The flex rules for week 17 give the NFL (not NBC!) until Monday to make a decision. NBC, though, definitely will have input. The idea is to ensure Al Michaels and Co. have a meaningful game for the grand finale.
What could be better than a winner-take-all Bears-Packers game for the NFC North title in frigid Soldier Field? Throw in the likely return of Aaron Rodgers, the league’s oldest rivalry, and you’ve got plenty of storylines to satisfy Bob Costas.
Detroit’s loss dropped the Lions to 7-7, behind the Bears (8-6) and Packers (7-6-1). If the Bears beat Philadelphia; Green Bay defeats Pittsburgh; or the Giants beat Detroit on Sunday, the stage is set.
It would mark the second straight week the Bears would be flexed to Sunday night. Now a move from an afternoon game to night on Dec. 29 would be a major inconvenience to the many fans from Wisconsin who will be coming to Chicago to see the game. Bears fans will say, even more reason to shift the game.
Another candidate for week 17 is Philadelphia at Dallas for the NFC East title. That’s assuming the Cowboys don’t blow Sunday’s game at Washington, a definite possibility.
Option 3 would be Baltimore at Cincinnati for the AFC North title. That’s assuming the Ravens can get by New England Sunday, a big if.
However, No. 1 on NBC’s wish list to Santa has to be Bears-Packers. Dress warm, Al and Bob.