Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch: Week 11

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 17; and week 18. 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. Note: This year NBC’s press release indicated that the main flex period begins in Week 11 even though Christmas falls on Sunday. I’m assuming this is correct and the result of NBC still being able to have six weeks in the main flex period despite this because of the expansion of the season.
  • In all cases, only games scheduled for Sunday may be moved to Sunday night. Thursday and Monday night games are not affected by Sunday night flexible scheduling (discounting the “flexible scheduling” applied to Saturdays in December in recent years – 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, historically 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 may receive 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 18, 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. More rarely, 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 2018 and 2020, respectively, were the first times it showed such games. 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, except for two games moved to Saturday to be simulcast on ESPN and ABC.

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

Week 11 (November 20):

  • Selected game: Kansas City @ LA Chargers.

Week 12 (November 27):

  • Selected game: Green Bay @ Philadelphia.

Week 13 (December 4):

  • Selected game: Indianapolis @ Dallas (presumably).

Week 14 (December 11):

  • Tentative game: Kansas City @ Denver
  • Prospects: 8-2 v. 3-7. The Broncos are not living up to the hype of Russell Wilson’s arrival, and this game is probably too lopsided to keep around. If the Broncos could lose at home to the lowly Raiders, can they even keep it remotely competitive against the Chiefs?
  • Likely protections: Jets-Bills or Dolphins-Chargers (CBS) and Bucs-49ers or Eagles-Giants (FOX).
  • Other possible games: Eagles-Giants and Jets-Bills would be surefire picks to be flexed in at the moment if they’re left unprotected, and Dolphins-Chargers would be in the running as well if the Chargers weren’t maxed out – and Rams-Chargers is likely enough to be flexed out later in the season that even that may not be much of a barrier. Bucs-Niners is good enough to be picked if the two surefire picks are both protected, even if it’s a .500 team against a team barely over that mark, but it’s not the only Bucs game that’s getting into the running with the Bucs climbing back to .500 and the Bucs would be maxed out on primetime appearances with one game being flexed in. Vikings-Lions has been rallying of late but the Lions can only get to 5-6 at best by the time the decision has to be made, and while several other options could also involve 5-6 teams the game might be too lopsided to compete with them.
  • Analysis: Everything depends on what the protections are. Eagles-Giants, the best game on the slate at 9-1 v. 7-3, actually has a decent chance to be unprotected, as while Bucs-Niners was a battle of 3-2 teams at the time Brady’s star power and the relative expectations surrounding the teams involved might still have favored it. Even now, Bucs-Niners at 5-5 v. 6-4 just might have the edge over Jets-Bills at 6-4 v. 7-3, with the Bills struggling recently (until the second half Sunday), the Jets falling out of the playoffs, the Niners probably being better than their full-season record suggests since adding Christian McCaffrey (though since they already have the better record in the game that might introduce the possibility of lopsidedness) and Brady’s star power. However, if the Bucs lose to the 3-7 Browns this week I don’t expect them to be flexed in. Then there’s Dolphins-Chargers, which as the late singleheader is the type of game the league tends to go to bat for to flex in (especially with the tentative being a West Coast game that can be plugged in to the slot), but at 7-3 v. 5-5 doesn’t seem so compelling as to be absolutely necessary. If the Chargers beat the Cardinals this week it might be tough to beat; I don’t think it’s bumping out Eagles-Giants, which might be too good to be consigned to the early doubleheader but can’t displace the West Coast-based Bucs-Niners as Fox’s featured game unless Bucs-Niners gets flexed in, but if the comparison is between Dolphins-Chargers and Bucs-Niners I don’t know that it would matter what the other results are. Now, if Jets-Bills and Eagles-Giants are both protected and the Chargers and Bucs both lose, then who knows what happens.

