Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch: Week 7

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.

Last year, no game was listed in the Sunday Night slot, only a notation that one game could move there. CBS and Fox were able to protect one game every week each but had to leave one week each unprotected and had to submit their protections after only four weeks.

Now, NBC lists the game it “tentatively” schedules for each night, and by all appearances, CBS and Fox can’t protect anything. However, the NFL is in charge of moving games to prime time.

Here are the rules from the NFL web site:

  • Begins Sunday of Week 11
  • In effect during Weeks 11-17
  • 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 4:15 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.

(Note: I have reason to believe the above rules are very incomplete.) Here are the current tentatively-scheduled games and my predictions:

Week 11 (November 18):

  • Tentative game: Chicago @ Seattle
  • Prospects: In big trouble. Seattle is 4-3 and Da Bears are 3-4.
  • Other possible games: Redskins @ Cowboys; Panthers @ Packers. That the NFL’s biggest rivalry did not merit a preliminary pick on Sunday night does not bode well; however, either could prove a very, very significant matchup. Panthers-Packers is helped by the Panthers’ recent performance; if Selection Day were today I would choose that game only because I suspect restrictions on the Cowboys but also because the Redskins may be a paper tiger. Chargers-Jaguars could look very appealing if the Chargers can build off their recent wins but currently is behind the other two despite having a better average NBC Sports ranking and needs some losses to fall their way.

Week 12 (November 25):

  • Tentative game: Philadelphia @ New England
  • Prospects: In trouble. The Eagles could be awful this year.
  • Other possible games: Bucs-Redskins would now be a 12-14 matchup in the NBC Sports rankings. But too many teams have other commitments on Thanksgiving or Monday night to really endorse any other games, although Texans-Browns is a very dark horse. Chargers-Ravens might be a good choice but the Ravens just took a fall of their own and they might be a paper tiger.

Week 13 (December 2):

  • Tentative game: Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh
  • Prospects: Very much in trouble. The Steelers may be in the top five teams in the NFL, but they just took a bad loss, and unless the Bungles pick up the pace this will be flexed out.
  • Other possible games: Jaguars-Colts is the overwhelming favorite but could be threatened by the loss of Garrard. Texans-Titans has started fading. Seahawks-Eagles is probably out. Giants-Bears now looks like a dark horse if Griese leads the Bears back to their winning ways.

Week 14 (December 9):

  • Tentative game: Indianapolis @ Baltimore
  • Prospects: This game couldn’t afford the Ravens’ bad loss because…
  • Other possible games: Steelers-Patriots may be too good to resist. Cowboys-Lions still has some time to come back but has a big hill to climb. Cardinals-Seahawks is a very dark horse. Chargers-Titans may be the dark horse with the best chance.

Week 15 (December 16):

  • Tentative game: Washington @ NY Giants
  • Prospects: Might have the best chance to keep its spot. Being in the same division as the Cowboys hurts, but these are two teams on fire (especially the G-Men) and the thrilling finish of their last meeting will help write the storyline.
  • Other possible games: Eagles-Cowboys is looking too lopsided to be competitive. Jaguars-Steelers now looks to be the favorite, if anything. Seahawks-Panthers still has a chance but there are a lot of ifs involved. Whispers of Titans-Chiefs are fluttering but it requires several teams to collapse.

Week 16 (December 23):

  • Tentative game: Tampa Bay @ San Francisco
  • Prospects: Very problematic, even with the Bucs’ success, which just makes it look lopsided.
  • Other possible games: Texans-Colts (in trouble), Packers-Bears (also in trouble but an appealing matchup regardless of respective records, and the Bears could come back), Ravens-Seahawks (could fall off if the Seahawks keep struggling and/or the Ravens prove a paper tiger). There aren’t a lot of attractive matchups this week. NBC may even have to reach for Lions-Chiefs.

