Friday, November 1, 2013
Giants-Packers 'flexed' out of prime time
By Dan Graziano ESPN.com
The New York Giants' Nov. 17 home game against the Green Bay Packers, originally scheduled as an 8:30 p.m. ET game on NBC, will instead be played at 4:25 p.m. ET and air on Fox.
Adjust your tailgate plans accordingly.
Apparently, the Giants' 2-6 start to the season has left their game against the Packers less desirable as NBC's weekly national game than the one between the Broncos and the Chiefs, which will replace it. The Chiefs are the only remaining undefeated team in the league at 8-0, and the Broncos are 7-1. At the absolute worst, those teams will be 8-1 and 7-2, respectively, when they meet in Denver for that Week 11 AFC West matchup.
The decision is still something of a surprise, though, since the Giants and Packers are both traditionally teams that draw national interest and strong prime-time ratings. But the best the Giants will be on that date is 3-6, and part of the point of the league's flex scheduling plan with NBC and the other networks is to highlight games with postseason implications.
It's also interesting because the Chiefs-Broncos game was originally "protected" by CBS under the rule that allows networks to prevent their marquee games from being swiped by NBC on late-season Sundays. But after a request by the NFL, which pointed out that CBS didn't have a fully national window for that game in the late-afternoon Sunday time slot that week, CBS agreed to allow NBC to take the game. Fox gets Giants-Packers because they're both NFC teams.
Unclear about what CBS got in return for the accommodation, but Giants fans should stay tuned. The Giants have another scheduled Sunday night game against the Redskins in Washington two weeks later. There's another Chiefs-Broncos game that day, currently scheduled for 1 p.m. ET on CBS. But because six teams play Thursday that week (because it's Thanksgiving) and because Saints-Seahawks is the Monday Night Football game that week, there aren't many strong candidates to replace Giants-Redskins on Sunday night. Bengals-Chargers is the only one besides Chiefs-Broncos that looks like a winner that Sunday.