Now that we are halfway through the NFL season, the league is starting to consider its options for flexing quality matchups into Sunday Night Football. The league's television deals allow for flex scheduling on SNF in Weeks 11 through 17. Flexing of games for Weeks 11 through 16 can be done no later than 12 days prior.
The NFL announced today that for Week 11, they will flex Kansas City Chiefs-Denver Broncos into Sunday Night Football from its current 1:05 p.m. PT start. The previous SNF matchup was Green Bay Packers-New York Giants. Given the Giants struggles, the flexing is not a surprise. Packers-Giants moves to 1:25 p.m. PT.
Our San Francisco 49ers travel to the Superdome to face the New Orleans Saints that Sunday. The game is currently scheduled for 1:25 p.m. PT. Barring any drastic changes, I have to think 49ers-Saints will get the national coverage over Packers-Giants. While Packers-Giants has that east coast appeal, barring something crazy happening to one of these four teams, 49ers-Saints would appear to be the clear cut better matchup.
I bring this up because the 49ers are in a run of non-nationally televised games. The 49ers first five games were either in prime time or the "national game" on FOX or CBS. Since then, the 49ers have played three straight games with significantly less coverage. Next week the 49ers play host to the Carolina Panthers, and while it will get some national play (it looks like it will air here in DC), I don't believe it will be a "national game" on FOX.
Looking at the rest of the 49ers schedule, the Saints game should be the FOX "national game", and there is suddenly a good chance that Week 14 Seahawks-49ers gets flexed to Sunday Night Football. The current SNF matchup is Falcons-Packers. At the beginning of the year, nobody thought that would be flexed. Now, it seems like an easy choice given the potential implications of 49ers-Seahawks.