The NFL evidently does not want the Green Bay Packers buried in the morass of early games if possible for the rest of this season. That is the message to take away from an announcement on Monday afternoon, in which the league has decided to flex the Packers’ upcoming week 14 game against the Detroit Lions into the late afternoon time slot.
That game at Ford Field was originally scheduled for a 1:00 PM Eastern (12 noon Central) kickoff, but will now begin at 4:25 PM Eastern (3:25 Central). The game will still be televised on FOX. However, this move does not actually put the Packers’ game up against fewer other games on the same network at the same time; FOX now goes from having four early games and three late games to three early games and four late games.
This, the Packers-Lions contest will still be up against three other contests for eyeballs on the afternoon of Sunday, December 13th. Also on FOX at the same time are the Falcons-Chargers, Saints-Eagles, and Washington-49ers games.
One geographical area that this surely helps is in the upper Midwest, as the Packers are no longer scheduled to play at the same time as the Minnesota Vikings-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game. That leaves Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin TV markets free to pick up both games rather than choosing between one or the other.
Of the Packers’ remaining five games, only one is now scheduled to kick off in the early time slot. That is the week 17 game at Soldier Field against the Chicago Bears, which will bring the regular season to a close. Green Bay’s next two games, against Philadelphia and at Detroit, will both kick off in the late afternoon, while their home games against Carolina and Tennessee will take place on Saturday night and Sunday night, respectively before the finale in Chicago.