The NFL has opted to forgo the Sunday night game for week 17 for what they're calling "competitive balance."
The Carolina-Atlanta game has the most intrigue. However, if the league were to move the Carolina-Atlanta game and New Orleans won earlier in the day to clinch the division, the Panthers would have nothing to play for that night.
“We felt that both from a competitive standpoint and from a fan perspective, the most fair thing to do is to schedule all Week 17 games in either the 1 p.m. or 4:25 p.m. ET windows,” NFL Senior Vice President of Broadcasting Howard Katz said in a statement. “This ensures that we do not have a matchup on Sunday Night Football on New Year’s Eve that, because of earlier results, has no playoff implications for one or both of the competing teams.”
Instead, the NFL moved the Cincinnati-Baltimore, Buffalo-Miami and Jacksonville-Tennessee games from 1 p.m. ET to 4:25 p.m. ET. All three remain on CBS.
The Carolina-Atlanta and New Orleans-Tampa Bay games move from 1 p.m. ET to 4:25 p.m. ET and remain on FOX.
All other games remain at their originally scheduled time.