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.
Week 14 (December 11):
- Selected game: Miami @ LA Chargers. See the update to my Last-Minute Remarks post. This was announced very late in the day on Tuesday, suggesting there was a lot of negotiation over whether Fox would relinquish Eagles-Giants, and it was starting to look like if NBC couldn’t have Eagles-Giants they’d rather stick with Chiefs-Broncos than take Dolphins-Chargers. Some people on the 506sports Discord suggested if Chiefs-Broncos stayed put it indicated Mahomes was a “Cowboys-level” draw, but I think it would have said more that Mahomes was a bigger draw than Dolphins-Chargers specifically, even though the latter game has two playoff contenders and an attractive quarterback matchup, and might have legitimately started the league down the path towards #LARaidersVegasChargers.
With the Saturday and Sunday night games due to be announced near-simultaneously, I’m going to experiment with a potential format change for next season, depending on how flexible scheduling, especially with its expansion to Monday nights, works.
Week 15 (December 17-18):
- Tentative SNF game: New England (6-5) @ Las Vegas (4-7). Apparently if this game were to be flexed out, it would force the Las Vegas Bowl the previous day into an afternoon timeslot, but considering that even before the season these teams were only expected to be around .500, it seems like it would have been a better choice for a Monday night game than Sunday night.
- Tentative CBS 4:25 game: Cincinnati (7-4) @ Tampa Bay (5-6).
- 3 of these games to be moved to Saturday on NFL Network: Dolphins (8-3)-Bills (8-3), Ravens (7-4)-Browns (4-7), Colts (4-7-1)-Vikings (9-2), Falcons (5-7)-Saints (4-8), Giants (7-4)-Riveras (7-5).
- Likely protections: Probably Titans-Chargers (CBS) and Cowboys-Jaguars, Eagles-Bears, or nothing (FOX).
- Other notable games: Titans-Chargers is the only game stuck on Sunday with two teams over .500, and besides potentially being protected having the Chargers flexed in a second time fully maxes them out on primetime appearances even if Rams-Chargers is flexed out later. Cowboys-Jaguars and Lions-Jets are technically dark horses but there’s no real reason to flex Patriots-Raiders out for them.
- Analysis: I should mention that I was ridiculed on the 506sports Discord for daring to suggest that CBS might have protected Titans-Chargers over Bengals-Bucs at all, let alone that they “probably” did so, but I don’t think we’d have been hearing about a potential Saturday game moving to Sunday night these last few weeks if Titans-Chargers were available (though all the factors leading to Dolphins-Chargers being flexed in the previous week suggests the league may have felt that was a more important Chargers game to flex in than the Titans). My view is that putting a potential Saturday game on Sunday night is only really worth it if the worst game going to NFLN would still be better than putting the Raiders on; NBC’s rights fees are more valuable to the league than games on NFL Network, but there’s still a question of whether the overall set of games getting national exposure is a net positive, and the Raiders getting overtime wins the last two weeks, the last one against a playoff contender in the place with possibly the biggest home field advantage in the NFL, suggests Patriots-Raiders might not be the disaster it was looking like earlier in the year; the Raiders currently have identical records to the Browns and Colts, and if they knock off the Chargers this week I think they stay put. If they do get flexed out it’s not clear to me whether it would be Dolphins-Bills or Giants-Riveras getting the nod; Dolphins-Bills is a game better on both sides, but you know, NFC East. Meanwhile it’s no longer clear to me that Colts-Vikings would move to Saturday even with a Sunday night flex-out, given the comparable record to the Browns, the potential NFC South implications with Falcons-Saints, and the general displeasure they induced at their performance Monday night. If they drop another turd against the Cowboys, look for them to stay on Sunday afternoon.Apparently, according to someone on the 506sports Discord, any decision on Saturday games needs to be made by Monday by analogy to the 12-day rule for Sunday night flexes, but the NFL may really want to see if the Saints beat the Bucs, which is probably necessary for Falcons-Saints to move to Saturday. Conversely, if the Bucs win, whether or not I’m right about CBS’ protection becomes relevant because Bengals-Bucs would be a very viable flex candidate, if CBS is willing to switch to Titans-Chargers as its main feature game. I know I said on the revised Last-Minute Remarks post that I wasn’t going to make another one of those on Sunday night, but I probably will this time given the tight deadline for Saturday flexes. (Look for the possibility of the league announcing Saturday games conditional on the Monday night game, something they’ve done for Sunday night games in the past.)
