The Cardinals have made it through their “Sunday Night Football” gauntlet of two weeks running. They have at least one more primetime game — their next home game is on “Thursday Night Football” against the Minnesota Vikings. But that might not be the only one. Their games down the stretch might mean something. Whether those games will be free to flex is another story.
As of right now, the game that would make the most sense to flex to “Sunday Night Football” would be the Dec. 27 home game against the Green Bay Packers. Two good teams, likely with something on the line as the Packers battle the Vikings for the NFC North title and with both teams possibly fighting for a first-round bye. Meanwhile, the scheduled “Sunday Night Football” game is Pittsburgh at Baltimore, normally a lock to stay there with such a great rivalry. But the Ravens have lost quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Justin Forsett, wide receiver Steve Smith and linebacker Terrell Suggs all with season-ending injuries. They are struggling anyway. It’s not going to be the same.
Even if Cardinals-Packers makes sense, though, it’s far from a guarantee, because Fox has the ability to protect a game that week and Cards-Pack would seem a natural one to keep. It has national interest, and it’s a good game. The Panthers play the Falcons that week, so it might be worthy of Fox’s protection too — in fact, whichever one Fox doesn’t protect becomes a strong candidate to be flexed. (The Patriots play the Jets that week, but the Jets are fading fast.)
As for Week 17, which doesn’t have a named “Sunday Night Football” matchup — NBC gets to pick a game with playoff implications — the Cardinals and Seahawks is possible, but I’m guessing the NFC West will have been determined by then and there will be other games that mean more (Washington-Dallas? Minnesota-Green Bay? Philly-Giants?)
Tags: Falcons, Flex scheduling, FOX, Packers, Pathers, Ravens, Steelers, Sunday Night Football, Vikings
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The NFL announced Tuesday the kickoff for the Cardinals game at Tennessee Nov. 29 has been moved into the late TV slot, meaning instead of an 11 a.m. kickoff in Arizona, it will be at 2:15 p.m. Arizona time (3:15 p.m. Tennessee time). That game joins Chicago at Minnesota as the only late games on the schedule that week, since three games will be played on Thanksgiving Thursday: Green Bay at Detroit, Oakland at Dallas, Giants at Denver. The Sunday night game that week remains Pittsburgh at Baltimore.
Tags: Flex scheduling, schedule, Titans
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Here’s one benefit of the Cards’ big win on “Sunday Night Football” in New York: It could earn them another NBC appearance.
Right now, NBC doesn’t have the Vikings on their schedule and are missing out on the Brett Favre gravy train (however irritating that may sound to some). The Vikings come to University of Phoenix Stadium Dec. 6 in what could be a perfect opportunity to flex out of the current Patriots-Dolphins game that night (NBC can’t start flexing games until the week of Nov. 22). Now, the Dolphins could get hot and that AFC game could still be attractive. Or the Vikings — or Cards — could hit a bump and not look as good by then. But it is possible. Fox and CBS can “protect” games from being flexed, but those week-by-week choices have already been made and Fox didn’t touch Cardinals-Vikings.
Tags: Flex scheduling, NBC, Sunday Night Football, Vikings
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