The Steelers’ week 16 matchup with the Ravens could be moved from NBC’s Sunday Night Football to a 1:00 P.M. game.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens may not be playing a Sunday Night Football game this year.
According to Steelers.com, the seemingly annual Sunday Night matchup could be flexed to 1:00 P.M. If the New York Giants top the Miami Dolphins on tonight’s edition of Monday Night Football, New York’s week 16 meeting with the Minnesota Vikings will take the place of Steelers vs. Ravens.
According to the report, the flex rules are in place to ensure that quality games are played on Sunday Night Football.
"Flexible scheduling ensures quality matchups on Sunday night in those weeks and gives surprise teams a chance to play their way onto primetime. The NBC Sunday night time slot for “flex” weeks lists the game tentatively scheduled for Sunday night. Weeks 5-17 can be affected by flex scheduling. However, only two games may be flexed into Sunday Night between Week 5 and 10.Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game will be moved to an afternoon start time."
While Steeler fans all over the world will want to see the black and gold in prime time, it’s kind of hard to blame the NFL for wanting to flex this game in place of Giants-Vikings.
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The Ravens have been god-awful this season. They currently sit at 4-9 on the season, one game above the cellar-dwelling Browns. The Ravens have also been riddled with injuries, losing stars Joe Flacco, Steve Smith Sr. and Terrell Suggs for the season earlier this year.
In theory, the Steelers should march their way to a guaranteed victory, but that’s not what happened in week 4. Fans left Heinz Field in a combination of rage and disgust after former kicker Josh Scobee missed two game-icing field goals. This was also the first game that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed due to a knee injury.
Scobee was cut shortly after the game.
Luckily for the Steelers, new kicker Chris Boswell has panned out well. However, the week 4 loss to Baltimore could theoretically hold the Steelers out of the playoffs. If things pan out that way, Steeler fans won’t hear the end of it from their Raven counterparts.
Still, it’s hard to believe that the Steelers offense will have similar trouble moving the ball with No. 7 at the helm. If Roethlisberger remains healthy, the Steelers should blow out the lowly Ravens.
There is no true national appeal to this game, and it will likely shake up the playoff picture only if the Steelers lose. However, a potential Sunday Night Football matchup between the Giants and Vikings could end up having a major hand in deciding the last few slots in the NFC playoff race.
Fans outside of the Pittsburgh and Baltimore areas might be upset that they may not be able to watch the game, but fans all over should rejoice at the fact that they don’t have to witness what is likely to be a meaningless slop-fest.