Last-Minute Remarks on SNF Week 12 Picks

Week 12 (November 24):

  • Tentative game: Seattle @ Philadelphia
  • Prospects: 7-2 v. 5-4. Not as lopsided as it could have been, and the Eagles are right in the thick of contention in the NFC East.
  • Likely protections: Jaguars-Titans if anything (CBS) and Cowboys-Patriots (FOX).
  • Other possible games mentioned on last week’s Watch and their records: Packers (8-2)-49ers (8-0), Saints (7-2)-Panthers (5-4)
  • Impact of Monday Night Football: Were the Seahawks to win, not only would Packers-Niners lose its major storyline of the Niners being unbeaten, the Seahawks would only be a half-game back of the division and would tentatively hold a tiebreaker over the Niners, though Seahawks-Eagles would become a skosh more lopsided. On the other hand, a Niners victory might well put the division out of reach for all practical purposes with the Seahawks needing to make up three losses and the tiebreaker.
  • Analysis: We have a Sunday night tentative with potential wild-card and division implications for both teams and a late-afternoon feature game pitting two big names on top of their divisions, yet we also have Packers-Niners, pitting one of the league’s biggest names against the last undefeated team with each team two games better than the tentative, pinned to the late afternoon slot and seemingly doomed to limited distribution. Ideally, the league would flex in Packers-Niners, crossflex either Seahawks-Eagles or Saints-Panthers to CBS, and have each game anchor either the early-doubleheader or singleheader window, but who knows if the league would be willing to do anything that sensible, especially since the Seahawks probably wouldn’t be happy about a game formerly scheduled for primetime now being scheduled for the morning in their home time zone.

    Seahawks-Eagles isn’t so bad it would normally warrant being flexed out, but the league has flexed out perfectly fine tentatives in the past to increase the distribution of games that would otherwise be relegated to limited distribution, to the point of twice allowing the former tentative to anchor the late spot of the doubleheader, not to mention the infamous “protection override” of 2013. However, the record of the league doing so with underdistributed late-doubleheader games, as opposed to 4:05 singleheader games, is limited, and the league has twice in the past twelve months failed to boost the distribution of Rams divisional games that instead languished at 4:05, though for understandable reasons (I predicted no flex both times). A flex would represent the Packers’ sixth primetime appearance but none of their remaining games before Week 17 seem terribly likely to be flexed in. Last week I suggested that Packers-Niners could be flexed in regardless of the result of the Monday night game if the Packers won, because a Seahawks win would just make Seahawks-Eagles more lopsided while Packers-Niners would only be a half-game apart, and that’s what happened. I’m predicting the league will pull the flex here, but I would be far from surprised if Seahawks-Eagles kept its spot (and the fact nothing has been announced as I post this might not be a good sign for a flex unless there are some intense negotiations going on).

  • Final prediction: Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers.

40 thoughts on “Last-Minute Remarks on SNF Week 12 Picks

  1. I still think what likely makes the most sense is this:

    1:00 on FOX: Cowboys-Pats as the main DH game with for that week the main DH game at 1:00 (only Dolphins-Browns and Steelers-Bengals on CBS to cover areas that have a regional game late on FOX).

    Main CBS singleheader game at 4:05: Panthers-Saints OR Packers-49ers (Jags-Titans cross-flexed to FOX) with all other CBS SH games at 4:05 as well.

    4:25 on FOX: Regional games headline by Packers-49ers OR Panthers-Saints (with the other cross-flexed to CBS as noted)

    SNF remains Seahawks-Eagles.

    I suspect that will be done for competitive reasons in the NFC, not wanting the Seahawks to play what is supposed to be an SNF game at 10:00 AM (1:00 local) back in Seattle.

    This to me is the rare time the NFL has the main DH game at 1:00 due to a slew of circumstances the NFL could not have anticipated. It’s rare, but it has been done before (most notably in 1987 when one of the regional 4:00 PM games in that scenario was the Giants at the then-St. Louis Cardinals in the last home game ever for the Cardinals in St. Louis).

