The NFL announced late Sunday night that it has moved next Sunday’s Bills-at-Dolphins game from 1 to 4:25 p.m. and cancelled NBC’s Sunday night football game, which was supposed to be the final game of the regular season.
And the reason for both of those decisions is the same: The NFL wanted to ensure that all games with playoff implications that affect each other are played at the same time.
“We felt that both from a competitive standpoint and a fan perspective, the most fair thing to do is schedule all Week 17 games in either the 1 p.m. or 4:25 p.m. Eastern Time windows,” said Howard Katz, the NFL’s senior vice president of broadcasting.
“This ensures that we do not have a matchup on Sunday Night Football or New Year’s Eve that because of earlier results, has no playoff implications for one of both of the competing teams.”
All of the AFC teams competing for two remaining playoff berths will play at 4:25 p.m. on CBS: Baltimore, Tennessee, Buffalo and the Chargers.
Also, the two NFC teams competing for one remaining playoff spot also will play at 4:25 p.m. on Fox: Atlanta and Seattle.
Though the Dolphins were eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday, the game will be meaningful for Buffalo, which still has a chance to make the playoffs for the first time this century.
To make the playoffs, Buffalo needs either: 1) a win AND Baltimore loss or 2) a win AND Tennessee loss AND Los Angeles Chargers loss
Here’s the full NFL schedule for Week 17:
Green Bay at Detroit (1 p.m., FOX)
Houston at Indianapolis (1 p.m., CBS)
Chicago at Minnesota (1 p.m., FOX)
New York Jets at New England (1 p.m., CBS)
Washington at New York Giants (1 p.m., FOX)
Dallas at Philadelphia (1 p.m., FOX)
Cleveland at Pittsburgh (1 p.m., CBS)
Carolina at Atlanta (4:25 p.m., FOX)
Cincinnati at Baltimore (4:25 p.m., CBS)
Kansas City at Denver (4:25 p.m., CBS)
Oakland at Los Angeles Chargers (4:25 p.m., CBS)
San Francisco at Los Angeles Rams (4:25 p.m., FOX)
Buffalo at Miami (4:25 p.m., CBS)
Arizona at Seattle (4:25 p.m., FOX)
New Orleans at Tampa Bay (4:25 p.m., FOX)
Jacksonville at Tennessee (4:25 p.m., CBS)
The NFL allows both CBS and Fox to televise double-headers on the final Sunday of the season.