Week 17 (December 30):

  • Tentative game: Kansas City @ NY Jets
  • Prospects: Awful. The Chiefs have some success finally, but that just makes the game look lopsided.
  • Other possible games: Steelers-Ravens, Titans-Colts, Cowboys-Redskins, Lions-Packers, with Panthers-Bucs a dark horse. Jags-Texans fading. I moved Lions-Packers back to the long list of very good matchups after seeing their respective records. Playoff positioning watch begins after Week 9.

Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch: Week 6

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.

Last year, no game was listed in the Sunday Night slot, only a notation that one game could move there. CBS and Fox were able to protect one game every week each but had to leave one week each unprotected and had to submit their protections after only four weeks.

Now, NBC lists the game it “tentatively” schedules for each night, and by all appearances, CBS and Fox can’t protect anything. However, the NFL is in charge of moving games to prime time.

Here are the rules from the NFL web site:

  • Begins Sunday of Week 11
  • In effect during Weeks 11-17
  • 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 4:15 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.

(Note: I have reason to believe the above rules are very incomplete.) Here are the current tentatively-scheduled games and my predictions:

Week 11 (November 18):

  • Tentative game: Chicago @ Seattle
  • Prospects: In big trouble. Seattle is 3-3 and Da Bears are 2-4.
  • Other possible games: Redskins @ Cowboys; Panthers @ Packers. That the NFL’s biggest rivalry did not merit a preliminary pick on Sunday night does not bode well; however, either could prove a very, very significant matchup. Panthers-Packers is currently riding on how the Panthers do the next few games. Chargers-Jaguars could look very appealing if the Chargers can build off their recent win. Look out for dark horses like Steelers-Jets and Browns-Ravens. A bit cloudy at the moment with only a few weeks before Selection Day.

Week 12 (November 25):

  • Tentative game: Philadelphia @ New England
  • Prospects: In trouble. The Eagles need to keep up the pace of their recent win.
  • Other possible games: Bucs-Redskins remains strong after a Redskins loss. Too many teams have other commitments on Thanksgiving or Monday night to really endorse any other games, although Texans-Browns is a very dark horse. If either or both the Bucs or the Redskins start sliding, Chargers-Ravens might be picked.

Week 13 (December 2):

  • Tentative game: Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh
  • Prospects: Very much in trouble. The Steelers may be in the top four teams in the NFL, but unless the Bungles pick up the pace this will be flexed out.
  • Other possible games: Jaguars-Colts is the overwhelming favorite. Texans-Titans has started fading. Seahawks-Eagles is still fading as well. Giants-Bears has a fighting chance if the Bears can come back, but that’s unlikely.

Week 14 (December 9):

  • Tentative game: Indianapolis @ Baltimore
  • Prospects: Would seem to be a good enough matchup to withstand any challenges. However…
  • Other possible games: Steelers-Patriots will give this game a lot of competition. Cowboys-Lions still has some time to come back but has a big hill to climb. Bucs-Texans and Cardinals-Seahawks both have big problems. Chargers-Titans may be the biggest dark horse.

Week 15 (December 16):

  • Tentative game: Washington @ NY Giants
  • Prospects: Starting to look decent. Being in the same division as the Cowboys hurts, but these are two teams on fire and the thrilling finish of their last meeting will help write the storyline.
  • Other possible games: Eagles-Cowboys is in big trouble. Jaguars-Steelers now looks to be the favorite. Seahawks-Panthers is also in trouble.

Week 16 (December 23):

  • Tentative game: Tampa Bay @ San Francisco
  • Prospects: Very problematic, even with the Bucs’ success, which just makes it look lopsided.
  • Other possible games: Texans-Colts (in trouble), Packers-Bears (also in trouble but an appealing matchup regardless of respective records), Ravens-Seahawks (could fall off if the Seahawks keep struggling). There aren’t a lot of attractive matchups this week.