Week 17 (January 1):
- Tentative game: LA Rams @ LA Chargers
- Prospects: Effectively flexed out already with the Chargers now maxed out on primetime appearances without it. The Rams’ surprisingly woeful season has sealed its fate.
- Likely protections: Vikings-Packers (CBS) and Saints-Eagles, Jets-Seahawks, or nothing (FOX).
- Other possible games: Jets-Seahawks has lost a lot of luster in recent weeks, but it’s a quintessential “play your way into primetime” game and being pinned to the late slot of the singleheader 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, Steelers-Ravens, Browns-Maroons, and Niners-Raiders 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 (another reason, incidentally, for Fox not to want to relinquish Eagles-Giants), Cowboys-NotIndians.
48 thoughts on “Sunday Night Football Flex Scheduling Watch: Week 12”
Week 14: Dolphins-Chargers WAS flexed into SNF after all. This game was originally the favorite to be flexed in. It’s possible the NFL had to wait because they didn’t want to have to flex out Rams-Chargers now (that game now MUST be flexed out because the Chargers are maxed out on appearances since they also have Monday 12/26 in Indy against the Colts). It’s possible this was the game they intended to flex in all along, but they had to make sure they could move Rams-Chargers to 1:05 PM local time as that game is on New Year’s Day and it’s possible they might not have been able to get personnel to move up to the earlier time slot, especially given many likely had New Year’s plans already in place.
I think Eagles-Giants, even though unprotected by FOX was not flexed in was ultimately because the Giants owners (the Mara and Tisch families) likely feared that would have led to an Eagles takeover of Met Life Stadium with Eagles fans buying up the tickets from Giants season ticket holders who notoriously won’t go to night games.
Week 15: Pats-Raiders on the surface still appears to be on really shaky ground, but the Raiders are 4-7 and if they win this Sunday it may be enough to keep this game on SNF.
What also may keep Pats-Raiders on SNF is The Las Vegas Bowl. That game is scheduled to be in primetime on ABC the night before at Allegiant 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. There is a contingency plan in place to move the Las Vegas Bowl game to Saturday afternoon (12/17) on ESPN with the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque moved to ABC in prime time that night if Pats-Raiders is moved, however, I’m sure execs at Disney are lobbying the NFL to NOT do that or if they have to move Pats-Raiders off SNF, move that game to an 11:30 PM ET Sunday kickoff on NFL Network in place of the 1:00 PM ET Saturday game. I’m sure advertisers want the Las Vegas Bowl to be Saturday night on ABC and NOT the New Mexico Bowl because the Las Vegas Bowl plays better with advertisers, and some of them might also ask the NFL NOT to make Pats-Raiders an afternoon game. If Pats-Raiders did move to an 11:30 PM ET Sunday game, it likely would be in place of the 1:00 PM ET Saturday game NFL Network is scheduled to air and only two of the five games under consideration for Saturday would take place then with at least two moved back to FOX/CBS. In this scenario, what I think happens is this as I suspect the NFL will be under pressure from Disney executives and Las Vegas Bowl officials to NOT make Pats-Raiders an afternoon game:
Falcons-Saints: Saturday 4:30 PM ET on NFL Network
Ravens-Browns: Saturday 8:15 PM ET on NFL Network
Dolphins-Bills: Becomes FOX’s main Sunday game
Colts-Vikings: Moved to CBS.
Giants-Commanders: Sunday 8:20 PM ET on NBC
Pats-Raiders: Sunday 11:45 PM ET on NFL Network
I think in the end the NFL does this move as I think deep down they would rather have an 11:45 PM ET Sunday game that even if it makes people in the east mad because it would run to 3:00 AM ET Monday or later, as opposed to a 1:00 PM ET Saturday game when many people are out doing activities or shopping. They likely would get a better rating for a late-night Sunday game as opposed to an early afternoon Saturday game.
As for the others, Titans-Chargers CAN NOT be flexed into SNF as with Dolphins-Chargers flexed into Week 14, the Chargers are maxed out on appearances (the Chargers play in Indy against the Colts on Monday Night Football in Week 16). Dolphins-Bills would be a contender for SNF as well but I still believe unless the rule was changed about Thanksgiving games the Bills are maxed out on primetime games and can’t be moved to Saturday OR Sunday night (which unless CBS protected Jets-Bills, which was unlikely after Week 4 when such protections had to be made was likely also why Jets-Bills was not flexed into Week 14 SNF)..
