long term.

  5. Oops forgot about that Walt, really think the NFL should look into that, but realistically we all know they don’t want to have to get another crew ready for a game in 6 days notice. Unless they get some Fox announcers to do the NFLN game that night.

  6. After Thursday night, I’m sure NBC Execs were breathing much easier when the Chargers beat the Chiefs, as it means the Chiefs can’t clinch the AFC West before their game with the Seahawks in Week 16 kicks off. This is important because the Seahawks could easily have the #5 seed in the NFC locked up and in before that Sunday nighter kicks off.

  7. I’d doubt NBC would go regional, but that’s where you could use NFLN.

    The other option, would be for the league to waive NBC’s exclusivity for week 17(just like they give both Fox and CBS doubleheaders for the week.)

  8. Daniel:

    It would be NBC and NBCSN/Cozi-TV if there were a Week 17 split. FOX produces all NFL Network games now.

  9. My guess is that if the Chargers and Chiefs win their next 2 games, then that’s where NBCSN comes into play. Tirico does the second game, and you can bring in Liam or even Kathryn Tappen to host.

    FOX gets the Saints-Panthers game, while CBS gets 49ers-Rams late for home field in NFC.

  10. Jeff

    December 12, 2018 at 9:46 pm (Post from prior blog, prior to Thursday Night Football)

    Here’s my current rankings for the Week 17 SNF game.

    #1—Ind(7-6) @ Tenn(7-6)
    #2—Chi(9-4) @ Minn(6-6-1)

    These are the only matchups with both teams sporting .500 or better winning percentage. However, my #1 has problems because of Miami and Baltimore also currently 7-6. My #2 has problems with Bears perhaps needing to play when the Cowboys do, but more importantly, the Vikings are only 1/2 game up on Carolina, Philadelphia, & Washington. I expect the Redskins to fade, but Minny will likely have to play at same time as at least 1 of the above teams.

    Atlanta @ Tampa Bay—no
    Carolina @ New Orleans—no
    Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh—likely not
    Cleveland @ Baltimore—doubt it, but would be interesting if Browns win this week
    Dallas @ Giants—has a chance, maybe
    Detroit @ Green Bay—could be the best alternative if they insist on their being a SNF game
    Jacksonville @ Houston—nah
    Miami @ Buffalo—Josh Allen is fun to watch
    NY Jets @ NE—no
    Oakland @ Kansas City—nope
    Philadelphia @ Washington—a miracle to sneak in
    Arizona @ Seattle—Arizona sucks
    LA Chargers @ Denver—game would have been highly ranked by me had Broncos not blown last week to the Niners
    San Francisco @ LA Rams—uh, no

    No Sunday Night Football game(again)—getting more likely, but we’ll see what Week 15 brings.

    Might be time to ditch the all-division matchups for Week 17, as we speculated on last year after there was no SNF game.

    Feel free to comment on my post.

  11. New crazy scenario:

    If the Ravens and Steelers both lose today and next week AND the Browns WIN next week, could we see NBC do a Sunday night split of Browns-Ravens on NBC (in most areas) and Bengals-Steelers on NBCSN/COZI-TV (NBC in the home markets with Browns-Ravens airing there on NBCSN/COZI-TV)? If it’s possible all three are in a position to win the NFC North the last week, I could see the NFL and NBC do that as it would allow NBC to showcase Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson to most of the country.

  12. Well, with the Steelers winning, the Browns are now officially eliminated from playoff contention.

    Realized the NFL was never in a position to flex Eagles-Rams out of Week 15. FOX had the Miss Universe Pagent previously scheduled for 7:00 PM ET tonight on FOX and that event likely would have had to have been pushed back to 8:00 or 8:30 PM ET if Eagles-Rams had been flexed out to accommodate possibly even a reverse mirror with Patriots-Steelers at 1:00, Lions-Bills also at 1:00 and all other games (with Eagles-Rams the main second game on CBS OR the main Singleheader game on FOX) with a 4:40 PM ET kickoff (everyone going at 4:40 in a reverse DH situation).

  13. Colts-Titans will effectively be a winner-take-all game for the second AFC wild card if the Colts beat the Giants and the Titans beat the Redskins AND one of the following two things happens:

    1. Ravens lose to the Chargers
    2. Steelers lose to the Saints*

    So that’s now your odds-on favorite for the Week 17 flex.

    *Technically in this scenario it’d be possible for either the Steelers or Ravens to still be the second-wild card if Colts-Titans ended in a tie, but let’s keep things simple for now.

  14. @Walt, the Browns aren’t eliminated yet. They are eliminated from winning the AFC North though. Browns need to win both of their games and needs Baltimore to lose both of their games, and the Colts & Titans to lose next week and tie, when those 2 meet in Week 17. A daunting task to say the least. It currently takes a minimum of 8.5 wins to make the playoffs in the AFC & that’s exactly what the Browns can get to with 2 wins.

    I agree with you Nathaniel, but in Week 16 if Minnesota loses and Philadelphia & Washington both win, then we have the same situation. I do think it’s much more plausible to happen in the AFC though.

