When the NFL released its 2016 schedule, the Green Bay Packers drew the Atlanta Falcons for a week 8 game at the Georgia Dome that was slated to be played at 1 PM Eastern time (12 noon Central). When the schedule was made, that looked like a decent, albeit unspectacular matchup between a team that made the playoffs as a Wild Card a year ago and another that started hot (5-0) before finishing 8-8.
However, with the NFL instituting flexible scheduling earlier and earlier over the past few years, week 8 is well within the realm of dates that games cam be moved. The NFL has decided to do just that, announcing today that the Packers-Falcons game will be moved back to a late afternoon start, with kickoff now set for 4:25 PM Eastern (3:25 Central).
The game was flip-flopped with the Arizona Cardinals-Carolina Panthers game, a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship. However, Arizona and Carolina have started the season a combined 3-7 this season and with the game being played in Carolina, an early kickoff is acceptable.
Furthermore, this move essentially ensures that the entire country will be able to see the Packers-Falcons game. FOX holds the doubleheader broadcast that week, and this is the only FOX-aired contest being played in the late timeslot that week. San Diego and Denver will be a late game aired on CBS, so the only US market that should be shut out from seeing Green Bay play would be those in the Denver area.
Stay tuned, as the Packers could end up seeing more of their games shifted into prime time over the rest of the season.