2013 NFL Schedule: The Primetime Games: Broncos, Falcons, 49ers, Giants, Patriots, Redskins Have Five Games Each







Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins will play five games in primetime this season, starting with the 2013 opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 9 on ESPN.

Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins will play five games in primetime this season, starting with the 2013 opener against the Philadelphia Eagles on September 9 on ESPN.

Here is the list of all the primetime games scheduled for the 2013 NFL season.

Commentary to follow… Actually, I’ll get the back-patting out of the way early: I called the Ravens/Broncos opener on September 5, and I called the Washington Redskins getting five primetime games this season, up from just one last year.

And here are the games:

Thursday, September 5 – Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Sunday, September 8 – New York Giants @ Dallas Cowboys – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 9 – Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins – 7:10 PM ET – ESPN

Monday, September 9 –  Houston Texans @ San Diego Chargers – 10:20 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, September 12 – New York Jets @ New England Patriots – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, September 15 – San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 16 – Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, September 19 – Kansas City Chiefs @ Philadelphia Eagles – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, September 22 – Chicago Bears @ Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 23 – Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, September 26 – San Francisco 49ers @ St. Louis Rams – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, September 29 – New England Patriots @ Atlanta Falcoms – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, September 30 – Miami Dolphins @ New Orleans Saints – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 3 – Buffalo Bills @ Cleveland Browns – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 6 – Houston Texans @ San Francisco 49ers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 7 – New York Jets @ Atlanta Falcons – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 10 – New York Giants @ Chicago Bears – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 13 – Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 14 – Indianapolis Colts @ San Diego Chargers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 17 – Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 20 – Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 21 – Minnesota Vikings @ New York Giants – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 24 – Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, October 27 – Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, October 28 – Seattle Seahawks @ St. Louis Rams – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, October 31 – Cincinnati Bengals @ Miami Dolphins – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 3 – Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 4 – Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 7 – Washington Redskins @ Minnesota Vikings – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 10 – Dallas Cowboys @ New Orleans Saints – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 11 – Miami Dolphins @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 14 –Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 17 – Green Bay Packers @ New York Giants – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 18 – New England Patriots @ Carolina Panthers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 21 – New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, November 24 – Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, November 25 – San Francisco 49ers @ Washington Redskins – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, November 28 (Thanksgiving) – Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens – 8:20 PM ET – NBC

Sunday, December 1 – New York Giants @ Washington Redskins – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 2 – New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, December 5 – Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, December 8 – Atlanta Falcons @ Green Bay Packers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 9 – Dallas Cowboys @ Chicago Bears – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Thursday, December 12 – San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos – 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network

Sunday, December 15 – Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 16 – Baltimore Ravens @ Detroit Lions – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Sunday, December 22 – New England Patriots @ Baltimore Ravens – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

Monday, December 23 – Atlanta Falcons @ San Francisco 49ers – 8:40 PM ET – ESPN

Sunday, December 29 – [Teams to be determined following Week 16] – 8:30 PM ET – NBC

TEAMS WITH FIVE PRIMETIME GAMES: Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins.

TEAMS WITH FOUR PRIMETIME GAMES: Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks.

TEAMS WITH THREE PRIMETIME GAMES: Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, San Diego Chargers.

TEAMS WITH TWO PRIMETIME GAMES: Carolina Panthers, New York Jets, Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

TEAMS WITH ONE PRIMETIME GAME: Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans.


OBSERVATIONS: So, let me get this straight: The Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl, yet the runner-up gets one more primetime game in the ensuing season than the World Champions? Explain that to me.

Also, explain to me how the NFL didn’t greenlight the Denver Broncos going to Dallas on Thanksgiving Day. This was a given when the AFC opponents for the Cowboys were released at the top of the year. Or so I thought. Now, it’s going to be a chance to pass out with tryptophan in between another Packers/Lions matinee and the Ravens hosting another Thanksgiving night game, this time against the division rival Pittsburgh Steelers.

I wonder if Peyton Manning not getting a Thanksgiving date with Tony Romo was a byproduct of the Broncos actually hosting the NFL kickoff game.

