It’s that time of year when NFL games get really, really serious. More serious than before. There are just five weeks left in the regular season, and, well, some games mean more than others. And that’s why the Dec. 10 game between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants is being flexed. Not to a more attractive, prime spot, but away from it.
The Week 14 Cowboys-Giants game was originally scheduled to start at 4:25 p.m. ET, but it’s being shuffled to 1 p.m. ET to allow a more interesting and meaningful game to take that coveted late afternoon start time. And that game is between the … Jacksonville Jaguars and Seattle Seahawks?
On the surface, that seems insane. The Cowboys and Giants are perennially popular and usually a big draw on TV. And it’s been a long time since they’ve played a December game at 1 p.m.
Last time the Giants and Cowboys played a 1p Sunday game in December: 2005. So their 12/10 game being moved to 1p means a lot of upset TV execs.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) November 28, 2017
And to move that game for the Jaguars and Seahawks? What world are we living in?
Well, we’re living in a world where the Giants are 2-9 and the Cowboys are 5-6. And the Jaguars and Seahawks are both in the hunt for the playoffs, which automatically makes that game more worthy than a bumbling slap fight between two teams struggling to play recognizable football. (OK, this mostly applies to just the Giants, but still.)
The Giants-Cowboys game could be a display of world class football from both sides. It could be thrilling and entertaining. It could be one of the greatest games in NFL history. But it wouldn’t change much for either team. The Giants have been almost unwatchably bad all season and aren’t going to the playoffs. The Cowboys haven’t been quite as atrocious, but they’ve lost their last three games by a significant margin while scoring just 22 total points. (Woof.) And at 5-6, their playoff chances are a tiny, flickering tea light candle compared to the giant industrial flashlight of the Jaguars or Seahawks.
This might not be the last time the Cowboys get flexed out of a big audience. It could happen again in a week, when the NFL has to decide the fate of the Dec. 17 games. There probably isn’t much the Cowboys can do between now and then to stop that from happening, unless they invent a time machine and go back to Week 1 and replay every single one of their games.
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