    Especially with the SNF loss this week by the Cowboys, I can’t see the NFL flexing out SEA-PHI regardless of what happens tonight. The NFC Wild Card at worst along with the NFC East will be in play (especially since there is a good chance the NFC East winner could be 8-8 or 9-7).

  2. Good thoughts Morgan.
    Sea-Phi is a good matchup, but I think GB vs San Fran is a better one. SF is having a great year and a matchup with GB will be a ratings bonanza, better than Phi vs Sea.

    Jets will be flexed into SNF when they have a good team.

  3. Karl:

    NFL also has to keep the Seawhawks happy. They don’t want to have that game moved to 1:00 local/10:00 AM in Seattle, see the Seahawks lose and have the Seahawks and their fans slam the NFL for that. What makes the most sense is to reverse the DH with only Cowboys-Pats/CBS purgatory game(s) at 1:00 and everything else besides SNF/MNF at 4:05 on CBS/4:25 on FOX though in that scenario I could see the late games pushed back to 4:20/4:40 to assure Cowboys-Pats ends before second games start.

    This again is an extremely rare situation where making 1:00 PM the main slot for one week is worth it.

  4. Adding:

    This is just the second time since FOX first got the NFL in 1994 this possibility has even come up. The only other time in the last 25 years this was even remotely possible was two years ago when many wanted Eagles-Rams flexed to SNF with Steelers-Ravens likely in that scenario becoming the main game at 1:00 PM but for that to happen too many cross-flexes would have had to also happen. This time, no cross-flexes are actually required but I could see in such a scenario one of GB-SF or CAR-NO cross-flexed to CBS to be CBS’s main SH game at 4:05 (or possibly 4:20) while JAX-TEN (the game currently in 4:05 purgatory on CBS) cross-flexed to FOX.

  5. Walt,

    That Giants-Cardinals game was a rare case of our CBS station, WSPA/7 in Greenville, Spartanburg, Anderson, and Pickens, SC and Asheville, Hendersonville, NC bypassing an Atlanta Falcons game, since the Giants were still in the playoff hunt.

  6. Hello all,

    Here’s my final take on Week 12 of Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling.

    My preference are these, in order of ranking:

    #1 – GB(8-2) @ SF(8-1) <—a battle for the #1 seed in the NFC
    #2 – Car(5-4) @ NO(7-2) <—a pivotal matchup that could keep the Panthers in the NFC South race or essentially clinch it for the Saints
    #3 – Sea(8-2) @ Phil(5-4) <—the tentative that will keep its place due to the seeming reluctance to make easier flex scheduling changes earlier this season, though it's a bit lopsided
    #4 – Dal(5-4) @ NE(8-1) <—a lopsided game it seems and no chance, but at least both teams have winning records currently

    Like Morgan has said, the tentative could be in some trouble due to Packers/49ers and Cowboys/Patriots currently slated for the same time frame and having to split the country, on the same network. This is indeed a very tough week for the NFL. I guess we'll know tomorrow and we should also know the decision on the Week 16 Saturday Tripleheader on NFL Network.

    I will have my takes on Weeks 13 to 17 tomorrow or Wednesday.

    Go Pack Go this week in their bye week!!! LOL 🙂

  7. Jeff:

    With the Seahawks winning tonight, I suspect Seahawks-Eagles remains on NBC for reasons already said, now including the NFL hoping both teams run the table until a Week 17 rematch that would be for the NFC West and the #1 overall seed. NFL does not want to PO Seahawks fans here, especially making a game 10:00 AM Pacific that is supposed to be SNF even if Eagles fans want that to happen.

    Still think what happens is what I said, with the first reverse doubleheader since at least FOX took over the NFC from CBS in 1994. It’s extremely rare that is warranted but it is here.

