Despite all the elements of a NFC showdown between two division leaders, the Rams’ Week 12 Coliseum encounter with New Orleans on Sunday, Nov. 26, will remain a 1:05 p.m. kickoff as the NFL and NBC decided Tuesday not to enact the “flex rule” trigger that could have moved it into a prime-time national matchup.
A league source indicated NBC will stay with its previously scheduled matchup of 5-4 Green Bay at 7-2 Pittsburgh, which may involve two of the NFL’s marquee franchises, but it has lost some luster with the season-ending injury to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Packers’ win at Chicago last week helped solidify its value to NBC.
Tuesday is the deadline for the NFL to decide a Week 12 schedule change after consulting with Fox, CBS and NBC. Kickoff changes can not come later than 12 days prior to the game, or six days prior in Week 17. The NFL has not officially announced this decision.
A change occurring like this isn’t as simple as taking a game involving teams with better records.
Starting with Week 11, CBS and Fox can protect one game from flex scheduling in five of the following six weeks. No games can be protected in Week 17.
Fox, for example, might want to protect the Rams when they are involved in another potential flex game in Week 14 as they face Philadelphia at the Coliseum. It is currently is set up as a Fox national afternoon broadcast in the 1:25 p.m. window. NBC currently has Baltimore-Pittsburgh that night.
The Rams-Seattle 1 p.m. game in Seattle during Week 15 is also considered a logical flex candidate.
The Rams have not played in a Sunday Night Football national game since moving back to Los Angeles, only a Monday Night contest in San Francisco to open the 2016 season.
In 2006, the NFL started a “flexible schedule” element to its Sunday prime-time games covering Weeks 10 through 15, and Week 17. In 2014, that was extended between Weeks 5 and 17, but only two games could be flexed into Sunday nights from Week 5 to…