Week 17 (December 30):

  • Tentative game: Kansas City @ NY Jets
  • Prospects: Awful.
  • Other possible games: Steelers-Ravens, Titans-Colts, Cowboys-Redskins, with Panthers-Bucs a dark horse. Lions-Packers, Jags-Texans fading. Playoff positioning watch begins after Week 9.

Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch: Week 5

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.

Last year, no game was listed in the Sunday Night slot, only a notation that one game could move there. CBS and Fox were able to protect one game every week each but had to leave one week each unprotected and had to submit their protections after only four weeks.

Now, NBC lists the game it “tentatively” schedules for each night, and by all appearances, CBS and Fox can’t protect anything. However, the NFL is in charge of moving games to prime time.

Here are the rules from the NFL web site:

  • Begins Sunday of Week 11
  • In effect during Weeks 11-17
  • 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 4:15 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.

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

Week 11 (November 18):

  • Tentative game: Chicago @ Seattle
  • Prospects: In big trouble. Seattle is 3-2 and Da Bears are 2-3.
  • Other possible games: Redskins @ Cowboys; Panthers @ Packers. That the NFL’s biggest rivalry did not merit a preliminary pick on Sunday night does not bode well; however, either could prove a very, very significant matchup. Panthers-Packers is currently riding on how the Panthers do the next few games. Look out for dark horses like Steelers-Jets and Browns-Ravens.

Week 12 (November 25):

  • Tentative game: Philadelphia @ New England
  • Prospects: In trouble. The Eagles need to get off the schnozz to avoid getting flexed out.
  • Other possible games: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers do not fall far by losing to the Colts. Bucs-Redskins could well be the best game. It all depends on whether both teams are for real. Too many teams have other commitments on Thanksgiving or Monday night to really endorse any other games, although Texans-Browns is a very dark horse.

Week 13 (December 2):

  • Tentative game: Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh
  • Prospects: Very much in trouble. The Steelers are back to looking like an elite team, but unless the Bungles pick up the pace this will be flexed out.
  • Other possible games: Jaguars-Colts, with Texans-Titans as a dark horse. Seahawks-Eagles keeps fading. Giants-Bears has a fighting chance if the Bears can come back.

Week 14 (December 9):

  • Tentative game: Indianapolis @ Baltimore
  • Prospects: Back to looking like a strong game. But the Ravens need to stay consistent.
  • Other possible games: Steelers-Patriots will give this game a lot of competition. But don’t count out Cowboys-Lions (now fading), Bucs-Texans, or Cardinals-Seahawks.

Week 15 (December 16):

  • Tentative game: Washington @ NY Giants
  • Prospects: Starting to look decent. Being in the same division as the Cowboys hurts, but these are two teams on fire and the thrilling finish of their last meeting will help write the storyline.
  • Other possible games: Eagles-Cowboys is in big trouble. Jaguars-Steelers now looks to be the favorite. Seahawks-Panthers is also in trouble.

Week 16 (December 23):

  • Tentative game: Tampa Bay @ San Francisco
  • Prospects: Could be better than might have been thought before the season. However, it is a 10-vs.-23 matchup in the NBC Sports Power Rankings, so it could be lopsided.
  • Other possible games: Texans-Colts, Packers-Bears (in trouble but an appealing matchup regardless of respective records), Ravens-Seahawks (could fall off if the Seahawks keep struggling) – with Jets-Titans a potential dark horse, though one that’s fading fast. There aren’t a lot of attractive matchups this week.

Week 17 (December 30):

  • Tentative game: Kansas City @ NY Jets
  • Prospects: Awful.
  • Other possible games: Steelers-Ravens, Titans-Colts, Cowboys-Redskins, with Panthers-Bucs and Jaguars-Texans dark horses. All of the three favorites involve teams currently 12th or better in the NBC rankings. Lions-Packers fading. Playoff positioning watch begins after Week 9.

Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch: Week 4

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.

Last year, no game was listed in the Sunday Night slot, only a notation that one game could move there. CBS and Fox were able to protect one game every week each but had to leave one week each unprotected and had to submit their protections after only four weeks.