Week 15 (December 17):

  • Tentative game: None (3 games to be moved to Saturday). The NFL’s schedule page only says that the Saturday games will be released “at a later date”, but I don’t believe these Saturday flexes have been announced any later than four weeks prior to game day. That being said, I believe when Monday night flex scheduling is instituted next year games will be able to be flexed two weeks in advance, and the Saints have confirmed that that’s the case with the Saturday games this year and that the league will take as much time as they can to make a decision.
  • Possible games: Dolphins (7-3)-Bills (7-3), Ravens (7-3)-Browns (3-7), Colts (4-6-1)-Vikings (8-2), Falcons (5-6)-Saints (4-7), Giants (7-3)-Riveras (6-5).
  • Analysis: In his Football Morning in America column last week, Peter King floated the possibility that the NFL might keep Dolphins-Bills on Sunday to save NBC from a mediocre-at-best tentative (see below). As it stands, the race between Dolphins-Bills and Giants-Riveras seems close enough that waiting as late as possible seems warranted (and the league might well pick Giants-Riveras for Sunday night even if it has a slightly worse pair of records, because NFC East). Colts-Vikings would likely be picked for Saturday alongside whichever game doesn’t get picked for Sunday night, and between the Saints winning this week and the NFC South tire fire Falcons-Saints looks to be in decent shape for the third game. The Raiders winning might give them pause about doing all of this, but the Saints have a better record than the Raiders for now, so these sorts of moves would still be a net positive in terms of which games have national exposure.

Week 15 (December 18):

  • Tentative game: New England @ Las Vegas
  • Prospects: 6-4 v. 3-7, failing to live up to what was already surprisingly modest expectations for a Sunday night game in a week with flexed-in Saturday games; both these teams were expected to be around .500 based on their win totals in Vegas, but the Raiders are one of the worst teams in the league and the Patriots’ record isn’t holding up as well as expected with the Jets being as good as they are.
  • Likely protections: Probably Titans-Chargers (CBS) and Cowboys-Jaguars, Eagles-Bears, or nothing (FOX).
  • Other possible games: See above; this game may not be lucking out as well as I thought. The problem is that Titans-Chargers (now doubly out of the running) is the only game stuck on Sunday involving two teams above .500, though Bengals-Bucs may yet bail the league and NBC out here, with the caveat, as above, that it would max the Bucs out on primetime appearances. Lions-Jets is a dark horse.

Week 17 (January 1):

  • Tentative game: LA Rams @ LA Chargers
  • Prospects: 3-7 v. 5-5, mediocre at best and lopsided at worst. Not too long ago I thought this game might be relatively safe, but now it’s in enough danger that, as above, I think the NFL might be willing to sacrifice it to get the Chargers another primetime game earlier.
  • Likely protections: Vikings-Packers (CBS) and Saints-Eagles, Jets-Seahawks, or nothing (FOX).
  • Other possible games: Jets-Seahawks is a game between two 6-4 teams that’s currently pinned to the late slot of the singleheader, which means the league is probably more likely to flex it in than Dolphins-Patriots, though a lot also may depend on which games are in the running for being flexed next week. Colts-Giants and Cardinals-Falcons are dark horses.

Week 18 (January 8):

  • Tentative game: None (NBC will show game with guaranteed playoff implications).
  • Games to watch: Bucs-Falcons, Patriots-Bills, Ravens-Bengals, Jets-Dolphins, Giants-Eagles, Cowboys-NotIndians, Rams-Seahawks, Cardinals-Niners.

32 thoughts on “Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch: Week 11”

  1. Reposted from previous thread:

    Hello NFL SNF Flex Scheduling lovers,

    Here’s my take on things after Week 11.

    Main Flex period:

    Week 13 – scheduled game is: Ind.(4-6-1) @ Dal.(7-3)

    #1 – Tenn.(7-3) @ Phil.(9-1)
    #2 – Mia.(7-3) @ S.F.(6-4)
    #3 – Wash.(6-5) @ N.Y.G.(7-3)
    #4 – N.Y.J.(6-4) @ Minn.(8-2)
    #5 – K.C.(8-2) @ Cin.(6-4)

    The dog of a game between the Colts and Cowboys will likely stay and we’ll know tomorrow for sure. Last week I had Jets/Vikings as my #1, but it’s fallen to my #4 after what happened to those 2 teams in Week 11. Titans/Eagles would be the way I’d go, but not sure we can. Dolphins/49ers and Commanders/Giants both are better than the tentative.

