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Monday, December 10, 2012
Thoughts on 49ers-Seahawks in prime time

By Mike Sando

The San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks are headed for prime time in Week 16.

As suspected, the NFL and NBC targeted the Week 16 game between the teams for showcasing on Sunday night. That means the game between the San Diego Chargers and New York Jets will move from prime time on NBC to a 1 p.m. ET kickoff on CBS. The 49ers and Seahawks, previously scheduled to play at 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox, are now set for 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC.

The NFL also moved the New York Giants-Baltimore Ravens game from an early kickoff into the 4:25 p.m. ET slot, replacing the 49ers and Seahawks. Fox will carry that game.

The 49ers and Seahawks already played in prime time this season. San Francisco scored a 13-6 victory at Candlestick Park on NFL Network in Week 7. Flexing the Week 16 game between the teams will give San Francisco six prime-time games this season, the most rules allow a single team to play.

The 49ers are 4-0 in prime time. They allowed 35 points in those games. They beat Detroit, Seattle and Chicago at home. They also won at Arizona.

The prime-time challenge grows for San Francisco over the next two weeks. The 49ers visit New England on Sunday night in Week 15. The Patriots have a 39-2 home record in Tom Brady's last 41 regular-season home starts. Arizona is the only team to beat New England at Gillette Stadium this season. Seattle is 6-0 at home and coming off a 58-0 victory over the Cardinals.

Seattle and San Francisco provide an obvious prime-time upgrade over the Chargers and Jets. NBC's options for flexing games were limited, however. Fox had exercised its right to protect the Giants-Ravens game from flexing. CBS had done the same for the Cincinnati-Pittsburgh game. That left New Orleans-Dallas, Minnesota-Houston and St. Louis-Tampa Bay as remaining games that could feature two teams with playoff hopes at that point in the season.