The San Francisco 49ers are 8-0 and leading their division. The Green Bay Packers are 7-2 and leading theirs. They play each other on Week 12 at 4:25 PM, November 24. At least, that’s what the schedule says now. The NFL has until November 11 to decide if the Packers and 49ers are to be on Sunday Night Football.
We’ve already talked about the possibility of the NFL flexing this game and a lot of that decision could come this weekend. The Packers looked awful against a struggling Los Angeles Chargers team last week. So awful, they were destroyed 26-11. This week they have the Carolina Panthers before heading into a bye. Depending on how they do against the Panthers, they could enter their by neck and neck with the Minnesota Vikings for control of the NFC North.
Meanwhile, the 49ers embark on the most brutal second half of a schedule. First, they have the Seahawks coming to town, then the Cardinals, before they meet the Packers. If the 49ers can keep pace and hold off the Seahawks, they have made Sunday Night Football almost a given.
If the 49ers win, that puts the Seahawks back another loss in the division. If the Packers also win, they can cruise into their bye with a lead as well, which would put them and the 49ers en route for a matchup with playoff implications, not divisional standings.
In his latest Football Morning in America column, Peter King broke down the implications of the 49ers-Packers game getting flexed in far better than I could:
The Sunday night game [11/24] is due to be Seattle (now 7-2) at Philadelphia (5-4). Cool game, with two teams desperate to improve playoff position. It’s a FOX doubleheader week. Most of the country, for a late game, will get Dallas at New England, one of the sexiest matchups of the year. Ratings gold. The other late FOX game that day—maybe 15 or 20 percent of the country would get it—is Green Bay at San Francisco. That also might be the most important game, with playoff implications out the wazoo (what is a wazoo, anyway?), of the second half of the season. Imagine, 13 days before the game, the NFL had to choose games here. Imagine passing on Russell Wilson and Carson Wentz at one of the craziest (and great for TV) venues in football. But when the NFL has to make this call on November 11, San Francisco and Green Bay, combined, could have one loss. How does the league not move to Packers-Niners?
The market is really the only thing at this point, holding the NFL back. If the 49ers manage to beat the Seahawks on Monday Night, it’s going to be a very, very, difficult “no” to make given the broadcast maps of the games and what’s available. Considering the 49ers haven’t been on Sunday Night Football since losing to the New York Giants in the Jim Tomsula era, they are due a Sunday night game.
Will the NFL Flex 49ers-Packers into Sunday Night?
This poll is closed
Yes, if the 49ers win this weekend
Yes, if the Packers win this weekend
Yes, if they both win this weekend
Yes, and it doesn’t matter if they win this weekend
No, they want Philly-Seattle
Kyle’s note: The NFL will also be making a decision on what time the 49ers/Rams Week 16 matchup will be. The NFL has said, “start times and Saturday games for Week 16 will be announced no later than following Week 1-, with the non-Saturday games to be played on Sunday.”