Last-Minute Remarks on SNF Week 15 Picks

Week 15 (December 16):

  • Tentative game: Philadelphia @ LA Rams
  • Prospects: 5-6 v. 11-1. The Eagles got off the schneid but this game is still worryingly lopsided (and now will mark Rams games in consecutive weeks).
  • Likely protections (CBS protections confirmed): Patriots-Steelers (CBS) and Packers-Bears (FOX).
  • Other possible games mentioned on last week’s Watch and their records: Cowboys (7-5)-Colts (6-6), Dolphins (6-6)-Vikings (6-5-1).
  • Impact of Monday Night Football: The league would feel a lot better about this game keeping its spot if the Eagles can get back to .500 and in a tie a game back of the division lead and a half-game back of the wild card.
  • Analysis: The Colts’ loss to the strug-ga-ling Jaguars takes a lot of the shine off that game, and while the Cowboys’ win is good for it given that the two teams entered the week with the same record, heading into the week I figured a Colts loss was the result Cowboys-Colts could least afford to suffer. I still don’t see Dolphins-Vikings getting flexed in over Cowboys-Colts, and the Cowboys’ win takes away a lot of what’s at stake for the Eagles tonight and (considering the opposition) makes them look like a potentially dangerous playoff team, but I still can’t shake the feeling Eagles-Rams would still be a game Fox would want to feature despite being in the late singleheader spot, especially given the Packers’ struggles. An Eagles loss might put them too far back in traffic and below .500 to really justify keeping that game, but a win might mean making Cowboys-Colts the featured singleheader game might be the best it can hope for under the circumstances.
  • Final prediction: Dallas Cowboys @ Indianapolis Colts (if the Eagles lose tonight), Philadelphia Eagles @ Los Angeles Rams (no change) (if the Eagles win tonight).

21 thoughts on “Last-Minute Remarks on SNF Week 15 Picks”

  1. Still would not be surprised if we wound up with a reverse doubleheader if Eagles-Rams is flexed out, with Pats-Steelers moved to 1:00 and except for Lions-Bills (since one game has to be in each slot), all other games at 4:25. If Eagles-Rams is flexed out, the last thing CBS would want is Eagles-Rams on FOX opposite Pats-Steelers (also, the NFL could in that scenario even give CBS Eagles-Rams (since CBS had an Eagles game against the Colts cross-flexed on them to FOX earlier this season) and make the the main regional game at 4:25 (since everything would be the reverse of the norm in that scenario).

    This would be a rare, but not unprecedented case of the doubleheader game being at 1:00 instead of 4:25. As noted before, CBS did this a few times when it had the NFC package.

  2. Hi all,

    After tonight’s MNF game, here are my final rankings for the Week 15 SNF game.

    #1—NE(9-3) @ Pitt(7-4-1)
    #2—Mia(6-6) @ Minn(6-5-1)
    #3—Dal(7-5) @ Ind(6-6)
    #4—Phil(6-6) @ LAR(11-1) <—Tentative game

    I have my #1 as such because of the marquee matchup that it is, but I know it's protected & CBS would probably be pissed if the NFL took this game from them. Honestly though, this game did lose some of it's luster with the Steelers' loss to the Chargers.

    My #2 is what I'd really love to see because it is so make or break for each team, at this part of the season, but the league doesn't think the Dolphins are sexy enough anymore. To me, it's not about sexy, it's about the most important matchup.

    My #3 would have been my #1 had the Colts not laid an egg and lost 6-0 in Jacksonville.

    My #4 is the tentative and with Philly winning tonight, I agree with Morgan and say this game stays. I just checked a few minutes ago and there's nothing on indicating any change whatsoever, to the Week 15. Likely, some other games will move to the late time slot, but maybe not due to NE @ Pitt being such a premiere matchup. If the schedule does stay the same, that means that there will be 9 games in the early time slot.

    We'll see what happens.

  3. Jeff:

    Dolphins have played not exactly great teams to get to 6-6. That game could be ugly though the Dolphins will catch the Vikings off a short week as they have to play Monday night in Seattle.

    Eagles-Rams likely stays at this point even though there is still a serious threat of a blowout by the Rams. It would be a logistical nightmare to shift that game to the afternoon because that would result in the doubleheader as noted above likely being reversed, with Steelers-Pats at 1:00 so it did not have Eagles-Rams opposite it (and also where CBS could be given that game as a cross-flex where it then would be the lead game of a regional 4:25 PM ET lineup (with all FOX games except Lions-Bills also at 4:25 instead of 4:05 as would normally be the case on the singleheader network).