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: We know Rams-Chargers MUST flexed out because the Chargers are maxed out on appearances with their being flexed in to Week 14 agaisnt the Dolphins.
Jets-Seahawks right now looks to be the favorite to be the Sunday night game on New Year’s Night. Dolphins-Patriots is the next most likely for New Year’s Night. Another possibility depending on how much of a trainwreck the NFC South is the game most unlikely to have been flexed into SNF just a few weeks ago: Panthers-Bucs, which could be Tom Brady’s final home game. It’s quite possible 7-10 wins the NFC South (which is why the NFL needs to IMO go to NBA-style playoff seeding that is SOLELY based on record where winning your division ONLY guarantees you a playoff spot), and if the Panthers can be even with the Bucs for the lead in the NFC South when the decision has to be made (with it possible all four teams in that division are 6-8 at that point), that could wind up being the New Year’s NBight game.
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.
Reposted from last thread:
Weeks 13-14 matchups have been decided
Week 15: If Bucs-Bengals is unprotected which it shouldn’t be, it will go to SNF.
If the Saints knock off the Bucs, and Bengals-Bucs is protected, Falcons-Saints goes to SNF
Baltimore-Cleveland goes to SNF if the browns win and above scenarios don’t happen
Colts-Vikings goes to SNF if the colts win and above scenarios don’t happen
My prediction is that Falcons-Saints is week 15 SNF
My prediction for the Saturday games are:
10 AM PT: Ravens-Browns
1:30 PM PT: Fins-Bills
5:15 PM PT: Giants-Commies
Week 16 has no flex
Week 17: The battle for LA will 100% be flexed because the game is bad and the chargers have 7 nationally televised games on their schedule.
Because of the pitiful NFC South, Whichever of Jets-Seahawks or Saints-Eagles gets unprotected, that will be SNF that week
Week 18 games to watch for:
I still think it’s possible because of the Las Vegas Bowl situation that even with the contingency plan noted, I think Disney execs, Las Vegas Bowl officials and ad buyers ALL DO NOT want that game moved and the New Mexico Bowl replacing it on ABC. I’m sure all have made that clear to the NFL. With that noted, what I think happens is we only have two games on Saturday on NFL Network with Falcons-Saints at 4:30 PM ET/1:30 PM PT and Ravens-Browns at 8:15 PM ET/5:15 PM PT with what is supposed to be the 1:00 PM ET/10:00 AM ET game Saturday becoming Pats-Raiders at 11:45 PM ET/8:45 PM PT Sunday on NFL Network after SNF while Giants-Commanders becomes the Sunday night game on NBC. I believe as the Bills are (unless Thanksgiving doesn’t count) maxed out on primetime games as it is, Dolphins-Bills can’t be on Saturday at all OR on Sunday night.
Walt Geeko, The Bills haven’t been flexed in to any games, So if the Bills already we’re over the Maximum than Bills-Dolphins would have never been an option in the 1st place. The Max is 5 primetime games and you can get flexed into a 6th.
The rule is ALL Thursday games count as a flex as far as I know, INCLUDING the Thanksgiving Day games on CBS and FOX. Unless that rule has been changed, Dolphins-Bills never should have been in the mix for Saturday in the first place because Thanksgiving is the sixth game (Week 18 is excluded from such rules), otherwise, Jets-Bills (unless protected by CBS) would have likely been put into Week 14 SNF because while FOX may not have wanted Eagles-Giants moved to SNF, I still think as noted that had more to do with the Giants owners fearing an Eagles takeover of MetLife Stadium with it being 90%+ Eagles fans at MetLife if Giants-Eagles had been moved to SNF knowing Giants season ticket holders won’t go to night games.
What is the rule regarding the scheduling of the game that are tentatively set for Saturday week 15. Can those be flexed to Sunday night? I’m sorry but no way I see the NFL scheduling the pats raiders game for a 11:45pm ET kick off. They would have very few viewers on the east coast. That game is going to be garbage anyways and shouldn’t be the SNF game.