    Week 14 – scheduled game is: K.C.(8-2) @ Den.(3-7)

    #1 – T.B.(5-5) @ S.F.(6-4)
    #2 – Phil.(9-1) @ N.Y.G.(7-3)
    #3 – N.Y.J.(6-4) @ Buff.(7-3)
    #4 – Mia.(7-3) @ L.A.C.(5-5)

    The tentative scheduled must be replaced. My #1 choice is now Bucs/49ers, as it’s currently a matchup of two 1st place teams and Brady vs. Garoppolo would be interesting. My next 3 choices all lost some luster in Week 11.

    Week 15 – scheduled game is: N.E.(6-4) @ L.V.(3-7) <—will the Raiders be so bad and ruin the Belichick/McDaniels matchup? The answer is starting to look like a big YES!

    Also, 3 of 5 games will move to Saturday and they are:

    Mia.(7-3) @ Buff.(7-3) <—certain to move to Saturday, unless the NFL wants to move this to SNF
    Balt.(7-3) @ Clev.(3-7) <—the Browns make this not likely to move to Saturday
    Ind.(4-6-1) @ Minn.(8-2) <—likely to move to Saturday, as there's no other good 3rd choice
    Atl.(5-6) @ N.O.(4-7) <—not likely, in spite of how tight the NFC South is
    N.Y.G.(7-3) @ Wash.(6-5) <—because it's big market teams, it's looking like a near certainty to move to Saturday or SNF

    As for SNF, my rankings are such:

    #1 – Mia.(7-3) @ Buff.(7-3) <—if Saturday isn't emphasized, but I think it is
    #2 – Tenn.(7-3) @ L.A.C.(5-5) <—max out problems, plus Chargers injuries are ruining this
    #3 – N.Y.G.(7-3) @ Wash.(6-5) <—if Saturday isn't emphasized, but I think it is
    #4 – Cin.(6-4) @ T.B.(5-5)

    Last season the decision on the 3 Saturday Week 15 games had to be made after Week 11, but there's nothing in the schedule release about when this decision needs to be made this season. Let's assume it will be after Week 12 or Week 13 this season.

    I believe Bengals/Bucs has the best chance to move to SNF at this point. The league seems to sort of the Bengals a SNF game after they were flexed out in Week 11.

    Week 16 – scheduled game is: T.B.(5-5) @ Ariz.(4-7) <— can't be flexed, as it's set in stone due to being on Christmas, but yuck!

    Week 17 – scheduled game is: L.A.R.(3-7) @ L.AC.(5-5) <— getting worse week by week and a good chance to be flexed out…….say 60% chance to move

    Week 18 – no scheduled SNF game and 2 games moving to Saturday

    N.E.(6-4) @ Buff.(7-3) <—can't move to Saturday
    N.Y.J.(6-4) @ Mia.(7-3) <—might be affected by Bills not being able to play on Saturday and could preclude them from doing so as well. If not precluded from moving to Saturday, it has a good chance or possibly SNF.
    Balt.(7-3) @ Cin.(6-4) <—can't move to Saturday, but SNF could be a possibility…….
    Clev.(3-7) @ Pitt.(3-7) <—not looking like a move to Saturday would be in the cards anyway
    Hou.(1-8-1) @ Ind.(4-6-1) <—not a good Saturday game candidate
    Tenn.(7-3) @ Jack.(3-7) <—not a good Saturday game candidate
    L.A.C.(5-5) @ Den.(3-7) <—not a good Saturday game candidate
    K.C.(8-2) @ L.V.(3-7) <—not a good Saturday game candidate
    N.Y.G.(7-3) @ Phil.(9-1) <—looking good to be a Saturday game or perhaps SNF if things pan out
    Dal.(7-3) @ Wash.(6-5) <—starting to gain on potentially moving to Saturday and quickly!
    Minn.(8-2) @ Chi.(3-8) <—not a good Saturday game candidate
    Det.(4-6) @ G.B.(4-7) <—not a good Saturday game candidate
    T.B.(5-5) @ Atl.(5-6) <—could be a dark horse for SNF, as it could become a win and in, lose and out game……..reminds me of Rams/Seahawks on SNF years ago as a clown show win and in and lose and out game
    Car.(3-8) @ N.O.(4-7) <—not a good Saturday game candidate
    Ariz.(4-7) @ S.F.(6-4) <—not a good Saturday game candidate
    L.A.R.(3-7) @ Sea.(6-4) <—not looking good to move to Saturday

    Remember, due to Buffalo and Cincinnati playing on MNF in Week 17, they will not be able to play on Saturday in Week 18 and that also leads to the potential of no matchup from the AFC East and AFC North moving to Saturday. But we'll see.