  8. Probably. I’m wondering if they are talking with FOX and CBS about actually going through with a reverse DH and pushing back the late games to 4:20 on CBS/4:40 on FOX to accommodate what would be an extremely rare situation of having the main doubleheader game at 1:00 instead of 4:25 (as noted, it would be the first time we have a reverse doubleheader since at least when FOX got the NFC package in 1994, which was before the FCC began relaxing regulations regarding the 7:00-8:00 PM ET hour so the late games could start at 4:15 and now 4:25 PM ET). Pushing the late games back might also require SNF to be pushed back to an 8:35-8:40 PM ET kickoff so NBC gets the audience for a longer period after the late games end.

  9. I’m guessing the week 12 flex won’t happen, otherwise we probably would have heard something by now. FOX will have to split some key markets (CHI, MIN, NO, SEA) for GB-SF at 4:25 pm ET, limiting somewhat the full broadcast potential of FOX’s marquee late afternoon game DAL-NE (although I’m sure that game will still do great in the ratings)

    With the 49ers no longer undefeated, SEA-PHI is a good enough game to be not flexed out of SNF, and I’m sure Seattle would be upset if they had to play at 1:00 pm ET (10:00 am PT) instead

    Just a bad break for the NFL and their broadcast partners when making the schedule, obviously they did not foresee SF being good this season

  10. Not necessarily:

    There could be negotiations being done here to placate certain owners (particularly Robert Kraft, who’d be none too pleased about Cowboys-Pats moving to 1:00 PM, EVEN IF it’s because the doubleheader is inverted for this week due to the way the schedule is) and some officials of areas that don’t really want a game at 4:00-ish instead of 1:00. That might be playing into it as its an extremely rare situation.

  11. Not only has there been zero chatter about week 12’s schedule, there’s still nothing on week 16 and the Saturday games.

  12. “Good thoughts Morgan.
    Sea-Phi is a good matchup, but I think GB vs San Fran is a better one. SF is having a great year and a matchup with GB will be a ratings bonanza, better than Phi vs Sea.

    Jets will be flexed into SNF when they have a good team.”

    quoting myself.

  13. Morgan was right, but I think that had more to do with one big factor I overlooked:

    Robert Kraft and Jerry Jones.

    I suspect Kraft and Jones BOTH told the NFL in no uncertain terms their game was NOT to be moved to 1:00 PM under ANY circumstances and would be looked at as “an insult,” EVEN IF it was because of what I mentioned of this being an extremely rare situation where it made sense to do that while keeping it the main DH game and move all the regionals to 4:05/4:25. Also possible local officials in some cities told the NFL they did not want their games moved to 4:05/4:25 because it creates logistical problems for them with games ending around 7:45 or later.

  14. Also now would not be surprised given Rams-49ers will be the late game on Saturday on NFL Network the NFL now tells FOX they face a “protection override” in Week 16 if they protected Cowboys-Eagles with NBC getting that game if the Bears continue to fizzle and if as expected that game is for the NFC East.

  15. One more factor I forgot about:

    If the NFL had done the “Reverse DH,” that likely means except on the west coast and areas getting the 1:00 PM “purgatory” game on CBS, “60 Minutes” would have had to air at 3:00 PM ET/2:00 PM CT and that would upset not only CBS’s news division, but also likely would have caused older viewers to complain to the FCC over that, which likely also played a factor (“60” has by far the oldest demos of any prime time show that go back to when 7:00-8:00 on Sundays was restricted to news and/or children’s programming).

    Also, you’d likely have seen the rest of the CBS SH games at 4:25 instead of 4:05, meaning the rest of prime time likely gets delayed to as late as 8:30 in the east, FOX’s late games at 4:45 PM ET and SNF likely gets pushed back to 8:50 PM (so NBC can have a full pregame after delayed late games), making problems for NBC stations who have “weekend syndication” programming that must air between 6:00 AM Saturday and 5:59 AM on Monday, possibly causing early Monday local news to have to be pre-empted to fullfill contractual commitments. That also likely played into this.