What is the rule regarding the scheduling of the game that are tentatively set for Saturday week 15. Can those be flexed to Sunday night? I’m sorry but no way I see the NFL scheduling the pats raiders game for a 11:45pm ET kick off. They would have very few viewers on the east coast. That game is going to be garbage anyways and shouldn’t be the SNF game.
This weeks coverage maps
Will the Patriots vs Raiders be flexed out? It depends on what happened this Sunday.
I still think Pats-Raiders stays on Sunday night regardless due to the Las Vegas Bowl the day before. To me, the holdup on the Week 15 announcements is that they are:
1. Waiting on the Saints-Bucs game Monday night that could have affects on not just Week 15 but also Week 17 where Rams-Chargers has to be flexed out.
2. Waiting on Chargers-Raiders Sunday because I’m sure Disney execs, ad buyers and Las Vegas Bowl officials have ALL made clear the need the Las Vegas Bowl to be on ABC that Saturday at 7:30 PM ET as scheduled and NOT switched with the New Mexico Bowl (currently scheduled for 2:30 PM ET that Saturday on ESPN). While the contingency plan is in place, I’m sure the NFL doesn’t want to PO a different TV partner having to move around events that would have adverse effects on their TV ratings that have nothing to do with the NFL but are caught up in this.
I think secretly the NFL would rather have an 11:45 PM ET Sunday game as opposed to a 1:00 PM ET Saturday game for reasons already outlined, it’s just simply they don’t want to have the Bob Raissmans and Phil Mushnicks of the world (who are both based in New York) coming down hard on the NFL in their columns for making east coast viewers stay up to 3:00 AM Eastern Time just so people on the west coast can have a prime time game of their own. I suspect an 11:45 PM ET Sunday game would actually do a better number than a 1:00 PM ET Saturday game that is airing opposite numerous college basketball games as well a bowl game that kicks at 11:00 AM ET on ESPN in addition to people not at home because of other activities or Christmas shopping. An 11:45 PM ET Sunday game has none of those distractions and there are many people in the east who work evenings on Sundays who would be able to see most or all of an 11:45 PM ET game on their way and at home after work as most don’t go to bed immediately after getting home from a shift that ends late in the evening. That game also would get extra viewers because it would be the “bailout” game that Vegas and online bookmakers would LOVE because it would get a disproportionate amount of additional handle SOLELY from being at 11:45 PM ET as the last game of the night not only for the NFL but all of North American sports. That is something many don’t consider.
Mike: if the raiders win this week, probably
I meant probably not
Walt, I love you, but please stop saying that pats-raiders is going to move to 11:45pm ET. That would never happen and if it did it probably would’ve been announced months ago. My take is pats-raiders stays on SNF.
Also, for all of you saying the Thanksgiving game counts as primetime and the bills are maxed out – that would essentially mean that the cowboys are never eligible to be flexed into SNF (considering they always get 5 primetime games and their 1 thanksgiving game). I looked into previous years and saw that in 2016, the cowboys were flexed in late in the season. This gave them 4 SNF games, 1 MNF, 1 TNF, and one Thanksgiving game, essentially giving them 7 “primetime” games. Thus, I don’t think this rule is a thing. The bills should be eligible to move to a primetime slot.
I see dolphins-bills being the night game and giants-commanders being the 4:30 game. For the last one:
If the browns win or if the colts are a no-show on Sunday night, I see ravens-browns being the last game. Otherwise, Colts-Vikings will be the last game.
If the falcons and saints both win, this could be the last game as well as the standings will be:
And that game is going to have a ton of importance in the division race. I still think the other two games are most likely.
Also I just want to appreciate how badly the NFL screwed up their Christmas slate! I find it so ironic that back when the schedule was about to be released, and the networks were leaking their “best” games a few days before, CBS chose to leak the broncos-rams game on Christmas and hyped it up. Well, now they’re both 3-8 and still have to play on christmas… The ticket prices for that game have plummeted so much that I might just plan on going because why not.
Buccaneers-Cardinals also is a horrible Christmas nighter. I find it interesting that the NFL put the cardinals and the packers on Christmas two years in a row.
The packers will also be eliminated from the playoffs by then but at least the dolphins are really good.
Christmas eve night is raiders-steelers as well.. I get it’s because of the immaculate reception but that game isn’t attractive at all.
The Monday nighter Chargers-Colts isn’t the best game either.. Though we will be thankful that our week 16 will be filled with lots of football and family, damn these games ended up sucking.
