In two weeks, the Seattle Seahawks will host the Los Angeles Rams in a game which will almost certainly decide who wins the NFC West. As a matter of fact, should Seattle lose this weekend to the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Rams defeat the Philadelphia Eagles, the Rams would be in position to win the division at Seattle.
You would figure that a high stakes game would be great flex scheduling material, and that the NFL would move it from it’s 1:05 PM PT slot on FOX to Sunday Night Football. Well that won’t be happening, because the Dallas Cowboys and Oakland Raiders are still in the playoff hunt, so America’s Team isn’t getting the boot from primetime.
The only change to the week 15 schedule is the Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars will be moved from CBS to FOX, but everything else stays in place.
UPDATE: Final NFL schedule for Week 15— Randall Liu (@RLiuNFL) December 4, 2017
No changes to Sunday Night Football (DAL at OAK)
HOU at JAX cross-flexed to FOX (stays at 1:00 PM ET) pic.twitter.com/FcRHCbcnOX
That means that the Seahawks will not have any primetime games for the rest of the regular season, although if they make the playoffs, they still can find themselves in an evening timeslot in either the wild card or divisional round.
From a ratings standpoint, as much as I want to be upset about it, this was always going to happen for as long as at least the Cowboys were still in the playoff picture. Had they lost to Washington last week, we could’ve seem LAR-SEA moved in. Dallas is still breathing, but they’ve been given their last rites, and are absolutely cooked if they suffer an upset loss to the New York Giants this weekend. The Oakland Raiders have found themselves in a three-way tie for first-place in the AFC West, so that also didn’t help the chances for the Rams and Seahawks. In fact, Oakland could have sole possession of first-place if they beat the Chiefs this weekend and the Chargers lose to Washington.
It’s also a bit of a bummer for the Rams, whose literal only appearance on NBC’s Sunday Night Football occurred in week 17 of the 2010 season, when the NFL actually flexed 7-8 St. Louis and 6-9 Seattle into primetime because it was the only game on the schedule with “winner is in, loser is out” implications.
Rams at Seahawks being at 1:05 PM PT on FOX means that it’s the singleheader game, and will be going against the titanic New England Patriots-Pittsburgh Steelers showdown on CBS. FOX’s lead game at 10 AM PT that week is the Green Bay Packers at Carolina Panthers, which could mark the return of Aaron Rodgers. In essence, Los Angeles at Seattle is not going to have a particularly high market distribution, which is a shame, because it is at least the second-best game of the entire weekend, and certainly better than Cowboys-Raiders.