“Hey! This isn’t my grocery list! Who stole my grocery list?” Ok, ok, that’s has nothing to do with this post, sorry. My brother and I created the game, “Guess the Flex.” He won, I lost. Actually, I forfeited. Regardless, the Flex Scheduling portion of the NFL program is upon us.
As I’m sure you’re well aware, the NFL retains the right to choose a game for its Sunday night broadcast in the final seven weeks of the season. My brother and decided to make this into our very own competition. As the competition’s director, I failed miserably to make sure my brother (Derek) was informed of the procedures. Therefore, the competition is forfeit and I humbly, and embarrassingly, surrender the 2009 flex crown to my younger brother. Hail the victor.
Nevertheless, the show must go on. Here are Derek’s predictions:
Week 11: San Diego vs. Denver (The comeback against the Giants could be the signal of a tight race in the AFC west down the stretch. Plus these two teams really don’t like each other, which always makes for good football).
Week 12: Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore (Even with the Ravens fading, these games are too good to pass up. The other games to choose from really aren’t worth replacing a good old division slug fest).
Week 13: Minnesota vs. Arizona (This is a toss-up with the already scheduled New England and Miami game. Either one could be chosen, but they can’t pass up the chance for the two oldest qb’s in the game going head to head for NFC supremacy. We know about the Vikings, but when the Cards are on, they are tough to beat.)
Week 14: Denver vs. Indianapolis (I would say San Diego vs. Dallas, but San Diego might be over the prime time threshold. If they aren’t that is my pick. The Eagles vs. Giants is a possibility, but the Giants are in trouble. I don’t think Fox will give up Atlanta vs. New Orleans, so I am left with this one. CBS will fight to keep it, but I think SNF wins out. Two division leaders possibly fighting for the #1 seed in the AFC, that is great stuff right there!)
Week 15: Atlanta vs. Jets (Again if it weren’t for San Diego’s monopoly of prime time games, I would put my money on them against the Bengals. The other games really stink. Because my boys from Carolina are falling faster than Obama’s approval rating, that game will be scrapped, though the Brett Favre love affair might keep it in. This game is simply a possible match-up of two wildcard teams, though I really doubt the Jets stay in the race by week 15.)
Week 16: Denver vs. Philadelphia (You can’t pass up B-dawk’s return trip to Philly in a Broncos uniform. For the first time in history, the Philadelphia Eagles crowd will show an opposing player what “brotherly love” is all about. This might not be possible because of the prime time rule, but it’s another week of bad match-ups.)
Alright. First of all, gracias hermano. Before I include my selections, I must educate my readers on how flex scheduling works. Without completely boring you, it essentially goes like this. Flex scheduling begins in week 11 and goes through the end of the season. The NFL’s broadcast affiliates (CBS and FOX) have the right to protect one game from Sunday Night Football (SNF) every week except week 17. The flex game will be announced twelve days in advance except for week 17 when it will be announced six days before the game. Teams are limited to a maximum of four appearances on SNF throughout the course of the season, and a total of five primetime games across all networks. However, there is an exception for any three teams to make six primetime appearances in a season.
There’s also a division clause in the Flex scheduling structure. To make a long story short, CBS and FOX have the rights to at least one of every two division matchups. For example, the Giants and Cowboys played on SNF in week two. Therefore, their next matchup is guaranteed to FOX. Likewise, the Broncos and Chargers faced off on Monday Night Football (MNF). As a result, their second head to head game is guaranteed to CBS. I can’t find whether CBS or FOX still need to protect these games in order to hold onto them during Flex weeks or not, but I’m going to assume they do not. Ok, that was fun. See how much fun learning is? I feel good now, really good. Maybe this is why my wife is in medical school. Although, if I told her I wanted to discuss the Flex scheduling format, she would stop listening at “flex” and immediately open up a 39 pound book to show me a detailed photograph explaining how the muscles flex. Approximately 14 seconds later, I would get very hot and begin to pass out. This really happens, but I digress. On to my Flex scheduling selections…
Week 11: I really had this one right, I promise. I know you won’t believe me, but it’s true. I predicted that FOX would protect the Falcons@Giants and that CBS would protect the Colts@Ravens game. Chargers@Broncos would not be eligible due to the aforementioned division clause. Therefore, the obvious choice would be the Eagles@Bears.
Week 12: FOX’s slate stinks so they’ll probably protect the Redskins@Eagles. They are already guaranteed the Vikings/Bears game because that same matchup is on MNF a few weeks later. CBS will either protect Colts@Texans or Steelers@Ravens. My Guess is they protect the Pitt@Bal matchup. Therefore Manning and the Colts make their sixth and final primetime appearance.
Week 13: There are four decent games this week and only three are eligible. The Cowboys@Giants is untouchable via the division clause. I think CBS will protect Patriots@Miami. If FOX protects the Vikings@Cardinals, the only other intriguing matchup is Eagles@Falcons. It’ll be one of those two games. FOX likely picks Favre so it’ll be PHI@ATL.
Week 14: Plenty of big time matchups this week. FOX will probably protect the Eagles@Giants because they have the rights to the Saints@Falcons (previous meeting on MNF) and Packers@Bears (previous meeting on SNF). Based on my projections, the Broncos@Colts matchup would be ineligible due to Indianapolis’ maxed out primetime appearances. I wish this weren’t so. The Flex game will depend on who CBS wants more; the Dallas Cowboys or Brett Favre. I hope they choose the Chargers@Cowboys so we all get to see the Bengals@Vikings in primetime. They both deserve the airtime.
Week 15: This week is a wildcard. FOX will protect Packers@Steelers and CBS will protect the Bengals@Chargers. Therefore, SNF will have to choose from the Pu-Pu Platter of Bears@Ravens, 49ers@Eagles, Falcons@Jets, or Vikings@Panthers. I doubt they’ll go Favre two weeks in a row, so assuming they are both still somewhat alive in their respective wildcard chases, I’m guessing the Bears@Ravens.
Week 16: If last week was the Pu-Pu Platter, this week is a Whopper Wednesday smorgasbord (this is a good thing). Unfortunately for FOX, all the good games belong to CBS. FOX will likely protect the Panthers@Giants. CBS will have to choose from Texans@Dolphins, Broncos@Eagles, Jets@Colts, and Ravens@Steelers (not sure if they can protect this game again or not). If CBS can’t protect Ravens@Steelers, I think that’s the game we’ll see on SNF, but only if the Ravens aren’t chosen for week 15. If they are, I think we’ll see either the Texans@Dolphins or Broncos@Eagles. I think it’ll be the Ravens@Steelers. (Broncos@Eagles if Ravens@Steelers is ineligible).
Week 17: All games are eligible. No protection is granted for either network. I couldn’t find whether the division clause still applies in week 17, so I’m going to assume it does not. I think SNF will ultimately choose from three games; Eagles@Cowboys, possibly for the NFC East, Giants@Vikings, with playoff berth or seeding on the line, or Patriots@Texans for playoff positioning and possible wildcard berth for Houston. My money is on Eagles@Cowboys.