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Packers' 2014 Games Desirable for TV Networks in Flex Scheduling

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The Packers have a pair of Sunday Night games in the next three weeks, but it appears that they will not be moved into the Sunday Night slot again this season.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

As part of the NFL's current television deals, the league has reserved the right to "flexible scheduling." In other words, they can move a game from one time slot to another on Sunday in order to get a better matchup in the prime time Sunday Night time slot. Starting this year, the league also has the right to occasionally move a game to another network to help balance the quality of games between the networks.

Last year, with Aaron Rodgers suffering a broken collarbone and missing most of the second half of the year, the once-promising Packers were actually moved out of the Sunday Night slot twice - their games against the struggling Giants and Falcons were both shifted to afternoon games instead.

One of the critical pieces of this equation is that both FOX and CBS are allowed to "protect" five games between weeks 11 and 16 in order to hold on to some of the more intriguing machups on their respective schedules. These protected games have just been announced, and there is no question that the Packers are viewed as a much more lucrative and desirable team to put on the airwaves this year compared to a season ago:

That's right, of the ten games listed, two include the Packers - the week 11 game against Philadelphia is currently scheduled for a 12:00 noon kickoff, while the Patriots game in week 13 is a 3:25 PM start. It's not difficult to imagine why networks would want to keep these potential playoff matchups, as there is both star power for all teams involved (Rodgers, Jordy Nelson and company versus either LeSean McCoy and Chip Kelly or Tom Brady and Bill Belichick) as well as team success - each team currently has five wins.

One downside to these decisions is of course that these two games will not be national broadcasts. Though they will likely be among the better games of the week and could go to several markets outside the two teams' local areas, they will still likely be playing at the same time as other games and will therefore not have a nationwide distribution.

For now, each of the Packers next two games are on Sunday Night Football - they play the Saints in New Orleans this coming weekend, then host the Chicago Bears in prime time two weeks later following the bye week. Because of this policy and the schedule of games remaining, the Packers should not be moved into a Sunday night game for a third time, though it is entirely possible that the Week 17 game against Detroit may be shifted from a noon kickoff to a 3:25 start.

But rest assured - if you have tickets to a Packers game, it will most likely take place a the time indicated, and you can plan accordingly.