    Go Pack Go on Sunday Night Football in Philly! And Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

  2. Re-posting from the last thread:

    For Spence: The rule I believe is ALL Thursday games count as primetime, including the Thursday afternoon appearances on Thanksgiving day that are on CBS and FOX.

    Week 13 wound up having no change (Colts-Cowboys stays). I suspect given some teams are already maxed out on flexes later and the NFL wanting to save some teams for flexes and because of scheduling also played into this.

    Week 14: Broncos have been a massive disappointment and their game with the Chiefs is almost certain to be flexed out. Reports are FOX DID NOT PROTECT Eagles-Giants, so it looks like that game is almost certain moved to SNF. Bucs-49ers looked like a prime candidate to be flexed if FOX did not protect it, however, the 49ers are in Seattle for a Week 15 Thursday nighter and the NFL likely didn’t want to have a team on TNF the following week playing on SNF. Dolphins-Chargers would have been the favorite to be flexed, however, because the Chargers were flexed in for week 11 (vs. the Chiefs) the Chargers CAN NOT be flexed in again UNLESS their Week 17 game vs. the Rams is flexed out due to their having two more prime time games (that one and Monday 12/26 at the Colts). Jets-Bills would have been a candidate EXCEPT the Bills are already maxed out on national TV games (I believe ALL Thanksgiving games are considered prime time appearances even if they are on CBS or FOX).

    Week 15: Pats-Raiders on the surface appeared to be on really shaky ground as the Raiders are 3-7. Titans-Chargers looked like the favorite except that means Rams-Chargers MUST be flexed out in Week 17. I’m wondering if the NFL is holding off on the Saturday games in Week 15 because Giants-Commanders may be needed for Sunday Night Football (likely on Saturday leaving the NFL with Falcons-Saints as the 1:00 PM ET game, Colts-Vikings as the 4:30 PM ET game and Ravens-Browns as the 8:15 PM ET game because I believe with the Bills maxed out on national TV games, Dolphins-Bills can’t be moved to Saturday OR to SNF).

    One thing that might see Pats-Raiders stay on SNF: The Las Vegas Bowl is scheduled to be in primetime on ABC the night before at Alliegant Stadium (Raiders Home) and while the Raiders play on a grass surface, UNLV (who also plays their home games there) and the Las Vegas Bowl play those games on artificial turf. While there is a contingency plan to move that game to Saturday afternoon (12/18) on ESPN with the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque moved to ABC in prome time that night if Pats-Raiders is moved, I’m not sure the NFL wants to PO Las Vegas Bowl officials in their losing the exposure of their game being in prime time on ABC. While it is a relatively minor bowl game, it is something that is a factor here.

    Week 16 doesn’t have a flex. This is where the NFL should have had the bulk of the games on Monday, December 26 (day after Christmas that is the actual legal holiday for such) though as noted I suspect the station managers of FOX affiliates objected to that due to their having numerous pre-emptions during the World Cup in November and December and the syndicators of shows that normally air on FOX stations in the daytime probably made clear they could not pre-empt for NFL games on 12/26 since the week of 12/26-30 likely is re-airs of shows that first aired during the World Cup pre-empted by FOX affiliates. Otherwise, it would have set up for ESPN/ABC to have a flex that Monday night. If the Christmas Eve slate had been played the day after Christmas instead, we likely would have seen Texans-Titans (CBS at likely 2:00 PM ET) and Eagles-Cowboys (likely on FOX at 5:30 PM ET) be standalone games on Christmas Eve due to the Titans hosting the Cowboys the following Thursday. That likely also would have meant Raiders-Steelers would have been a 4:30 PM Christmas Day game on NFL Network and the Packers-Dolphins and Broncos-Rams games moved to Monday 12/26. Giants-Vikings likely would have been protected by FOX with Bengals-Patriots the most likely game to be flexed to MNF in that scenario.

