Last-Minute Remarks on SNF Week 14 Picks

Week 14 (December 12):

  • Tentative game: Chicago @ Green Bay
  • Prospects: 4-7 v. 9-3. At this point the Packers are more concerned about the first-round bye than the division, and the Bears may have won on Thanksgiving but that doesn’t mean they have much more to be thankful for than before.
  • Likely protections: Bills-Bucs (CBS) and Cowboys-Football Team (FOX).
  • Other possible games mentioned on last week’s Watch and their records: Ravens (8-3)-Browns (6-6), Raiders (6-5)-Chiefs (7-4), Niners (6-5)-Bengals (7-4), Falcons (5-6)-Panthers (5-7).
  • Impact of Monday Night Football: None.
  • Analysis: This may be the NFL’s oldest rivalry, but I’m still not sure the league can in good conscience give the Bears a primetime showcase, certainly against a team with a four-and-a-half-game lead over them in the standings playing at home. The thing holding back a potential flex has always been the lack of options that wouldn’t give NBC both halves of a divisional matchup, which is where the Niners’ winning streak comes in. With the win against the Vikings the Niners are now one of only two non-division-leading teams in the NFC with a winning record (which does mean the Bears are only a game out of the playoffs), and they beat the other one in a Monday night stunner at the start of the winning streak. I said such a win would cement this game’s status as one with wild card implications in both conferences, but the Bengals actually could have taken the AFC North lead if the Browns had beaten the Ravens on Sunday night. Despite all that NBC would probably still much prefer to put on Bears-Packers (which is why I hoped the new TV deal would cement MNF‘s place as a co-main primetime package where most matchups between name teams would go by returning it to ABC full-time, leaving SNF for the actual best games), so I wouldn’t be surprised if the league decided to hold off on a flex (and I might predict they would if the Bears played like you’d expect a team in playoff contention to play against a winless team), but if the league did hold off on flexing in Chargers-Bengals last week because of the possibility that it’d result in SNF travelling to Paul Brown Stadium in consecutive weeks, the one thing preventing the best-case scenario for such a move was the Bears winning a game they may have only won because the winless Lions were trying to lose. The Bears may bring some trainwreck potential, but does the league really want to risk putting on a blowout where the Bears embarrass themselves and the Packers have their way with them, or do they relieve the embarrassment of riches CBS has in the early window with the three best unprotected games?
  • Final prediction: San Francisco 49ers @ Cincinnati Bengals.

8 thoughts on “Last-Minute Remarks on SNF Week 14 Picks

  1. The Bears may have won on Thursday, but given HOW they won, mainly because of TOTAL ineptness by the Lions, I suspect it’s a mirage with them:

    The only thing that may keep Bears-Packers on SNF is if local authorities in Cincinnati told the NFL no Bengals home game can be moved off 1:00 PM because of lack of available security personnel that can work a night game unless it was scheduled that way to begin with for example. Unless the Chargers had specifically asked the NFL not to move their game this coming week off 1:00 PM, that would make the most sense, especially since no one thought the Bengals would be in a position to be flexed before the season started.

  2. Hi, Walt. I think local authorities in Cincinnati told the NFL no Bengals home can be moved off 1 pm. They may have told them that due to a lack of available security personnel so they can follow local and federal jurisdictions in order for Bears vs. Packers game at Lambeau stays on Sunday night football week 14.

  3. Here’s my take on things so far.

    Week 14

    # 1 – Bills(7-4) @ Buccaneers(8-3) <—if not protected, this is what I'd go with, but I am sure it's protected by CBS
    # 2 – 49ers(6-5) @ Bengals(7-4) <—I agree with Morgan and think this will be flexed in and I have no idea where Walt gets his information about security in Cincy
    # 3 – Raiders(6-5) @ Chiefs(7-4) <—this game can't go to SNF, as KC is out of options for SNF until Week 18
    # 4 – Ravens(8-3) @ Browns(6-6) <—was already a pretty good SNF game last night, but it won't be chosen again

    Tentative – Bears(4-7) @ Packers(9-3) – looking like my Pack could lose this SNF game at home due the Bears and it's a shame if the NFL keeps this. Due to Chicago being such a big market, it's possible, but shouldn't be

    Week 15

    # 1 – Packers(9-3) @ Ravens(8-3) <—I bet FOX has this protected
    # 2 – Bengals(7-4) @ Broncos(6-5)
    # 3 – Titans(8-4) @ Steelers(5-5-1)

    Tentative – Saints(5-6) @ Buccaneers(8-3) – might still be the game that stays due to protections, but we'll see

    Week 16

    # 1 – Ravens(8-3) @ Bengals(7-4) <—huge game after Bengals smacked Ravens earlier this season in Baltimore
    # 2 – Bills(7-4) @ Patriots(8-4) <—huge rematch after the 1st matchup is this coming Monday
    # 3 – Broncos(6-5) @ Raiders(6-5) <—potentially pretty important
    # 4 – Steelers(5-5-1) @ Chiefs(7-4) <—can't be flexed in as KC is out of SNF until Week 18

    Tentative – Redskins(5-6) @ Cowboys(7-4) – unless this game is a total mismatch and a much better alternative game is found, this stays put. And after Week 12, it's now looking likely to stay put.