Now, NBC lists the game it “tentatively” schedules for each night, and by all appearances, CBS and Fox can’t protect anything. However, the NFL is in charge of moving games to prime time.

Here are the rules from the NFL web site:

  • Begins Sunday of Week 11
  • In effect during Weeks 11-17
  • 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 4:15 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.

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

Week 11 (November 18):

  • Tentative game: Chicago @ Seattle
  • Prospects: Uh-oh. Seattle is 3-1 but Chicago is 1-3.
  • Other possible games: Redskins @ Cowboys; Panthers @ Packers. That the NFL’s biggest rivalry did not merit a preliminary pick on Sunday night does not bode well; however, either could prove a very, very significant matchup. Panthers-Packers is currently riding on how the Panthers do the next few games. Look out for dark horses like Steelers-Jets and Browns-Ravens.

Week 12 (November 25):

  • Tentative game: Philadelphia @ New England
  • Prospects: In trouble. The Eagles need to get off the schnozz to avoid getting flexed out.
  • Other possible games: Could we see Bucs-Redskins here? It’s a 5-11 matchup in the latest NBC Power Rankings. It all depends on whether both teams are for real. Too many teams have other commitments on Thanksgiving or Monday night to really endorse any other games.

Week 13 (December 2):

  • Tentative game: Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh
  • Prospects: Very much in trouble. The Steelers loss hurts itself, but the Bungles look dismal.
  • Other possible games: Jaguars-Colts, Seahawks-Eagles (though looking less and less likely), and a true dark horse: Texans-Titans

Week 14 (December 9):

  • Tentative game: Indianapolis @ Baltimore
  • Prospects: Alarm bells going off. If the Ravens continue to disappoint this could be flexed out.
  • Other possible games: Steelers-Patriots was mentioned last week and still looks very strong. But don’t count out Cowboys-Lions, Bucs-Texans, or Cardinals-Seahawks.

Week 15 (December 16):

  • Tentative game: Washington @ NY Giants
  • Prospects: Better but still not promising. The Giants need to keep up the hot pace. The exciting finish of their last game works in their favor.
  • Other possible games: Eagles-Cowboys could be in trouble if the Eagles keep struggling. Jaguars-Steelers now looks to be the favorite. Seahawks-Panthers remains in it but has its own problems.

Week 16 (December 23):

  • Tentative game: Tampa Bay @ San Francisco
  • Prospects: Could be better than might have been thought before the season. However, it is a 5-vs.-16 matchup in the NBC Sports Power Rankings, so it could be lopsided.
  • Other possible games: Texans-Colts, Packers-Bears (in trouble but an appealing matchup regardless of respective records), Ravens-Seahawks (current tentative favorite) – with Jets-Titans a potential dark horse, though one that’s fading.

Week 17 (December 30):

  • Tentative game: Kansas City @ NY Jets
  • Prospects: The Chiefs may prove to be better than anticipated, but unless the Jets follow suit this could turn out to be a terrible matchup, especially given the competition.
  • Other possible games: Steelers-Ravens, Titans-Colts, Cowboys-Redskins, Packers-Lions, with Panthers-Bucs and Jaguars-Texans dark horses. All of the four favorites involve teams currently 12th or better in the NBC rankings. Playoff positioning watch begins after Week 9.

Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch: Week 3

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.

Last year, no game was listed in the Sunday Night slot, only a notation that one game could move there. CBS and Fox were able to protect one game every week each but had to leave one week each unprotected and had to submit their protections after only four weeks.

Now, NBC lists the game it “tentatively” schedules for each night, and by all appearances, CBS and Fox can’t protect anything. However, the NFL is in charge of moving games to prime time.

Here are the rules from the NFL web site:

  • Begins Sunday of Week 11
  • In effect during Weeks 11-17
  • 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 4:15 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.