Walts lover: Since the NFL loves gargling the balls of the NFCE, if Giants-Commies isnt SNF, it will be the 8:15 ET game on saturday
Here’s another thing that needs mentioning. The NFL scheduling department botched these late MNF games so badly this year it’s not even funny. Colts-Chargers yuck. Pats-Cardinals…ehhhh basically yuck. Rams-PackersBill’s. Saints-Bucs.. ok fine division game but yuck. The only good Monday night game coming up is Bengals-Bills. Good thing we have flex schedule for MNF next year.
Spencer S: Saints-Bucs is a pivotal game for the NFC south as well
Just Click this link
Unless the NFL officially says otherwise, i believe the Thanksgiving game counted as the Lions lone primetime game (even if it was in the daytime). The last time any team according to the rules as I remember failed to have any primetime games at all was when the Browns and Jaguars, who did play each other in the season it happened (I forget which one) didn’t have any (and that included Thanksgiving). Since then, ALL teams have had at least one such game, which is why I believe ALL Thursday games count as prime time even if played in the daytime on Thanksgiving.
Walt: That year was 2017
And ironically, the Jags got to the AFC Title game that season out of seemingly nowhere after they won the AFC South.
And while yes, the Lions didn’t actually play in prime time this season, they technically DID play a primetime game with the Thanksgiving day game.
Isaiah Little: Yes but still an unattractive game given how awful the NFC south is.
Spencer S: I feel like the NFL would rather have the 5-8 Saints vs the 5-8 falcons on SNF for first place in the NFC South rather than the 7-6 Pats vs the 5-8 Raiders. But this will all be moot if Raiders upset Chargers
Pats Raiders game is still not in the best shape But it could be flexed out but i could be either right or wrong. But will find out Sunday see yah.
Repost from previous thread:
Nice that the KC/Den game was flexed out of SNF in Week 14. SoFi Stadium gets yet another SNF game. That’s very interesting. Though it does likely mean that it loses the Week 17 game.
And nothing yet about Week 15 Saturday games. I guess we’ll get that after this coming Week 13’s games.
As for the rest of things:
Hello NFL SNF Flex Scheduling lovers,
Here’s my take on things after Week 12.
Main Flex period:
#1 – Mia.(8-3) @ Buff.(8-3) <—Saturday in my book
#2 – N.Y.G.(7-4) @ Wash.(7-5) <—Saturday in my book
#3 – Tenn.(7-4) @ L.A.C.(6-5) <—not going to happen now that the Chargers are on SNF in Week 14
Also, 3 of 5 games will move to Saturday and they are:
Mia.(8-3) @ Buff.(8-3) <—certain to move to Saturday, unless the NFL wants to move this to SNF
Balt.(7-4) @ Clev.(4-7) <—the Browns make this not likely to move to Saturday
Ind.(4-7-1) @ Minn.(9-2) <—likely to move to Saturday, as there's no other good 3rd choice
Atl.(5-7) @ N.O.(4-8) <—not likely, in spite of how tight the NFC South is
N.Y.G.(7-4) @ Wash.(7-5) <—because it's big market teams, it's looking like a near certainty to move to Saturday or SNF
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 13 this season.
I see the tentative SNF game of N.E.(6-5) @ L.V.(4-7) keeping the SNF slot.
Week 16 – scheduled game is: T.B.(5-6) @ Ariz.(4-8) <— 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.(3-8) @ L.AC.(6-5) <— getting worse week by week and a great chance to be flexed out…….say 99.9% chance to move (especially with Chargers in Week 14 SNF)
Week 18 – no scheduled SNF game and 2 games moving to Saturday
N.E.(6-5) @ Buff.(8-3) <—can't move to Saturday
N.Y.J.(7-4) @ Mia.(8-3) <—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.(7-4) @ Cin.(7-4) <—can't move to Saturday, but SNF could be a possibility…….
Clev.(4-7) @ Pitt.(4-7) <—not looking like a move to Saturday would be in the cards anyway
Hou.(1-9-1) @ Ind.(4-7-1) <—not a good Saturday game candidate
Tenn.(7-4) @ Jack.(4-7) <—not a good Saturday game candidate
L.A.C.(6-5) @ Den.(3-8) <—not a good Saturday game candidate
K.C.(9-2) @ L.V.(4-7) <—not a good Saturday game candidate
N.Y.G.(7-4) @ Phil.(10-1) <—looking good to be a Saturday game and no longer a good choice for SNF
Dal.(8-3) @ Wash.(7-5) <—starting to gain on potentially moving to Saturday and quickly! or SNF ?