  16. For what it’s worth, if CBS had the reverse-DH I have 0 doubt that what actually would’ve happened (precisely because of the reasons you state) is that the regular primetime lineup would’ve aired directly out of the late games on a market-by-market basis, just as they do now in ET/CT markets with late singleheaders.

    Of course, what that also does is mean you’ve effectively diluted one of the eight allocated CBS doubleheaders, because it no longer stands alone as the clean run into primetime. And that matters a lot in terms of contractual fairness – FOX effectively steals half a doubleheader boost from CBS in the reverse-DH scenario. I think that might be the big reason for it.

    (Your point about local officials not wanting a bonus night game is not a bad shout either. Is the Sunday before Thanksgiving a particularly busy one in terms of travel/shopping?)

  17. Points taken, but I’m sure FOX would have preferred keeping DAL-NE and GB-SF even if for one time only it had it’s DH slot at 1:00 and the late slot games on both CBS and FOX. The NFL could have compensated FOX by having for the rest of this season and all of next all time slots they are supposed to have a game be such plus perhaps have one additional “double-doubleheader” next season (CBS losing a DH in this) for forcing its “protected” DH slot to be at 1:00 instead of 4:25 for one week.

    If it were any owners OTHER than Jones and Kraft, I would say otherwise, but I think they likely if this was possible howled and looked at it as “an insult” to them personally and refused to move that game, forcing the NFL to make other moves.

    And the part about local officials is the concern of mainly drunk drivers, who likely are more inebriated following a 4:30 game than a 1:00 PM game. Expanded holiday hours at stores in most places only starts the following week.

  18. The NFL did something that made sense! First time for everything.

    I think the Week 16 Saturday triple header selection essentially says Chiefs-Bears will remain on SNF unless the Bears are truly remarkably awful the rest of the way – the remaining Sunday afternoon schedule that week is a vast wasteland, with Cowboys-Eagles thrown in to anchor FOX’s doubleheader.

    Would also lean toward Vikings-Chargers remaining on SNF in Week 15, although the Steelers’ surge the last few weeks makes Buffalo-Pittsburgh seem a lot more plausible than it did a few weeks ago.

    Not SNF-related, but will also guess that 49ers-Ravens gets crossflexed to be CBS’s doubleaheader anchor at 4:25 in Week 13 and Browns-Steelers gets shifted to 1:00.

  19. Is there a good chance that Raiders at Chiefs could be flexed to SNF replacing Patriots at Texans due to who will be first place in the AFC West?

  20. Walt:

    The NFL had no issues in moving Giants-Cardinals and Lions-Bucs in 1987 to 4:00, even though it would have upset not only CBS’s news division, but also likely would have caused older viewers to complain to the FCC over that. I believe the situation with Giants-Cardinals and Lions-Bucs in 1987 goes back to when 7:00-8:00 on Sundays was restricted to news and/or children’s programming, but the NFL was forced to do this.

    If either the Giants-Cardinals or Lions-Bucs game had went to overtime, you would have had a lot of people complaining to the FCC, so much that the FCC could have challenged CBS’s licence no?

  21. Well in 2011 Colts got flexed out. in 2013 the NY Giants and Ravens got flexed out and Packers got flexed out twice. in 2015 the Steelers got flexed out and the Ravens got flexed out twice as well. Last Year The Rams, Jaguars, Seahawks and Raiders got flexed out. and the 49ers and Steelers got flexed out twice. And Now The Philadelphia Eagles got flexed out for the first time ever. Could The Miinesota Vikings be next to be flexed out.

  22. Well in 2011 Colts got flexed out. in 2013 the NY Giants and Ravens got flexed out and Packers got flexed out twice. in 2015 the Steelers got flexed out and the Ravens got flexed out twice as well. Last Year The Rams, Jaguars, Seahawks and Raiders got flexed out. and the 49ers and Steelers got flexed out twice. And Now The Philadelphia Eagles got flexed out for the first time ever. Could The Minnesota Vikings be next to be flexed out.

