The NFL unveiled the 2014 regular season schedule, and the 49ers were slotted into four primetime games. They will appear on NBC's Sunday Night Football Week 2 vs. the Chicago Bears and Week 7 at the Denver Broncos. They will appear on ESPN's Monday Night Football Week 6 on the road against the St. Louis Rams. Finally, they will appear on NBC's primetime game Thanksgiving evening at home against the Seattle Seahawks.
That leaves room for some potential flexing, but as I look at the Sunday Night Football schedule, there is nothing that jumps out enough to potentially justify a switch. For those who don't know about flexing, it basically means the NFL can switch out the Sunday Night Football contest for a regular Sunday game that has more appeal. In order to make that switch, they have to do it a couple weeks in advance. Normally it's just allowed during Weeks 11-16, but this year, the NFL announced that games in Weeks 5-10 can be flexed. The one limitation is that they can only flex two games during that stretch.
Here is a look at the 49ers schedule for Weeks 5-16, and then what the Sunday Night Football schedule looks like for each week:
|5||vs. Chiefs||Bengals @ Patriots|
|6||@ Rams (MNF)||Giants @ Eagles|
|7||@ Broncos||49ers game|
|9||vs. Rams||Ravens @ Steelers|
|10||@ Saints||Bears @ Packers|
|11||@ Giants||Patriots @ Colts|
|12||vs. Washington||Cowboys @ Giants|
|13||vs. Seahawks (Turkey)||Broncos @ Chiefs|
|14||@ Raiders||Patriots @ Chargers|
|15||@ Seahawks||Cowboys @ Eagles|
|16||vs. Chargers (Sat)||Seahawks @ Cardinals|
In looking through this schedule, there are not many options as things currently stand. The most likely scenario would be Week 5 when the 49ers host the Chiefs, but that SNF game includes the Patriots. If the Bengals are looking remotely decent, I don't see how it gets flexed out.
Of course, that's the rub when it comes to flexing. These SNF matchups look like interesting right now, but odds are pretty good one or more of these teams will not be playing particularly well when their Sunday Night Football matchup rolls around. Teams regress, teams improve. It's impossible to tell for certain. I'm not holding my breath right now, but who knows what the fall will bring.
Do any of the SNF matchups jump out as potentially not as good six or seven months from now?