Minn.(9-2) @ Chi.(3-9) <—not a good Saturday game candidate
Det.(4-7) @ G.B.(4-8) <—not a good Saturday game candidate
T.B.(5-6) @ Atl.(5-7) <—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.(4-8) @ N.O.(4-8) <—not a good Saturday game candidate
Ariz.(4-8) @ S.F.(7-4) <—not a good Saturday game candidate
L.A.R.(3-8) @ Sea.(6-5) <—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.
To “Walt’s Lover:”
I think because of the situation with the Las Vegas Bowl, I suspect unless Pats-Raiders stays on SNF, it moves to 11:45 PM ET on NFL Network with the NFL using the excuse of Las Vegas Bowl officials and others making clear they didn’t want their game moved as this is a rare case they could move to 11:45 without getting the wrath of New York sportswriters and others in the east who normally would slam the NFL for that. I still think the NFL secretly would rather have a late Sunday night game over a Saturday afternoon game (they would never admit it because it would anger said sportswriters in New York) because the ratings would be better for 11:45 PM ET Sunday as opposed to 1:00 PM ET Saturday.
The Vegas Bowl has already agreed to have their game moved if necessary. The discussion is over. They may not have to move after all, but the NFL is not going to consider the Vegas Bowl for a tenth of a second in making their decision either way.
You seriously don’t think that east coast sportswriters would unload on the NFL for moving a game involving the Patriots to 11:30 ET? For a mid-level bowl game in a sport that no one on the upper east coast cares about?
Again, if 11:45 Saturday night was a better timeslot than 1:00, FOX would be going all-in on that hour instead of Big Noon.
Jeff: unfortunately I think you’re correct about week 15 and we will be stuck with Pats-Raiders. Unless the NFL saves Giants-Commies for Sunday and moves that to SNF we’re screwed! Can’t put the Chargers in because they’re maxed out. There’s not gonna be a whole lot of good games to select from after the Saturday games get chosen.
They may have agreed to it, but I’m sure Disney execs and ad buyers for the Las Vegas Bowl are lobbying the NFL NOT to force a switch because from a ratings standpoint the Las Vegas Bowl is WAY more attractive than the New Mexico Bowl because of it simply being in VEGAS, EVEN IF IT MEANS Pats-Raiders is moved to an 11:45 PM ET kickoff on Sunday night. If that happens, people in the east (and especially in New England) can moan all they want and slam the NFL for making them stay up to 3:00 AM ET, but there are also huge swaths of the country where college football is MUCH BIGGER than the NFL, and elected officials in those areas (especially in SEC country) might slam the NFL if it forced a game they are involved in to be moved to an “inferior” time slot.
The lesson learned from this is NOT to schedule a game for Sunday night when it could cause another event to have to be moved if such game is flexed out.
Spencer S. Like I said in another comment, if the saints upset the bucs and the raiders lose, they could play the falcons on snf
Isaiah Little: I could sort of see it. Honestly though that’s not a good alternative to the tentative as I don’t see either team making the playoffs. If the raiders pull off the win it’s staying.
But they could. The saints are the Buccaneers kryptonite, and with the 49ers & Bengals not being pushovers, the Bucs will probably be 6-8 or 5-9 by the end of their week 15 game which could make the Saints-Falcons winner first or tied for first in the NFC South. But this will be moot if the raiders win.
“They may have agreed to it, but I’m sure Disney execs and ad buyers for the Las Vegas Bowl are lobbying the NFL NOT to force a switch because from a ratings standpoint the Las Vegas Bowl is WAY more attractive than the New Mexico Bowl because of it simply being in VEGAS,”
And the NFL’s response will be, “Well, too bad, but we have to look out for ourselves first and moving the Raiders game to the afternoon is the right thing to do.”
The Vegas Bowl is a bigger draw because it’s a Pac-12 vs. SEC matchup while the New Mexico Bowl almost always involves the Mountain West against some other G5 team. The site only has anything to do with it insofar as Vegas can presumably attract better conference tie-ins. Otherwise, it’s the same 100-yard field with green grass or turf as every other stadium in every other city big or small, glamorous or not glamorous. On a TV screen it’s irrelevant what city it comes from.