  23. Sorry But I Will Not Watch Packers 49ers. Becuase i’m not of fan of either team because i’m sick of the Packers. Because they have too many Star Players to Attract I will watch something else Next Sunday Night.

  24. What I now think happens is this:

    Week 16: The NFL moves Cowboys-Eagles to SNF (even using a “protection override” if necessary) to give the Eagles back the prime time game they lost due to keeping SEA-PHI on SNF in this case creating a TON of unintended consequences by reversing the DH that could have gone as far as FCC complaints against CBS because of 60 Minutes having to air in the afternoon on the east coast due to the SH game in most of the country pushed back to 4:25 due to Cowboys-Pats being the main DH game at 1:00. I suspect The NFL knows they. Especially if the Bears continue to falter, I can see the NFL doing this to placate certain Eagles fans who are upset about the move to 1:00 PM (even though most Eagles fans actually WANTED this game flexed out because they think it helps the Eagles).

    Week 17: As long as the Seahawks and 49ers are within a game AND the winner wins the NFC West OR it’s a scenario where the #1 seed is in play for the 49ers and a WC for the Seahawks, THAT is the SNF Finale.

    This long-term might also make for the where the NFL has if a situation like this ever comes up again being allowed to move a game from Sunday Night Football to Monday Night Football, especially if the scheduled MNF game is on the west coast (as it is in week 12 with with BAL-LAR) where in that scenario, ESPN is granted an extra game with if that had been done here SEA-PHI being Game 1 at 7:00 PM (so the Seahawks can’t moan about a 10:00 AM local kickoff) and BAL-LAR is Game 2 at 10:20. People in Baltimore might have been upset about MNF becoming a late finish (around 1:30 AM ET) in that scenario but that is a lesser evil IMO. I would have worked out deals here that would have allowed ESPN to take SEA-PHI as an extra Monday night game with Week 12 for this year only becoming a DH.

  25. Hello all,

    Here’s my comments about Weeks 13 through 17, which happens to be during the main period for Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling. I will have my final comments about Week 13 after Monday Night Football.

    Week 13:

    Tentative game is:

    NE(8-1) @ Hou(6-3) <— this game has much improved its chances of staying put with Houston winning Week 9 against the Jaguars and New England losing against the Ravens in Week 9. Both had a bye in Week 10.

    My current preferences are these:

    #1 – SF(8-1) @ Ravens(7-2) <—looks to be a great game
    #2 – NE(8-1) @ Hou(6-3) <— the tentative, but Houston has only beaten New England once, in 2009, in a game that meant nothing to the Patriots
    #3 – Oak(5-4) @ KC(6-4) <—for the AFC West lead amazingly enough
    #4 – Tenn(5-5) @ Ind(5-4) <—an important AFC South matchup

    Week 14:

    My current preferences are these:

    #1 – SF(8-1) @ NO(7-2)
    #2 – KC(6-4) @ NE(8-1) <–with Mahomes back, it could be a classic
    #3 – Balt(7-2) @ Buff(6-3) <—we'll see if Buffalo is for real in this game. Losing to Cleveland last week took some luster off of the Bills
    #4 – Sea(8-2) @ LA Rams(5-4) <—the tentative and they had a great game earlier, but could be uncompetitive this time
    #5 – Tenn(5-5) @ Oak(5-4)

    Week 15:

    Tentative game is:

    Minn(7-3) @ LA Chargers(4-6) back to lopsided, as the Vikings won and the Chargers lost last week

    Other options are Seahawks(8-2) @ Panthers(5-4), Rams(5-4) @ Cowboys(5-4), Bills(6-3) @ Steelers(5-4), & Texans(6-3) @ Titans(5-5)

    Week 16:

    Tentative game is: KC(6-4) @ Chi(4-5) <–improved its chances with a KC loss and Chi win last week and to think, at one time, we called this a potential Super Bowl matchup…lol

    The choices for the Week 16 Saturday games are: Rams(5-4) @ 49ers(8-1), Bills(6-3) @ Patriots(8-1), & Texans(6-3) @ Buccaneers(3-6)

    Other options are Cowboys(5-4) @ Eagles(4-4), Saints(7-2) @ Titans(5-5), & Panthers(5-4) @ Colts(5-4)

    Week 17:

    Saints(7-2) @ Panthers(5-4), 49ers(8-1) @ Seahawks(8-2) <—the current frontrunner, Titans(5-5) @ Texans(6-3) , & Steelers(5-4) @ Ravens(7-2) are the only 4 matchups worth anything at the moment.