Predictably, the Eagles/Chiefs game with Andy Reid bringing a new squad into Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia is an NFL Network Thursday night affair.

Predictably, that’s the Chiefs’ lone primetime game. The Jaguars’ sole primetime tilt in 2013 is also on NFLN, as was the case last year. Ditto for the Browns and the Bills, who actually play each other on an NFLN game; the Bills and the Dolphins killed two birds with one Thursday night primetime stone last season.

Thr Dolphins improve from one primetime game last year to three this year. Same with the Vikings. The Colts go from one primetime game last season to four this season. And I’ve already told you about the Redskins’ maxing out at five games, up from one last year.

Further proof NBC loves the NFC East: The Cowboys and Giants open the “Sunday Night Football” 2013 campaign. The Cowboys will appear on “SNF” three times this year, as will the Giants. Two of the Redskins’ five night contests are on NBC; two of them will air on ESPN. Eagles? Nowhere to be found on NBC’s initial schedule. Of course, the latter half of the season allows flex scheduling, so if the Eagles are actually a good team, they’ll likely see more than just the two games (down from five last year() they’ve been scheduled this year. In other words: the Cowboys/Eagles game that was not flexed out late last season might be the last time in awhile you’ll hear Al Michaels working an Eagles game.

And for the first time in recent memory, there are no Saturday games scheduled. The Bay City Rollers will now have to find alternate ways to be preoccupied this year.

Spygate Vs. Bountygate On NFL Network Peyton Manning Bit







NFL Network analyst Darren Sharper was called out for "cheating" after he helped Broncos linebacker Von Miller win a pretend game show about Peyton Manning. Sharper had played safety for the Saints for two seasons during the "Bountygate" era.

NFL Network analyst Darren Sharper was called out for “cheating” after he helped Broncos linebacker Von Miller win a pretend game show about Peyton Manning. Sharper had played safety for the Saints for two seasons during the “Bountygate” era.

What do Pierre Garcon and Von Miller have in common? Both of them have been a teammate of Peyton Manning.

Also, both were in-studio guests on Thursday’s edition of “NFL Total Access” on NFL Network.

So, naturally, the program trotted out the players on the Z-block of the show, for a fake game show: the “Peyton Manning Pop Quiz.”

And for this game, linebacker Miller, about to embark on his third season with the Denver Broncos (second with Manning under center), and Washington Redskins wideout Garcon, who was Manning’s teammate on the Indianapolis Colts for three seasons, had designated “lifelines” in the form of NFLN analysts Darren Sharper and Willie McGinest.

And what do Sharper and McGinest have in common? Both have played for teams that have had their own public scandals of late: the New Orleans Saints’ “Bountygate” and the New England Patriots’ “Spygate.”

True, McGinest was already playing with the Cleveland Browns by the time the “Spygate” scandal broke in 2007 for the Patriots, for whom McGinest had played linebacker for the bulk of his career, earning two Super Bowl rings in the process.

But Sharper had played the final two years of his career as a safety with the Saints, at around the same time the “Bountygate” timeline had allegedly unfolded. So Sharper, who won a Super Bowl with the Saints and appeared in another with the Green Bay Packers, is directly linked to “Bountygate.”

All that being said, when Miller, aided by a whispering Sharper, wins the “Peyton Manning Pop Quiz,” of course, McGinest calls Sharper out for “cheating.”

Watch the video here.

Tony Romo's New Extension Does Not Sit Well With Donovan McNabb (Audio)







Donovan McNabb took issue with Tony Romo's new contract extension, despite winning one playoff game with the Dallas Cowboys.

Donovan McNabb took issue with Tony Romo’s new contract extension, despite winning one playoff game with the Dallas Cowboys.

As counterparts on teams in the NFC East division, Donovan McNabb and Tony Romo always duked it out against each other on the field.

And ever since the Philadelphia Eagles traded McNabb away three Easters ago, all he’s done is make himself look worse on a couple of other teams – including another NFC East team, the Washington Redskins.