    Week 17: Rams-Chargers now is in real danger of being flexed out. It could be we that is the case likely well before that decision would otherwise have to be made if the Chargers are flexed into Week 15 (vs. the Titans) since as noted above, if that happened THIS GAME MUST BE FLEXED OUT. Jets-Seahawks right now looks unless one or both collapse it will be the Sunday night game on New Year’s Night. The other candidate would be Dolphins-Patriots, but that would also hinge on whether the Pats are still in contention for a playoff berth by the time that decision has to be made.

    Week 18: If Giants-Eagles is for the NFC East, THAT is the Sunday Night finale. If Jets-Dolphins matters for a wild card or the AFC East no matter what happens in the earlier games on Sunday, THAT can be the Sunday night game (though that is also a candidate for Saturday). If Bucs-Falcons is for the NFC South, THAT can be the SNF Finale as well.

  3. One other thought the NFL could do and allow the Las Vegas Bowl to stay in the primetime Saturday on ABC in Week 15:

    NFL Network does only two games instead of three on Saturday (12/18) at 4:30 and 8:15 PM ET) while FOX gets two of the three games for Saturday consideration (including Dolphins-Bills since I believe that game can’t be moved to Saturday) and CBS one such with Giants-Commanders flexed into SNF and Pats-Raiders pushed back to an 11:30 PM ET/8:30 PM PT Sunday game on NFL Network (in place of the Saturday 1:00 PM game they are supposed to have). This would allow the Las Vegas Bowl to remain in prime time on ABC on Saturday as schedule (and Disney execs I’m sure would MUCH rather have that game over the New Mexico Bowl in the Saturday prime time slot on ABC). Not ideal, but the NFL has in the past had an 11:30 PM ET Sunday game and while Robert Kraft might complain about his fans having to stay until until 3:00 AM Monday to see the finish, this is about potentially keeping Las Vegas Bowl and Disney officials happy.

  4. Thanksgiving isn’t considered Primetime, The Bills haven’t been flexed into a Primetime game and they had Dolphins-Bills as an option. Also just look up “Lions no primetime games” and you will see it that Thanksgiving isn’t Primetime

  5. Thanksgiving is not considered Primetime, The Bills haven’t been flexed into a Primetime game and they had Dolphins-Bills as an option. Also just look up “Lions no primetime games” and you will see it that Thanksgiving isn’t Primetime

  6. Spence: That guy just blathers on and on about things like CBS starting 60 minutes late because of football. I’d take what he says with a grain of salt.

  7. Hello everybody. I actually don’t think eagles giants is the sure flex in anymore for week 14. Giants injuries are killing the match up. However I think Jets-Bills and Chargers-Dolphins are strong options. Chargers have the injury bug to so I guess that leaves Jets-Bills. I don’t really keep up with the protections but I would believe that fox protects Bucs-9ers. They have to do someone! They really dropped the ball weeks 12 and 13 by not doing anything. And thanks NFL for leaving the Cowboys on SNF said nobody ever!🙄

  8. Spencer:

    Chargers can only be flexed in again IF Rams-Chargers in Week 17 is flexed out.

    Spence:

    I’m guessing that rule was since changed. As far as I remember, the rule was ALL Thursday games, INCLUDING Thanksgiving day on CBS/FOX were considered primetime games so this change had to be recent.