    Redskins and Colts losses also likely means NBC is in jeopardy of being stiffed the last week for a second straight year UNLESS the NFL did some last-minute reshuffling of Week 17 that would have all games in likely the AFC at 2:00 PM ET (which the NFL can do since there are no AFC games in the Pacific Time Zone in Week 17) and all games in the NFC at 6:30 or 7:00 PM ET, done similar to what I mentioned before as far as dividing up the coverage between networks, including using DT-2/DT-4 and cable channels.

  4. Reverse doubleheader? NFL ratings get better as the day progresses, why would they put the Patriots vs Steelers at 1 and everyone else at 4:05,4:25?
    My guess is
    NFL will keep Rams-Philly (51%) but Colts-Cowboys 49%.

    I think NFL is very very happy to have 2 winning teams in LA.

  5. Think we can safely say no flexes for Weeks 15 and 16 now.

    If the standard for Week 17 will again be “Game with guaranteed, stand-alone playoff implications or nothing”, then I think NBC has to hope that the Bears stub their toe enough down the stretch to make CHI-MIN an NFC North title game or that IND-TEN somehow turns into a de facto playoff for the second AFC wild card. Because I don’t see another game on the docket that seems remotely likely to matter for both teams and wouldn’t simultaneously depend on the outcome of another game.

  6. This would only be if Eagles-Rams did get flexed out for Cowboys-Colts:

    It would be specifically because CBS would NOT want Eagles-Rams opposite Pats-Steelers plus Eagles-Rams in that scenario could be put on CBS and be the main regional game at 4:25 (obviously, it could not be moved to 1:00 PM). Again, this would NOT be unprecedented as in this case, 1:00 PM would be treated as the doubleheader spot.

    While it is true ratings are higher during that day, that is usually because the game that gets the casual fan is at 4:25. Most who only care about the local team that is usually at 1:00, however, usually ONLY watch the 1:00 PM game and don’t watch the “national” game unless their team is in it. The loss of casual fans at 4:25 would be easily offset by those who only care about the local team who would watch at 4:25 instead of 1:00.

  7. Nathaniel:

    I agree it’s unlikely we will have flexes in Weeks 15 and 16, though I do suspect the NFL and NBC are fearful Eagles-Rams will be a blowout and that is why I still see Cowboys-Colts being flexed in even if it creates the domino effect described above.

    I suspect NBC is going to want to see Week 17 revisited to possibly include where either:

    NBC gets TWO games on SNF with one on NBC and the other airing on NBCSN and COZI-TV (DT-2 channel for most NBC stations).

    The NFL does what is done in other leagues around the world with in this case ALL games in one conference in one time slot and in the other conference in another, all games split up between ALL of the NFL’s broadcast partners (again, using DT-2/DT-3/DT-4 channels for over-the-air coverage of games otherwise airing on cable as needed) and NBC getting the top game in each of the two time slots (again, this year most likely 2:00 PM ET for the AFC and 6:30 or 7:00 PM ET for the NFC) and in future years this being made into a new Week 18 that eliminates the Thursday night problem (as the second bye week can specifically be tied to mid-week games).

    Those to me are the solutions to the problem of SNF the last week. The other would be beginning next year, NBC gets the Thursday night game in Week 2 and FOX gets a Friday night game in Week 16 that would be between teams that play on Saturday in Week 15 to make up for it.

  8. Walt-

    You would probably be upsetting all the local Florida elected officials with your plan and besides where are all the RVs going to be parking that are coming in for the Bowl Games?? 😛

  9. Walt’s correct that, back in the ‘80s and perhaps early ‘90s, it wasn’t uncommon for the network carrying the doubleheader to put their lead national game on at 1 PM EST and make that their sole game at that time, then put their complete regional slate of games on in the late afternoon window. That hasn’t happened as far as I know since the league changed the doubleheader rules in the late ‘90s, however.

  10. Walt,
    I do agree with you about the fear of a blowout, but I think the Colts shutout last Sunday has to make them feel uneasy putting them as the game of week.

    And if I am being very honest, I think I like your plan for week 17. I don’t like your cozi tv references, but I think it would be awesome to have two games at 8:15 where they both have a bearing on each other. Put one on ESPN and one on NBC.

  11. The Eagles will all but be eliminated Sunday after Dallas dismisses them. Not sure how the NFL remains excited about the Eagles moving to 6-6 by virtue of a win over a Redskins M.A.S.H. unit led by Mark Sanchez. Dallas/New Orleans was the highest viewed Thursday night game of the year. They missed the boat on this one especially when Indy bounces back with a win over an overrated Houston team.