    Week 17

    Tentative – Vikings(5-6) @ Packers(9-3) – if Vikings don't just fall of the earth, this will stay. That being said, there are some other compelling matchups in Week 17.

    Week 18 (sounds so weird to say that)

    2 games will be moved from their preliminary Sunday slot to Sat. 01/08/22 and they’ll both be aired on ESPN/ABC. This is an interesting move to me. These 2 games and the SNF game will both be announced with the rest of the Week 18 schedule, at the conclusion of the Week 17 schedule (at the latest).

    Tentative – none of course

    Current Games and Records of each team

    Jets(3-8) @ Bills(7-4)
    Patriots(8-4) @ Dolphins(5-7) – if the Dolphins keep winning??????
    Steelers(5-5-1) @ Ravens(8-3) – fading due to Steelers
    Bengals(7-4) @ Browns(6-6) – I don't know
    Titans(8-4) @ Texans(2-9)
    Colts(6-6) @ Jaguars(2-9)
    Chiefs(7-4) @ Broncos(6-5) – I still believe the Broncos will keep this from being a Nationally televised game and yep……..that's my reasoning still and yes, even after Week 12
    Chargers(6-5) @ Raiders(6-5) – intriguing if both can stay in playoff position
    Redskins(5-6) @ Giants(4-7)
    Cowboys(7-4) @ Eagles(5-7) – getting closer to a Nationally televised game and more so after Week 12
    Packers(9-3) @ Lions(0-10-1)
    Bears(4-7) @ Vikings(5-6)
    Saints(5-6) @ Falcons(5-6) – likely not
    Panthers(5-7) @ Buccaneers(8-3) – not a chance anymore
    Seahawks(3-8) @ Cardinals(9-2)
    49ers(6-5) @ Rams(7-4) – gaining quickly on a chance to be a Nationally televised game and is probably my best choice now

    I currently have 1 game looking really good for the 3 Nationally televised games in Week 18 and then a bunch of who knows. We’ll see how that progresses.

    Any thoughts anyone?

    Bye week for my Pack this week. Get that toe healthier Rodgers.

  4. Walt, I do enjoy your “Outside The Box Thinking” but I don’t really think politicians factor into NBC’s decision process. Politicians are too busy fighting with each other to bother worrying about who is taking the field on a given Sunday night. Also Police departments, Security Companies, and Stadium workers are flexible….it’s part of their job descriptions. Outside of a couple of years ago when the Sunday night game fell on New Year’s Eve, there probably is no issue with what time a game is played as long as it stays on the same scheduled day for the worker. For what game NBC ultimately picks, it comes down to what match up puts the most butts on the couch for the week. This is why most of the time a game that draws big ratings no matter what the records are i.e Bears Vs Packers gets chosen over a “Good Records Game” like the 49ers Vs Bengals who do not have much of a following outside their home markets. Most Of The Time……


    No SNF flexes the next 2 weeks. Kind of a bummer, as both road teams are lagging. However, I think that NBC really wanted to keep a game at Lambeau Field, and their Vikings-Packers game might get flexed by default, as Fox has potentially 2 games worth flexing that week (Cardinals-Cowboys and Rams-Ravens, though the Cowboys and Rams are slipping a bit). Had the Bears lost on Thanksgiving, then I think the NFL would have been force to pull the trigger on a flex. As it is, the Bears are currently 4-7, with is only 1 game out of the Wildcard(!). 49ers-Bengals was the obvious choice for a flex, if needed, but instead they will move to the DH window on CBS. Bills-Bucs will likely stay as the main game, but 49ers-Bengals offers a solid back-up in case of a blowout/bonus coverage

    I think the NFL kept Saints-Bucs, simply because of a lack of options. The best game that week is Packers-Ravens, which got moved to America’s Game of the Week on Fox. The other options are Titans-Steelers (both are slipping a bit) and Bengals-Broncos (not a game that can overcome the Tom Brady/defending champs factor).

    Week 16 SNF Washington-Cowboys is looking stronger by the week and I doubt it gets flexed now, as if Washington can win out. they would claim the NFC East title(!).

    Week 17 SNF Vikings-Packers is interesting, as I mentioned above. We shall see. if the Vikings fall apart the next 2 week, we might see a flex. Otherwise…well, who knows.

  6. Hi John,

    Thanks for providing the update from the league. I hadn’t had a chance to look as of yet. Nowhere in the release does it say that these are the final schedules for Week’s 14 and 15, but I will agree that these are very likely the final schedules for these 2 weeks. Obviously Week 14 is final. I do believe that the NFL has some wiggle room with Week 15. I guess we’ll see if anything changes next Tuesday.


  7. John:

    If it also possible CBS had 49ers-Bengals and protected it? That is something I don’t think we considered.

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