    Not that I think it matters here. Since we now know Eagles-Giants was NOT protected by FOX, that is almost certain to be flexed into SNF in Week 14. I suspect the Giants will be flexed in AGAIN to SNF in Week 15 against the Commanders at FedEx Field. What I think happens is FOX gets Dolphins-Bills as their main game that Sunday in Week 15 and NFL Network does as noted only two games on Saturday (12/18) instead of three (those likely Colts-Vikings at 4:30 PM and Ravens-Browns at 8:15 PM ET) with CBS getting Falcons-Saints while Pats-Raiders instead of being moved to the afternoon becomes an 11:30 PM ET/8:30 PM PT Sunday game on NFL Network, replacing the scheduled 1:00 PM ET Saturday game there. That would allow the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday 12/18 to remain in its scheduled 7:30 PM ET Saturday slot on ABC instead of being moved to 2:30 PM ET Saturday on ESPN (with the New Mexico Bowl replacing it in primetime on ABC) and keeping another of the NFL’s TV partners in Disney as well as Las Vegas Bowl officials happy.

  9. Walt: Week 17 is a little ways off but the Chargers-Rams is a mess of a matchup. I like Jet-Seahawks to get flexed in that week taking them out of the 4:05 prison. If that’s the case regarding the chargers flex in Jets-Bills week 14.

  10. Spencer S:

    Again, I see Eagles-Giants FAR more likely to be flexed in than Jets-Bills as I think the Giants get two straight flexes at home against the Eagles and in Washington against the Commanders as part of a move where one of the three NFL Network games scheduled for Saturday 12/18 instead becomes Pats-Raiders on Sunday 12/19 at 11:30 PM ET/8:30 PM PT so the Las Vegas Bowl can remain on Saturday 12/18 in its scheduled 7:30 PM ET time slot on ABC.

  11. Walt:

    First, your dates are wrong. 12/17 is Saturday, 12/18 is Sunday.

    Second, NO WAY the NFL is going to reschedule a game to 11:30PM ET on a Sunday Night! NO ONE would watch!

  12. Walt:
    This is why people take what you say with a grain of salt. A game starting at 11:30 PM Eastern time?? Come on man! Never in a million years.

  13. John:

    You’re right on the dates. My bad!

    As far as moving Pats-Raiders to 11:30 PM ET Sunday night, it would be SPECIFICALLY so the Las Vegas Bowl can remain in its scheduled 7:30 PM ET/4:30 PM PT slot the night before on ABC. I’m sure Disney executives would MUCH prefer the Las Vegas Bowl in that slot instead of 2:30 PM ET Saturday on ESPN as the New Mexico Bowl, currently in the earlier slot but would move to prime time on ABC as currently slated would get far less viewers because a lot of casual fans will watch the Las Vegas Bowl SOLELY because it’s Las Vegas. If the NFL did go with Pats-Raiders on Sunday 12/18 at 11:30 as opposed to a 1:00 PM Saturday game on NFL Network, the 11:30 Sunday slot likely gets a bigger number because that is 8:30 on the west coast and you are much more likely to get a decent rating late on Sunday night. Add to it likely being a MUCH more heavily wagered game because it would be the “bailout” game much like Hawai’i games in college football that start at Midnight ET or later are, which also would bring in viewers who are much more likely to watch an 11:30 PM ET Sunday game than a 1:00 PM ET Saturday game.

    This would specifically be so the Las Vegas Bowl stays in its scheduled time slot so the NFL keeps one of its TV partners (and Las Vegas Bowl executives) happy.

  14. Again Walt you post another long drawn-out comment that makes no sense. SNF is on NBC and it won’t be moved to NFL network. Also Walt it could be Jets-Bills week 14 because the NFL doesn’t care about giving a team consecutive home primetime games! There’s 7 whole days between games for god sakes!! One last thing: liberal 60 minutes sucks hooters and I hope it gets booted off the air!! Just had to get that off my chest!!

  15. Spencer:

    You are forgetting there is a third party in this, and that is the Las Vegas Bowl. Disney does not want to have to move the game to the afternoon and stick the New Mexico Bowl in the primetime slot on ABC, and neither would advertisers want that. That is why the compromise as I do it with Pats-Raiders at 11:30 Sunday on NFL Network (in place of the 1:00 PM Saturday game) so the Las Vegas Bowl stays where it is.

    And Eagles-Giants is far more likely than Jets-Bills at this point for SNF, with Giants-Commanders the following Sunday night on SNF. Only reason you MIGHT get Jets-Bills are Giants season ticket holders often refuse to go to night games and the Maras might fear an Eagles fans takeover of Met Life Stadium.