  15. Would have the NFL broken it’s own rules this week, ad given CBS the Seahawks-49ers game, because FOX had the Miss Universe Pagent previously scheduled for 7:00 PM ET tonight on FOX?

  16. Daniel:

    FOX had to have a game at 4:05 for markets where the local team played on CBS at 1:00.

    What likely happens if we did have a reverse DH is the Miss Universe Pagent would have been pushed back to 8:30 PM ET because in a reverse DH, we likely would see the playoff format with the main game on CBS in Patriots-Steelers (and ONE FOX singleheader game for markets that would have a home game on CBS late) at 1:00 PM while ALL of the regional games on FOX and CBS in that scenario are pushed back to 4:40 PM to best assure Pats-Steelers ends on time.

    Nathaniel:

    As for Week 17, agree Colts-Titans has the best shot assuming the Chargers beat the Ravens Saturday night AND both of the others win.

  17. Is there a reason why the NFL won’t allow a waiver for the Miss Universe Pagent like they used to do with the US Open finals or the LCS?

  18. Totally agreed that Eagles-Redskins is still a possibility as well after the Eagles’ unexpected win last night – would add that Carolina would also have to lose at least one of their next two on top of Minnesota losing and both the Eagles and Redskins winning next week to make that a winner-taker-all in Week 17. Given that the Redskins are on their fourth quarterback, it’d seem unlikely that they’ll beat the Titans, but crazier things have happened!

  19. Colts vs Titans- Most possible game at the moment, both teams are likely to beat there opponents next week and will be 9-6 in week 17 going for the final wild card, would seal the deal if the Ravens lose the LA next week.

    Eagles vs Redskins- Definitely went up the rankings, but I don’t think the Redskins are beating the Titans next week and will likely lose to the Eagles by a good amount. But if both teams win next week and the Vikings lose, it makes you wonder.

    Browns vs Ravens- You could make a case if NBC decided to put one game on NBCSN, this could be on one channel and Colts Titans would be on the other. I don’t think it’s to likely

    Bengals vs Steelers- If it’s for the division, could be possible.

    Dolphins vs Bills- Could be possible if Dolphins are guaranteed to be the only team with something to play for in week 17 and would be a win and your in game. Also cool to show Josh Allen in primetime.

    Cardinals vs Seahawks- Very slim chance, like I said most likely a 4:25 game.

    Bears vs Vikings- Same story as Bills Dolphins, but would be better for ratings.

    Cowboys vs Giants- if it’s up to the Cowboys for the fate of the division, could work out.

    Panthers vs Saints- same story as Bears vs Vikings but ALOT less likely.

    Jaguars vs Texans- I don’t think so.

    Jets vs Patriots- if the Bills go into New England and upset the Patriots, NBC could put this and the Dolphins game in the primetime slot and split it into NBC and NBCSN, assuming the Dolphins beat the Jaguars week 16.

    Raiders vs Chiefs and Chargers vs Broncos- could be put into NBC and NBCSN but likely to be 4:25 game.

    Falcons vs Buccaneers- No one cares

    Lions vs Packers- Depressing

    49ers vs Rams- 55-10 Rams

  20. 1) hahaha
    Love it Greg (as a Packer fan…very sad)

    2) how amazing is the NFL that week 17’s schedule could be a myriad of games all depending on how week 16 shakes out??

    3) As for some of these other ideas…banging my head on wall….
    Reverse Doubleheaders? Miss Universe Pageant Waivers?
    Cozi TV?

  21. Karl:

    COZI-TV would only be used for an NBCSN simulcast. That’s the DT-2 channel of most NBC stations.

    The “reverse doubleheader” as noted before was used numerous times by CBS when it had the NFC package (main game at 1:00, regional games at 4:25/in this case more likely 4:40). It would likely only be used where you have a game like Pats-Steelers that can be played at 1:00 and treated as the main DH game and you have to flex out a Sunday Night game on the west coast.

    The “waiver” for the Miss Universe Pagent was on Daniel. FOX last night had a live telecast of the Miss Universe Pagent on FOX scheduled for 7:00 PM ET. What I think Daniel suggested was the NFL allow FOX to move the late singleheader game up an hour to a 3:05 PM ET/12:05 PM PT kickoff so that game was guaranteed (barring anything crazy) to conclude before the Miss Universe Pagent was scheduled to start on FOX. I had noted that pagent likely made it impossible for the NFL to flex Eagles-Rams out of SNF because of all of the other logistical problems that would have come with it due to also having to push back the Miss Universe Pagent telecast to likely 8:00 or 8:30 PM ET.