Meanwhile, Romo is still the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, and thanks to a new deal reached late this afternoon, it will remain that way until at least the end of the current decade. Both parties agreed to a six-year extension, at $108 million, with just over half of the money – $55 million – guaranteed.

This definitely ticked off now-NFL Network analyst McNabb, who was so flustered, he messed up the details in his initial tweet, which was retweeted 10,000 times within an hour.

By the way, Romo’s lone playoff win – yeah, it came against the Eagles, with McNabb at quarterback. Yikes.

You know who thinks the Cowboys and Romo should have waited a few more days? NBC Sports Radio. Could you imagine if this deal went down right in the middle of the debut of his new afternoon drive show with Mark Malone, “Under Center”? Instead of dispensing his vitriol at Romo via Twitter, he would have voiced his displeasure on the air on NBCSR, in a sound byte that would have certainly generated some buzz for the new network, if not the neophyte afternoon drive show.

In the meantime, I’m sure McNabb, owner of nine playoff victories with the Eagles in his NFL career, will have something to say about Romo’s extension on tonight’s edition of “NFL Total Access” on NFL Network; he’s been appearing on the program all week.

Or will he save it for his new radio platform on Monday?

And will his new radio show last on NBC Sports Radio as long as that 5-year, $78 million deal McNabb signed with the Redskins, just weeks before he was eventually benched and later cut by the club?

And the show debuts on April Fool’s Day, of all days? You got to be kidding me.

UPDATE: McNabb conveniently was a guest on Erik Kuselias’ final evening show until he inherits morning drive next week. According to No. 5, he thought the Cowboys should have invested more money in the players around Romo, as opposed to Romo himself. Click here to listen.

A Funny Thing Happened To Danny Rouhier On The Way To ESPN's "Outside The Lines"







After being turned down to appear on ESPN's "Outside The Lines" to discuss a possible name change for the Redskins, 106.7 The Fan's Danny Rouhier argued that the issue is media driven, and anyone opposed to a new name is "a racist" and "defends racism."

After being turned down to appear on ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” to discuss a possible name change for the Redskins, 106.7 The Fan’s Danny Rouhier argued that the issue is media driven, and anyone opposed to a new name is “a racist” and “defends racism.”

Danny Rouhier refers to himself as “a humorous DC sports fan.” While he’s one half of the midday show on Washington’s WJFK-FM/”106.7 The Fan,” he’s also been on the stand-up comedy circuit for quite some time. In fact, his Twitter handle is @FunnyDanny.

At the start of his Friday show, Rouhier informed listeners that he would be appearing on a panel on ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” airing that afternoon, to talk about the possibility of the Washington Redskins adopting a new team name.

Halfway through the radio show, Rouhier revealed that he received an e-mail from ESPN telling him that they were canceling his appearance on the show, citing an abundance of participants on the panel; however, Rouhier claims that his replacement on the panel was a Redskins blogger.

Yet after finding himself on the “Outside” looking in, “Funny Danny” was singing a new tune about the Redskins name debate and it was no laughing matter.

“Is it a media driven debate? After my experience today, I now think 100 percent, unequivocally, yes it is,” Rouhier said. “They wanted me to be fodder and they were barking up the wrong tree.

“They are trying to create a situation where they can drive up all the support, all the members of the media can congratulate themselves on how enlightened they are, and how ‘We’re so forward thinking, we’re beating this white, stocky radio dumb idiot bully. We’re browbeating him into a corner. Look at how tough we are. We’re great. And when the evil billionaire won’t change the name, we’ll have righteousness on our side.’ That’s what they’re trying to create.”

Rouhier’s co-host – which is normally Holden Kushner but he was on vacation that week – sided with him.

“Whenever this thing airs, watch how it is portrayed,” the substitute co-host said. “These guys are not going on there to hold up the honor of the Washington Redskins franchise… They’re on there, so guys like Dave Zirin can yell at them… so they can be made out to be these guys that don’t get it.”