  16. As we’re about 1/4 of the game done with Week 12 SNF, Week 14’s SNF game has only gotten worse and must be flexed out.
    We definitely have some good choices, thankfully.

    Week 15 SNF tentative of NE @ LV improved this weekend with the Pats losing and the Raiders winning. LV hosts LAC and NE hosts Buff in Week 13, so we’ll see how that affects things. Plus we have no clue about what and when the NFL will decide the 3 Week 15 Saturday games.

    Week 17 Rams/Chargers should definitely be flexed out.

    Going to be an interesting time for SNF flexes and Saturday game decisions.

  17. Jeff:

    The Raiders situation has definitely improved. If they win again next week I think Pats-Raiders stays on SNF and we avoid the issues with the Las Vegas Bowl having to be moved or changes to the NFL Network schedule where to keep the Las Vegas Bowl in its scheduled time slot (7:30 PM ET 12/18 on ABC) where Pats-Raiders becomes an 11:30 PM ET Sunday game on NFL Network in place of the Saturday 1:00 PM ET game.

  18. Hi, Jeff. You are right about Chargers vs rams week 17 game should likely flexed out of NBC this season thanks to the rams not having a good season this season. Assuming the Packers will miss the playoffs, I don’t think it makes ANY sense to me that Vikings vs. Packers game at Lambeau field stays on CBS 3:25 pm thanks to GB struggling this season. If the Packers miss the playoffs this season since they likely will, I could see the Packers vs. Vikings game week 17 Lambeau Field get flexed out of 3:25 pm CBS and switch that matchup to noon with crossflex that matchup to Fox. But perhaps the Vikings vs. Packers game at Lambeau Field can be shown on CBS with Jim Nantz and Tony Romo announcing that matchup next season assuming Aaron Rodgers stays with his Packers team next season thanks to Rodgers that signed a big contract this past summer.

  19. Hey there Brian,

    Yeah, the late games do tend to get flexed with the early games, as the matchups matter more late in the season.

  20. Hello Walt,

    Yeah, the Raiders winning these past 2 weeks has, in my opinion, likely kept the Week 15 SNF tentative in place and makes the Saturday games easier to choose.

  21. You’re right about the matchups do matter more late in the season, Jeff. For next season, I predict 3 SNF football games for the Packers.
    1. Packers vs. Bears at Lambeau Field
    2. Vikings vs. Packers either at Minneapolis U.S. Bank
    Stadium or at Lambeau Field.
    3. One of the games for the Packers road games in a non-division rival either against Washington Commanders or the New York Giants.
    I am also gonna predict two games for the Packers on CBS tv channel with Jim Nantz and Tony Romo announcing.
    1. Packers vs. Chiefs at Lambeau Field (Aaron Rodgers vs. Patrick Mahomes)
    2. If Vikings vs. Packers game at Lambeau doesn’t get the SNF,
    I’ll also predict Vikings vs. Packers game at Lambeau Field on CBS.
    Hope you like my predictions.

  22. Jeff:

    What I think the Raiders have done for now is keep themselves in the SNF window. I would think Disney (a TV partner of the NFL) is going to pressure the NFL NOT to move that game to the afternoon because of the situation that affects the Las Vegas Bowl (if the Raiders game is in the afternoon on Sunday, because of the time needed to turn around Allegiant Stadium from a college football game to a Raiders game, the Las Vegas Bowl would be at 2:30 PM ET Saturday on ESPN with the New Mexico Bowl replacing it in the 7:30 PM ET time slot that night on ABC, something I’m sure Disney doesn’t want). That’s why I think they may wait until after next week for any announcement of the Week 15 Saturday games because of one of the three scheduled slots on NFL Network for those games (1:00 PM ET that Saturday) may have to be moved to 11:30 PM ET Sunday to put Pats-Raiders there so the Las Vegas Bowl stays in its scheduled time slot and keeps Disney happy.