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

Week 11 (November 18):

  • Tentative game: Chicago @ Seattle
  • Prospects: Cloudy, but looking promising. Seattle is off to a decent start but Chicago could start stinking up the joint.
  • Other possible games: Redskins @ Cowboys; Panthers @ Packers. That the NFL’s biggest rivalry did not merit a preliminary pick on Sunday night does not bode well; however, either could prove a very, very significant matchup.

Week 12 (November 25):

  • Tentative game: Philadelphia @ New England
  • Prospects: Potentially appealing. It all depends on whether the Eagles continue in the mold of their recent win or their first two losses.
  • Other possible games: All the other teams in NBCSports.com’s top five in the power rankings have other commitments on Thanksgiving or Monday night. Ravens-Chargers, Broncos-Bears, and the dark horse in Bucs-Redskins could all be spoilers, but look for this to stay a McNabb-Brady matchup.

Week 13 (December 2):

  • Tentative game: Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh
  • Prospects: Downright mixed. The Steelers have started promisingly, but the Bengals have struggled enough coming out of the gate that this could look very lopsided.
  • Other possible games: Jaguars-Colts, Seahawks-Eagles, and a true dark horse: Texans-Titans.

Week 14 (December 9):

  • Tentative game: Indianapolis @ Baltimore
  • Prospects: Very good, with both teams out to hot starts. However, the Ravens aren’t quite Super Bowl contenders, so Steelers-Patriots could well pull the upset.

Week 15 (December 16):

  • Tentative game: Washington @ NY Giants
  • Prospects: Bad. The Giants need to pick up quickly to avoid being flexed out.
  • Other possible games: Jaguars-Steelers and Seahawks-Panthers are dark horses, but look for Eagles-Cowboys to be flexed into this spot.

Week 16 (December 23):

  • Tentative game: Tampa Bay @ San Francisco
  • Prospects: Could be better than might have been thought before the season. However, it is a 9-vs.-16 matchup in the NBC Sports Power Rankings.
  • Other possible games: Texans-Colts, Packers-Bears, Ravens-Seahawks – with Jets-Titans a potential dark horse.

Week 17 (December 30):

  • Tentative game: Kansas City @ NY Jets
  • Prospects: Horrid. Two 1-2 teams? They need to get better fast.
  • Other possible games: Steelers-Ravens, Titans-Colts, Cowboys-Redskins, Panthers-Bucs, with Packers-Lions a dark horse. Playoff positioning watch begins after Week 9.

Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch: Preseason

(In case you haven’t noticed, it’s the dog days of summer. Normally, I would hold off on this until closer to the actual start of the season, but college football is still several weeks away from being useful, if I were to do TV ratings reports I would want to hold off on them until mid-September, and no one’s voting on any of my polls. Basically, there’s nothing to do, but I haven’t had any hits all day, so…)

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.

Last year, no game was listed in the Sunday Night slot, only a notation that one game could move there. CBS and Fox were able to protect one game every week each but had to leave one week each unprotected and had to submit their protections after only four weeks.

Now, NBC lists the game it “tentatively” schedules for each night, and by all appearances, CBS and Fox can’t protect anything. However, the NFL is in charge of moving games to prime time.

Here are the rules from the NFL web site:

  • Begins Sunday of Week 11
  • In effect during Weeks 11-17
  • 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 4:15 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.

Throughout the season, I’m going to make predictions on what the NFL will do each week in the flexible scheduling scheme. Here are the current tentatively-scheduled games:

Week 11 (November 18): Chicago @ Seattle
Week 12 (November 25): Philadelphia @ New England
Week 13 (December 2): Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh
Week 14 (December 9): Indianapolis @ Baltimore
Week 15 (December 16): Washington @ NY Giants
Week 16 (December 23): Tampa Bay @ San Francisco
Week 17 (December 30): Kansas City @ NY Jets

I will start putting up watches every week starting after Week 3 or 4. The Week 17 spot will double as a playoff watch. I will be paying close attention to what you think; I could extend the playoff watch concept to other pro sports if you do.