All bets are off on there being “a legitimate discussion” about this issue on “OTL.” But “it’s near impossible now,” Rouhier argued, “because of the shrill screamers that are dropping the ‘R’ word – and not the Redskins, I’m talking about ‘racism’ – on the rest of us, and feeling very empowered.

“I’m a Redskins fan, I like [the name], but can I understand the need to change it? Absolutely,” Rouhier added. “It’s a reasonable position. There are reasonable positions on both sides. The side that’s screaming the loudest now will tell you there is no possible argument… What’s happening right now… is, if you’re on the opposite side from us, you’re a racist, and you defend racism. Very, very convenient position to have.”

This all but guaranteed you’ll be seeing Rouhier on the Worldwide Leader anytime soon.

“People are capitalizing on this,” Rouhier said. “And I’m not ripping [OTL moderator] Bob Ley… I actually think he’s got integrity. His producers don’t… And if this means I’m never going on there, that’s what it means.”

Funny how that works – isn’t it, Danny?

Here’s more audio from Friday’s radio show discussing ESPN revoking Rouhier’s invite to appear on “Outside The Lines” – including how fellow 106.7 The Fan talent Chad Dukes reveals that he, too, was asked about appearing on ESPN.

Washington Anchor Suggests Redskins Scalp "Vulgar" Moniker: "The Name Sucks"







In this photo, Jim Vance's former WRC-TV colleague, Lindsay Czarniak, now with ESPN, proudly holds a shirt with the Redskins logo prior to a Redskins/Ravens exhibition game in 2008.

In this photo, Jim Vance’s former WRC-TV colleague, Lindsay Czarniak, now with ESPN, proudly holds a shirt with the Redskins logo prior to a Redskins/Ravens exhibition game in 2008.

On this Ash Wednesday, where Jesus-fearing Christians are implored to give up something for Lent, I bring you a longtime Washington, D.C. news anchor who wants the Redskins to give up something for good: their name.

It’s no secret that Jim Vance, the anchor at WRC-TV, whose career at the NBC-owned television station spans six decades, thinks that the name, which has been associated with the team for all but one season of its 81-year existence (they were founded as the Boston Braves in 1932, before renaming themselves the Redskins the next year, and relocating to Washington in 1937), should go the way of Iron Eyes Cody. At around this time last year, when the phenomenon known as “Linsanity” emerged – and a couple of unfortunate uses of the phrase “chink in the armor” occurred as a result – Vance, in an editorial on a WRC-TV newscast, reminded viewers that that phrase is no different from the word “Redskins,” which “from its inception and inclusion in our language… was meant to be an insult.”

This past weekend, roughly one month after the town’s mayor, Vincent Gray, went on record by saying the team should think about picking a new team name if they want to physically play their games in Washington, Vance once again took to the air and made an even stronger case, arguing that as he has become a fan of the Redskins, his hatred for “that, in my view, vulgar name” grew by leaps and bounds.

Vance says that the word “Redskin” is no different than the “pejoratives” one would use “if you really wanted to insult a black man and attack a Jew, an Irishman, and probably start a fight.” His connotation for the word is derived from old Westerns that he watched back in the day, where he “never, not once, ever, heard of a Redskin referred to, respectfully. A Redskin was always dirty… bloody… savage… inhuman.. unhuman. You name it.

“The name sucks,” Vance contended. “We need to get rid of it.”

And to his credit, Vance actually has a replacement name for the team: the Washington Warriors, using the name that once graced the modern-day 76ers of the NBA, which he watched during his childhood in his native Philadelphia.

“Sixty years later,” Vance said, “I would love to, once again, adore the Warriors.”

There’s just one problem: The logo that the Philadelphia Warriors used some sixty years ago consisted of – you guessed it – a smiling Indian dribbling a basketball.

I’m afraid I’m going to have to call an offsides penalty on Jim for this one.

Mike Tannenbaum To NFL Network?







Former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum could be headed to NFL Network to fill a GM void left by Michael Lombardi, who has taken a position with the Cleveland Browns.