  22. Wild card weekend watch:
    Saturday 1:30 pm (Pacific)
    Vikings/Eagles at Bears (Fog Bowl II?)
    Sat 5 pm Ravens/colts/Titans @ Patriots (they love hosting the Saturday night game)
    Sunday 10 am Chargers @ Steelers
    Sunday 1:30 pm Seahawks @ Cowboys

  23. Divisional weekend forecast:
    Sat 1:30 Pats @ Texans
    Sat 5 pm Seahawks/boys @ Saints

    Sun 10 am Chargers @ Chiefs
    Sun 1:30 Bears @ Rams

  24. I Think That Week 17 Could Be Colts Titans On NBC Sunday Night Football. But I Think I Could Be Right. But I Will have to find out on Sunday If I’m Right Which I Could Be. But If There is no Week 17 game like last year there will be that crappy BOB FM Station.

  25. You know, everyone on here keeps saying “NBC will decide to do x” or “NBC will just put a game on NBCSN and simulcast on Cozi”. Haven’t we figured out yet that the networks are puppets and do whatever the NFL decides is the right string to pull?

    The networks have little to no input … we regularly see protections overridden, rules such as “the Sunday night tentative game goes to the network losing the flex” overridden … NBC will do whatever the NFL decides, as will Fox and CBS and ESPN.

    In the end, however, I agree that the NFL will likely have this decision to make: do we put on Colts/Titans to have a true win and in, lose and go home game that will not depend on the outcome from the other 15 games, even though we know the ratings won’t be great? Or do we put on the Cowboys/Giants so we can see America’s team crush their division rival in primetime and have better ratings? That’s the likely decision the NFL is weighing.

    But week 15 was crazy, a lot could happen in week 16 to negate all of these scenarios.

  26. Cannon wrote:
    “Wild card weekend watch:
    Saturday 1:30 pm (Pacific)
    Vikings/Eagles at Bears (Fog Bowl II?)
    Sat 5 pm Ravens/colts/Titans @ Patriots (they love hosting the Saturday night game)
    Sunday 10 am Chargers @ Steelers
    Sunday 1:30 pm Seahawks @ Cowboys”

    I’ll say
    Sat afternoon @dallas
    Sat night @pittsburgh
    Sun morning @chicago
    Sun afternoon @new England

  27. Cowboys won’t be in late afternoon on Saturday assuming they make it. They will EITHER be Saturday prime time OR Sunday late afternoon (or even Sunday prime time if the NFL decides to go with 4:35/8:15 games on both Saturday and Sunday).

    Also a consideration is that Wild Card weekend, Saturday Night Live is a repeat due to the Golden Globes Awards the next night on NBC and I believe Lorne Michaels (who practically OWNS NBC Late Night) was PO’ed when the NFL was forced to cave into Fox when FOX specifically wanted the Redskins which the NFL wanted in prime time a couple of years ago in the Wild Card, forcing the NFL to give NBC their prime time game in the Divisional round which delayed a new SNL that night to about a 12:15 AM Eastern Time start (and the show actually airing on a delay because the show begins taping at 11:30 regardless, a contractual situation dating back to Game 6 of the 1986 World Series when Red Sox-Mets ran until 1:00 AM ET, causing NBC not to air SNL at all that night with the show having been taped between 1:30 and 3:00 AM that Sunday morning). If that situation came up again, I suspect the NFL would push the Sunday games back to 3:05 and 6:45 and give FOX such a game in Sunday prime time to keep Lorne Michaels from being PO’ed (which likely would happen if FOX insisted on getting the Cowboys game in prime time on Wild Card weekend).

  28. And that whole thing on SNL back in 1986 is true. Two weeks after that infamous Game 6 when that edition of SNL finally did air, Ron Darling (one of the pitchers for that Mets team) came on at the beginning to issue an “apology” for causing SNL to be pre-empted two weeks earlier, something I believe NBC was forced to do because back then, some stations I believe had to be off the air by 2:30 AM local time on Sunday mornings either for transmitter maintenance or because of local laws (this was in the days before paid programming just a couple of years later made all stations pretty much 24/7 operations).

  29. I believe that’s why most sports events that were late night were on cable, since back then, some stations I believe had to be off the air by 2:30 AM local time on Sunday mornings either for transmitter maintenance or because of local laws. CBS got away with some NBA playoff games then, only because of Nightwatch.

  30. What NBC execs are (likely) rooting for Saturday:

    Titans to beat the Redsins
    Chargers to beat the Ravens

    What NBC execs are (likely) rooting for Sunday:

    Colts to pound the Giants.

    That sets up Colts-Titans for next Sunday night.

  31. Sorry I’m running late with this weeks post. I had it mostly written on Tuesday and could have put it up then if I hadn’t decided to add a section talking about the “regionalized SNF” possibility. Instead I had to get ready to and actually fly to Seattle and haven’t had access to Wi-Fi since then. I hope to have it by the end of the night but it’ll be already out of date (especially since WAS/TEN will have a huge impact on what games are available, and so will BAL/LAC to a lesser extent).

  32. You’re Right Walt Colts Titans Will Likely Be The Final Sunday Night Football Game Of the season Because The Washington Redskins lost to Tennessee And So That Mean’s Washington Redskins is Likely Out of postseason Contention. If they flex Eagles Redskins I Will Not Watch it. But I Think it’s gonna Be Colts Titans. But I Could Be Right.

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