“EVEN IF IT MEANS Pats-Raiders is moved to an 11:45 PM ET kickoff on Sunday night. If that happens, people in the east (and especially in New England) can moan all they want and slam the NFL for making them stay up to 3:00 AM ET, but there are also huge swaths of the country where college football is MUCH BIGGER than the NFL, and elected officials in those areas (especially in SEC country) might slam the NFL if it forced a game they are involved in to be moved to an “inferior” time slot.”
Saturday afternoon is not “inferior” to Saturday or Sunday at 11:30 pm. And even in today’s diseased political climate I think elected officials can find better battles to pick than the start time of a minor bowl game involving the 5th or 6th-place SEC team.
Sorry, but in the TV world, Saturday afternoon is definitely “inferior” to Saturday evening at 7:30 PM ET (scheduled kickoff of whichever game is on ABC) AND 11:30 PM ET Sunday night, much as no one wants to admit it. I still believe secretly the NFL would rather have an 11:30 PM ET Sunday game than a 1:00 PM ET Saturday game but there are still many older sportswriters who would moan along with older fans (especially Pats fans) if they had to stay up to 3:00 AM ET Monday. There is a reason the NFL only uses the Saturday 1:00 PM ET slot now if they have three games, I think the NFL in this situation would rather have had two on Saturday at 4:30 and 8:15 PM ET (after many people in the east are home from activities during the day on Saturday plus after a lot of college basketball) and the third at 11:30 PM ET on Sunday when everyone is home and they also know a lot of people on the east coast WOULD stay up because that game would become the “bailout” game for many as the last event to start on Sunday night (there is a reason Hawai’i football games are extremely popular with bettors, and the Midnight ET start time is the big one). They would never admit that because the Bob Raissmans and Phil Mushnicks of the world who are from an earlier time would come after Godell in unfair ways. Fact is, many more people than people want to admit work odd hours now and would be more likely to be up for an 11:30 PM ET Sunday game.
11:30 PM ET is 8:30 PM PT and that means prime time on the west coast.
And particularly in SEC Country, I can see elected officials looking to score points with voters by pressuring the “big, bad NFL” into allowing the Las Vegas Bowl to stay where it is (as it involves an SEC school), especially since many of those voters are still boycotting the NFL over players taking knees (when that whole mess was really Trump’s personal vendetta against the NFL dating back to 1983 when he tried to buy the Cowboys for a then-record $50 Million and was rebuffed and then his 1986 attempt to force a merger between the NFL and USFL that the USFL actually WON but was only awarded $1 (tripled to $3) in damages). I can think of one Senator in particular who would do that, especially the one who actually was a Head Coach in the SEC years ago. They would use that to score cheap political points.
My predictions for the week 15 Saturday & SNF games are:
Sat 10 AM: Ravens-Browns
Sat 1:30 PM: Falcons-Saints
Sat 5:15 PM: Dolphins-Bills
Isaiah Little: good predictions I actually think that makes the most sense all those games would involve at least one team in playoff contention.
Walt: the president has no impact or say on the NFL operations. Trump had nothing to do with scheduling and neither does the current stuttering moron that’s in there!
You misread what I wrote. I was specifically referring to how Trump was getting on NFL players for kneeling because HIS voters wanted that and it led to many of HIS voters BOYCOTTING the NFL altogether, which many of them STILL DO. There are elected officials who still use the Trump playbook and it’s THOSE officials I refer to, not ANY former or current President. In this case, those elected officials, ESPECIALLY in SEC country where COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS MUCH BIGGER THAN THE NFL would be the ones pressuring the NFL to leave the Las Vegas Bowl alone and if they have to move Pats-Raiders, move it to late night on Sunday no matter how many people in the northeast get upset. If anything, those elected officials would love to force the NFL to do that so they and their voters can “own the libs” (as much of the northeast is perceived to be liberal.
What I was referring to with kneeling was Trump was doing it not because it appeased his voters, but in reality because of a nearly 40-year personal vendetta I noted.
To be honest, Patriots vs Raiders will probably stay. I dont think nfl will take any of the Saturday games, and also with the bowl game implications, I think this one stays.
Definitely will stay Greg……especially since the teams are now 6-6 and 5-7.
Keeping two non playoff teams for Week 15 is not good business. Especially when you have a NY Giants at Washington game for a probable Wild Card spot. Especially after their 20-20 tie today.