Former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum could be headed to NFL Network to fill a GM void left by Michael Lombardi, who has taken a position with the Cleveland Browns.

It was a rather ugly Black Monday this past New Year’s Eve, and Mike Tannenbaum was one of the casualties.

The now-former New York Jets general manager is currently in the news cycle taking full responsibility for one of his final actions in Gang Green’s front office – the ill-fated trade for quarterback Tim Tebow.

But it might not be the last you hear from him – at least in sports media, anyway.

On his Wednesday afternoon program, noted TSA grope victim Mike “Police Escort Denyer” Francesa disclosed that Tannenbaum is all but set to bring his general manager knowledge to television. “I heard that he may be going to the NFL Network,” Francesa said on his WFAN/YES Network show.

Given the source is Francesa, one may want to take it at face value. But indeed, NFL Network does have a seat in their “Front Office View” vacant, now that Michael Lombardi has agreed to join the Cleveland Browns as their new vice president of player personnel.

Currently, NFLN has one resident general manager in Charley Casserly, who had previous experience with the Washington Redskins and Houston Texans, both of whom made the playoffs this past season (Casserly was also the previous NFL insider for CBS before joining NFLN). But I’m sure NFLN would like to have two GM’s to call on and rotate between editions of their daily programs like “NFL Total Access.”

Tannenbaum wouldn’t be the first Jets non-player to make the move to broadcasting. Former head coach Herman “You Play To Win The Game” Edwards joined ESPN in 2009 after following up his Jets tenure (2001-05) with three seasons coaching the Kansas City Chiefs. Edwards’ replacement, Eric Mangini, eventually joined Edwards at the Worldwide Leader after following up his three years on the Jets sidelines in the same position with the Browns – but not before ESPN analysts were a bit too excited to hear the Browns relieved Mangini of his duties.

Meanwhile, we did some searching on NFL.com, and noticed that a July 2010 Tannenbaum interview on “Total Access” comes up as a search result – but appears to have been removed from their website.


Cowboys/Redskins An Early Favorite For "Sunday Night Football" In Week 17 (Update: It's Official)

The rematch of Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins’ Thanksgiving Day victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 17 could be flexed into primetime on NBC. It would be the second straight year that an NFC East showdown in the final week of the regular season would be rescheduled to “Sunday Night Football.”

It’s hard to believe just two more weeks of the NFL regular season remain.

And that means we draw ever closer to the inevitable – okay, besides going to the mall to return that unwanted sweater you got for Christmas. Week 17, which for the third season in a row under Commissioner Roger Goodell, will consist entirely of matchups between division rivals – with the one possessing the greatest impact on the playoff picture being flexed into primetime on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football.” In Week 17 in 2010, the Seattle Seahawks defeated the St. Louis Rams, and in the final week of the regular season last year, the New York Giants eliminated the Dallas Cowboys; both of these teams would win subsequent playoff games televised on NBC (the Seahawks in the Wild Card round, and the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI).

The divisions represented by these teams have a great shot at making their second appearance on “SNF” in Week 17 under the new format.

First, let’s eliminate the divisions where the leaders are so far ahead, it should not make much of a difference what they do in Week 17: AFC East (New England Patriots); AFC South (Houston Texans); AFC West (Denver Broncos); and NFC South (New Orleans Saints).

True, a first-round playoff bye may be on the line between the Patriots, Texans and Broncos, but consider this: the Patriots are hosting the Miami Dolphins, and they’ve been so dominant at home in primetime, and in primetime in general this season (need we remind you what they did in New Jersey on Thanksgiving night?) that the chances of the game being out of reach early are high. Also, the Texans hosted the Indianapolis Colts today for what will be a home-and-home over a 15-day period, and had the Colts upset the Texans in Houston, the Week 17 rematch might have been a shoo-in for primetime, but the Texans win pretty much puts a cushion betweem the two teams; of course, if the Colts find themselves in a “win and you’re in” scenario, it’s still possible that Andrew Luck might bring the Colts back to “SNF” for the first time in the post-Peyton Manning era. And as for Manning’s current team, the Broncos, well, they’re playing the Kansas City Chiefs, who are not only execrable this season, but are 0-3 on NBC in the Fred Gaudelli era. Nuff said.

