‘Sunday Night Football’ Sacks LA Rams-LA Chargers Game January 1 For Steelers-Ravens – Deadline

The NFL said Sunday that it is implementing flex scheduling for next week’s primetime matchup on NBC, jettisoning the planned Los Angeles Rams-Los Angeles Chargers game in favor of a Pittsburgh Steelers-Baltimore Ravens showdown with greater playoff implications.

The Rams-Chargers game, while pitting rivals who share the major Los Angeles media market, won’t be as meaningful. The Chargers are 8-6 but can clinch a playoff spot this Monday with a victory on the road in Indianapolis against the Colts on Monday Night Football; the Rams, the defending Super Bowl champions, are 5-10 and despite a lopsided victory over Denver on Christmas Day have already been eliminated from postseason contention.

As a result, the Steelers-Ravens, featuring fierce rivals still fighting for playoff seeding (Baltimore has clinched a wild card spot), will now kick off January 1 at 8:20 pm ET on NBC. The Rams-Chargers game at SoFi Stadium will now begin at 4:25 pm ET/1:25 pm PT and be televised on CBS.

The NFL’s flex schedule allows the league to “ensure quality matchups” for SNF, broadcast TV’s most-watched show. The practice is allowed twice between Weeks 5-10 of the regular season, and during Weeks 11-17 when the playoff spots are being determined.

The Chargers have been flexed into SNF slots twice this season.

The NFL made the call Sunday, when it showcased three nationally televised games on Christmas during its Week 16: the Rams beat the Broncos 51-14, the Green Bay Packers beat the Miami Dolphins 26-20 to stay in the playoff picture, and Tamp Bay and Tom Brady are playing the Arizona Cardinals on this week’s SNF.

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