What a time to be alive -- the Seahawks and Jaguars are playing in Week 14 and that game will now be in the 4:25 p.m. ET window after it was flexed in. The game that was flexed out by the NFL and into a 1 p.m. ET slot? The Dallas Cowboys at the New York Giants.
This is a pretty rare occasion, because the Cowboys-Giants playing, even though it happens twice a year, is typically ratings gold thanks to the rivalry factor, massive fanbases for each team and the top-end markets.
Fox usually rakes in big numbers for that game. It still might, but moving it to 1 p.m. ET is just something you don't see. According to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network, the two haven't played a game at 1 p.m. ET since 2005.
Last time the Giants and Cowboys played a 1p Sunday game in December: 2005. So their 12/10 game being moved to 1p means a lot of upset TV execs.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) November 28, 2017
This flex move does not include moving the Ravens-Steelers off of "Sunday Night Football," which was surprising to some, given that both the Eagles-Rams and Vikings-Panthers games were available as options for Sunday night.
The best possible logic here for that would be that both Fox and CBS are interested in protecting those games. NBC was handed a major rivalry game in the Ravens-Steelers matchup, even if it might tend to be more one-sided than usual. They got one of the best AFC battles in prime time before the season began.
It is possible that CBS (and yes, I work for CBS, no the broadcast selection portion of our job is not inside my paygrade) would prefer to hold onto Vikings-Panthers, a rare NFC matchup for the network that should do excellent ratings in the 1 p.m. ET slot because of the playoff implications.
It is also possible that Fox would not release Eagles-Rams into the Sunday night slot because it wants the ratings that will come with that game. It's a matchup that could very well determine the NFC's No. 1 seed, or at least a bye. Carson Wentz versus Jared Goff is a very attractive sell for the network.
Moving the Cowboys-Giants game actually allows them the freedom to make Eagles-Rams the national game of the week, and if for some reason something went wrong, they have Seahawks-Jaguars as a backup. (Bonus for the Seahawks: They get to play late on the East Coast.)
That's all speculation on my part: But it remains very likely, in my mind, that Ravens-Steelers is still attractive enough to justify keeping on Sunday night while ensuring that the other broadcast partners end up with high-quality games in their primary broadcast windows.
It's a win for viewers, certainly, because now there is a nationally appealing game for each of the three broadcast windows.