    Go Pack Go this coming Sunday during their bye week. 😉


  26. Hey Jeff Like You Said Vikings Chargers Game Is Lopsided And I Found Out That The Chargers Did Lose To The Raiders Last Thursday. And I Said This past Monday The Raiders Are 5-4 The Chargers are Now 4-6. If The Chiefs Do Win On Monday Night Vikings Chargers Could Get Flexed Out in 2 weeks.

  27. I think they’re gonna give Bills Steelers the nod week 15, Bears Packers not too far behind, and the dark horse being Jags Raiders if it matters.

  28. There were comments elsewhere now that NBC may want the CLE-PIT rematch in Week 13 for SNF because of everything that happened on Thursday. I seriously doubt that happens, especially since if Robert Kraft as I think demanded the NFL NOT move DAL-NE from 4:25 PM in Week 12 (causing SEA-PHI to be flexed out), he certainly likely will demand the NFL keep NE-HOU on SNF in Week 13. Not that it matters, especially since that game is guaranteed to matter for the AFC South and #1 AFC seed.

  29. Ugh, I just saw this whole “Raiders-Jets to primetime” mess and now I’m wondering if this is part of why Walt could never be convinced that the NFL would never have considered the notion of a reverse DH to begin with, even though moving Raiders-Jets to primetime was too ridiculous even for him. I have to imagine Bill was either lying to get attention or troll everyone here, is mentally disturbed, his friend was lying to troll him and everyone here, or his friend badly misinterpreted something he heard. But the last thing we need is someone encouraging Walt and his ridiculous, out-there ideas of what happens inside the NFL offices, which I’m starting to think he engages in because he wants them to be true and wants the schedule decisions to be more interesting than they actually are.

  30. Yeah I’m sorry about this mess Morgan I talked to my friend about it and he said it was a big misunderstanding

  31. Morgan:

    Bill did go way beyond any predictions I would.

    As said, what I suspect may happen in future TV deals is the NFL is allowed in certain circumstances to shift a game from Sunday Night Football to Monday Night Football in the event you have a situation like this ever come up again. What I failed to realize was the effect of all (but one or two) of the CBS SH games being moved to most likely 4:25 (with GB-SF and other regional games on FOX at 4:45) forcing CBS except on the west coast and where a station is airing a “purgatory” 1:00 PM game to air 60 Minutes at 3:00 PM ET/2:00 PM CT. As noted, that is the ONE show that has viewers that would complain to the FCC, as most of those viewers date back to the old restrictions that required news or children’s programming between 7:00-8:00 PM ET on Sundays (one reason the NFL until 1998 had to start the late games at 4:00 PM and for a long time even playoff games no later than then due to religious groups who often associated pro sports with gambling who would complain in those days to the FCC if a sporting event aired on an over-the-air network as scheduled then as they had much greater say at that time). Those viewers can be quite vocal and many of them don’t care about sports at all and for them, “60” is still appointment viewing. If it had been CBS with a reverse DH, it likely is not the issue because “60” would simply air after football, but because it was FOX, that was where the problem laid because of what CBS would have been put in.

  32. Walt, I believe the NFL has had playoff games start at 5:00 eastern in the 80s, despite the old restrictions that required news or children’s programming between 7:00-8:00 PM ET on Sundays(the 49ers-Cowboys game in 81 being one example). I don’t think there too many complaints to the FCC about that game, no?

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