At the league’s spring meetings, the NFL’s owners voted 24-8 to allow for Thursday Night Football flex scheduling on Amazon Prime. Prime, now an increasingly influential partner in the NFL’s product, has the option to improve up to two of their matchups in the final month or so of the season. This comes off of last month’s news that Prime is going to be given a Black Friday standalone game and that not every team is promised a primetime matchup under the NFL’s current broadcasting deals.
Among the eight teams that voted no against the flex schedule were the Green Bay Packers, who were joined by the New York Giants, New York Jets, Chicago Bears, Pittsburgh Steelers, Las Vegas Raiders, Detroit Lions and Cincinnati Bengals, generally, teams with large fan bases that are most likely at risk to lose a Sunday game to TNF. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the NFLPA was opposed to TNF flex scheduling, but this was an owners-only vote.
Now, Prime has the option to flex up to two matchups into their Week 13 to Week 17 schedule with 28 days notice to the league. The guardrails placed on Prime are that they can’t flex a team into TNF more than once in a single season and they can only flex a maximum of two games during this five-week stretch.
Green Bay’s only Thursday Night Football matchup (against the Detroit Lions) is in Week 4, meaning that you can hang your hat on the time and date of that game. The Packers play on another Thursday — Thanksgiving against the Lions, again — but since that doesn’t technically count as a TNF game, Green Bay is eligible to be flexed into a second TNF game later on in the season.
Luckily for the Packers, three of their five games from Week 13 to Week 17 are already scheduled to be on national television, making it highly unlikely that any of their games will be a late flex to Thursday Night Football. In Week 13 (vs Kansas City Chiefs) and Week 17 (@ Minnesota Vikings), Green Bay will be playing on Sunday Night Football. In Week 14, the Packers are scheduled to play Monday Night Football at the New York Giants.
Unless Amazon really wants a Packers-Buccaneers (Week 15) or Packers-Panthers (Week 16) matchup, then Green Bay’s schedule should hold up even after flex scheduling. In future years, though, you might hear about the Packers being pushed into a second TNF matchup in the later portion of the season.