That will move to Saturday Blaise.
Jeff: The Giants and Washington are good and fighting for a wildcard spot and the NFL loves the NFC East. That game probably will be SNF week 15 and the Pats-Raiders will be 4:05 pm ET on FOX. Once again, my Saturday and Sunday Night Football predictions are as follows:
1 PM ET: Ravens-Browns
4:30 PM ET: Falcons-Saints
8:15 PM ET: Dolphins-Bills
Sun 8:20 PM ET: Giants-Washington
Final predictions for week 15:
Pats-raiders stays on SNF unless the nfl is willing to move one of the saturday options, but I don’t think that will happen.
1pm Ravens-browns.. colts were a no show in the 4th quarter. Falcons losing makes the saints game less important.
I truly think that dolphins-bills will take the night slot over giants-commanders because that game is simply better. The 4:30pm slot will get enough viewers and will attract the big-market teams in the giants and the commanders.
For week 17:
jets-seahawks got a little better today as the jets offense has been better with mike white and the seahawks won. Looks like the top candidate to move to SNF.
Keep an eye on 49ers-raiders if the raiders keep winning (will very likely beat the rams on Thursday and have a pretty good shot at beating the pats). This did take a bit of a hit today with Brock Purdy starting the rest of the way but if it’s 7-7 vs. 9-5 or 10-4, look for this game to move to SNF. These two are the top flex candidates also because of their 4:05pm timeslot which rams-chargers will be easily plugged into.
Another game to look out for is Saints-Eagles– if the saints are still in NFC south contention and if the eagles could be in play for clinching the #1 seed in this game, it could be a candidate to move to SNF. However, it is likely that FOX protected this one and will have Burkhardt/Olsen on the call.
Look for dolphins-patriots to move to 4:25 and possibly replace vikings-packers as CBS’ feature game (or keep vikings-packers at 4:25 as well and split the national coverage)
For week 18:
Ravens-bengals looks very strong as of now, even with the unknown status of lamar’s injury. If the ravens are tied or one game behind the bengals by the end of week 17, this will go to SNF as it’s for the division. The ravens do have a much easier schedule, however, so if they are one game up on the bengals, it’s likely that they will clinch the division due to the bengals’ poor division record (1-3 currently).
Keep an eye out on chiefs-raiders for Saturday game: if the chiefs are still in contention for the #1 seed and the raiders aren’t eliminated, this might be a lock for Saturday.
Cowboys-Commanders is a similar game but is less likely to move to Saturday because it could have effects on other teams if played before. Same goes for jets-dolphins.
I think the Sunday Night Game for Week 17 will be the Jets vs Seahawks. Saints vs Eagles are a wildcard but I think Fox will protect that game. Patriots vs Raiders for Week 15 will stay on Sunday Night only because both teams are still in the playoff race and can’t be eliminated before.
Hi, Walt’s lover. Even though the Packers beat Chicago bears at Chicago yesterday, 29 to 18 despite they swept Chicago bears this season, I will definitely keep in mind in case Vikings vs. Packers game at Lambeau gets flexed out of 3:25 pm CBS and switch that matchup to noon with crossflex that to Fox. Despite the possibility of that, I predict Vikings vs. Packers game at Lambeau next season could be shown as a game on CBS as a makeup from this season or Sunday night football.
So I am wrong again and I am proud. The Giants vs Commanders game will be played on Sunday Night instead of the Patriots vs Raiders.
Well, looks like the NFL did reserve giants-commanders for Sunday Night. Anyone know why it wasn’t dolphins-bills? Is it because dolphins are on SNF next week and commanders and giants weren’t on at all this season?
IMO pats-raiders is a better game than colts-vikings but the sunday night spot is prime so it makes sense why it got flexed out, we were both wrong, Mike.
Brian, would they not just keep the game on CBS if it’s moved back to 12pm? What game would they crossflex with vikings-packers?
Oh, I was saying that if packers get eliminated from the playoffs this season, I could see the Vikings vs. Packers game at Lambeau week 17 get flexed out of 3:25 pm game on cbs and switch it noon and cross flex that matchup to Fox tv channel. That was my prediction and in my opinion. Jim Nantz and Tony Romo would announce 1 or 2 Packers games on CBS normally at Lambeau Field when GB with Rodgers on a winning record.