    If the scenario is that they can’t move Pats-Raiders to the afternoon because it affects the Las Vegas Bowl, then what I see happening is Pats-Raiders is moved to 11:30 PM ET Sunday on NFL Network (so they can make those arrangements now as the Las Vegas Bowl has to send out invitations this week and I believe whether or not that game is in primetime on ABC affects the level of schools they can go after for that game), Giants-Commanders is moved to SNF and what would be the remaining two Saturday NFL Network games are determined later this week.

  23. The Las Vegas Bowl is not a pimple on the rear end of the NFL. Not even if “Disney executives” are involved. Seriously. The NFL is not bending their schedule around keeping the Vegas Bowl happy. If there’s some sort of contractual language that absolutely prevents the NFL from scheduling a game, they will have to bend to it (see the Ravens’ post-SB opener, or the potential moving of a Seahawks game to accomodate the Mariners this year), but I doubt the Las Vegas Bowl has that kind of power.

    If these late-night games involving west-coast teams were such drawing cards as you claim they are, the Pac-12 would be getting a huge chunk of TV money for those After Dark timeslots instead of teams begging to play fewer of them. 80% of the country lives East of the Rockies. They’re not interested in 11:30pm kickoffs.

    Of course, this whole discussion is moot, because the Vegas and New Mexico Bowls officially announced a potential switch in timeslots and networks if the Raiders game is moved. If they get flexed, the Vegas Bowl moves to 2:30 on ESPN and the New Mexico Bowl moves to 7:30 on ABC. I guess Disney executives aren’t as worked up over this as you thought.

  24. And no, the Vegas Bowl timeslot has nothing to do with what teams they can invite. The Bowl is an SEC vs. Pac-12 game, period, end of discussion. The only hiccup would be if the conferences don’t have enough bowl-eligible teams to fill out all of their contracted bowls, which I don’t believe to be the case.

  25. Pete:

    Yes, there is the contingency, I have noted that myself. It’s one thing to have the contingency plan in switching the bowl games, but I’m sure execs at Disney don’t want that to happen. Further, while it is true more people live east of the Rockies, Saturday at 1:00 PM ET is the least desirable time to have an NFL game, which is why the NFL has now completely done away with such in the playoffs. I think the NFL would actually prefer an 11:30 PM ET Sunday game to a Saturday 1:00 PM ET game even if it means losing a good chunk of the east coast. Most people in the east are out at 1:00 PM ET on a Saturday and I’m sure in the west that is also the case at 10:00 AM local time. And you have college basketball and Bowl games all day on Saturday eating away at the audience for a 1:00 PM Saturday NFL game which you would NOT have for an 11:30 PM ET game.

    As for the Pac-12, it’s mainly the school alumni who hate the late start times. FOX actually has had a few 10:30 PM ET Saturday starts this year and ESPN often has had them. If anything, if I’m at ABC, I’d be adding an 11:30 PM ET slot (after local news with an 11:45 PM ET kickoff) all weeks with usually the Pac-12 in that slot so a large chunk of the game airs after Saturday Night Live ends at 10:00 PM ET/1:00 AM PT. Those games are also popular with gamblers because those are often the “bailout” games (especially Hawai’i that kicks at 11:59 PM ET or later on Saturdays). Sure, the games go to 2:30 AM ET or later (and an 11:45 PM ET start would mean a 3:30 AM ET or later finish) but I suspect those games do more than well enough and if I’m running the Pac-12 I embrace 8:30 and even 9:00 PM local starts to get the post-SNL audience watching.

  26. Correcting myself:

    Obviously I meant after Saturday Night Live ends at 10:00 PM Pacific/1:00 AM Eastern Time.

  27. There’s a thing called SLEEP that eats away at an 11:30 viewing audience, way more than a Xavier vs. Dayton basketball game.

    Let me know when ESPN or FOX puts a major marquee game at 10:30 or later when they have other options. Which USC and UCLA games do you think will draw more eyeballs? The ones this year and next at 10:30 or the ones at 4 and 7:30 on CBS and NBC?

    The proof is sort of in the pudding here–if 11:30 were a viable timeslot to start a game, the NFL would have done it already (not counting one instance of the A’s and Raiders both needing the stadium, a scenario that can’t even happen anymore).

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