  12. Eagles won’t be completely eliminated. Sure, the division would be out of reach if they lose to the Cowboys (barring a complete collapse after that by the Cowboys), but they are only a half-game out of the Wild Card right now and the Vikings have to go to Seattle on Monday night (never easy on road teams) AND THEN as bad as the Dolphins are have shown they can surprise teams and will be catching the Vikes on a short week AND are still in the AFC Wild Card race themselves (why Jeff thinks that should have been flexed in). Even at 6-7, the Eagles could still be only a half-game behind the Vikings for the second Wild Card after Monday night.

  13. Karl:

    The idea is whatever game would be on NBCSN would be also on COZI-TV (again, DT-2 channel of most NBC stations) to accommodate those without cable. Same where I do the all in one conference at 3:00, other at 7:00 where the DT-2 channels are used for over-the-air simulcast of games relegated to the cable networks (and ABC is used for this as an “ESPN on ABC” telecast separate from the actual ESPN game in that scenario).

  14. After the games of Week 13, here are my current rankings for the SNF games for Week 16 and Week 17.

    #1–KC(10-2) @ Sea(7-5) <–the tentative game. KC will "probably" win in Week 14 at home vs. Baltimore, but one never knows, as the Ravens have been hot. And I do think the Seahawks will win at home vs the Vikes, but that should be a pretty damned good MNF game.

    #2–Pitt(7-4-1) @ NO(10-2) likely protected…Steelers will win in Oakland, though Raiders have upset them a few times in the past, but this isn't THAT Raiders team. Saints "should" win in Tampa, but Bucs did beat them in Week 1(48-40) in New Orleans & Tampa has won 2 in a row.

    #3–Hou(9-3) @ Phil(6-6)…either of these teams could win or lose in Week 14. Texans at Colts and Eagles @ Cowboys. If Eagles lose, they won't be in my final rankings next week.

    As for Week 17…I have 5 current games as possible, but there are problems with all 5 and the real fave of my current rankings could be "no SNF game" for the 2nd straight season. Here we go anyway.

    #1–Chi(8-4) @ Minn(6-5-1)…the problem here is that if Bears lose to Rams and Vikes beat Seahawks, we run into Dallas and Wild Card matchup games needing to have this game play at same time as other games.

    #2–Phil(6-6) @ Wash(6-6)…I don't even seeing this game mattering for the Skins actually, especially with Mark Sanchez now in charge of the team. Plus, the potential needing to play at the same time as the Cowboys problem, for the Eagles.

    #3–Ind(6-6) @ Tenn(6-6)…only way this turns into a win and your in & lose and your out game, is if Ravens die off, as does Dolphins and Broncos. This game will need to play at same time as all those other teams do, most likely.

    #4–LAC(9-3) @ Den(6-6)…same problem as above for Broncos, if they are still in it. Chargers will likely have the 5 seed locked going into this game, but heck they could pass KC and need to play at same time as NE and Houston.

    #5–Car(6-6) @ NO(10-2)…Panthers might climb back into the Wild Card picture with a win at Browns this week, but the way they are playing, I think the Browns might win. I wouldn't put any money on that though. LOL. And the Saints might need to play at the same time as the Rams.

    What a mess!!!….to avoid no SNF for the 2nd straight season, the NFL could give us 1 of 2 games that should have no bearing on anything in Week 17. Those games are Atl(4-8) @ TB(5-7) or Det(4-8) @ GB(4-7-1).

    Any other thoughts guys? Let me know.


  15. Jeff:

    This is why what I think may happen is what I described above to avoid NBC being stiffed two years in a row:

    Either NBC getting two games at 8:15, one on NBC itself and the other on NBCSN and COZI-TV OR the NFL has all games in one conference at 2:00 or 3:00 PM and the other at 6:30 or 7:00 PM divided up between ALL of the NFL’s broadcast partners, with NBC getting the top game in each time slot, FOX & CBS splitting Games 2-3, ABC & ESPN splitting games 4-5 of importance (ESPN game also on LivWell or LAFF, DT-2/3 channels of most ABC stations), NFL Network along with MOVIES or BUZZR (DT-2/4 channels of FOX stations) getting 6th most important game and CBSSN & FS1 along with DECADES (DT-2 channel of CBS stations) and MOVIES/BUZZR getting Games 7-8 of importance).

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