The NFC North also appears to be all but conquered by the Green Bay Packers, but the team they face in Week 17 is the Minnesota Vikings – a team that’s nipping at the Packers’ heels in the division, and has a running back in Adrian Peterson who’s on pace to break Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record of 2,105 yards, and he needs just shy of 300 yards in two games to do it. But the Vikings’ next opponent, the Houston Texans, has a stingy run defense, so it’s too soon to determine what happens with the Packers/Vikings game until Peterson plays another sixty minutes. Remember, the league reconfigured the Week 17 Sunday night game to feature teams that are playing a game that will essentially name the winner of that division. Of course, when given the choice between watching a dynamic athlete break a record that has stood for nearly three decades, or a Rams/Seahawks game, I think the answer is easy. So based on the potential of history being made, with one of the biggest names in the game, I wouldn’t rule this one out yet, even if the Packers have long clinched the NFC North. Stay tuned.

So, we’re down to three divisions, and we’ll start with the AFC North. You have the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have made the fifth-most appearances on NBC since 2006 with fifteen, hosting the Cleveland Browns, and you have the Cincinnati Bengals hosting the Baltimore Ravens, who have won six out of their nine appearances on NBC’s air. By the way, since 2006, Ohio has been 0-for-6 on NBC, including five Bengals games, two of them in the postseason. Realizing the Bengals’ dubious record on NBC, coupled with their penchant for having games blacked out due to low ticket sales, plus add to the mix the fact that they’re hosting the Ravens, who have abruptly switched offensive coordinators and have already lost their first game under their new one, the prospect of putting that game in primetime probably isn’t making the league and NBC suits’ mouths water. Nor is the possibility of a Steelers team playing the cellar-dwelling Browns. So in my view, you won’t be seeing the Steelers make their fourth “SNF” appearance of the season, nor a Ravens trifecta on NBC this year. But as always, I could be wrong.

Anyway, that leaves two divisions in the NFC where the top spot is up for grabs. First, the NFC West situation: the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks are fighting for first place. But keep in mind that the 49ers will be playing two Sunday night games in a row, including one that’s been flexed into primetime in Week 16 – and that game is in Seattle. Fast forward to Week 17, and you’ve got the Seahawks hosting the Rams, and the 49ers hosting the Cardinals. Given how bad the Cardinals have been since October (oh, they beat the Lions by four touchdowns after losing by nearly sixty points the previous week – big whoop), you can count out the latter matchup, and the possibility of a team appearing on “SNF” for three consecutive weeks. Which means that for the second time in three weeks, a Rams/Seahawks game in Seattle in Week 17 could be moved into primetime. The Rams, despite being a shade under .500, are amazingly undefeated (4-0-1) against opponents in the division. The Seahawks, meanwhile, are undefeated at home, and depending on how the 49ers fare in Centurylink Field on “SNF” in Week 16, the NFC West division may as well be decided in primetime that week.

And that leaves the NFC East, a division where three out of its four teams have made the most appearances on NBC since 2006 – most recently a matchup between two teams both under .500, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys. In Week 17, both of these teams will be on the road: the Eagles at the New York Giants, and the Cowboys at the Washington Redskins. This division is literally a three-team race going down the stretch, but only one thing matters: the RG3 factor. Robert Griffin III is having an outstanding rookie campaign – yet he only has one primetime game to show for it (in Week 13 vs. the Giants on “Monday Night Football” on ESPN). Of course, there was the game on Thanksgiving Day that gave Griffin his first national exposure – in Jerry World, a game in which he led the Redskins to four touchdowns in the first half.

The Redskins, 2-0 in these games, currently share a lead in the NFC East. The Cowboys, well, they haven’t made the most appearances on “Sunday Night Football” for nothing (the Eagles/Cowboys tilt back in Week 13 was their twenty-first).

Regardless of the results of the Week 16 games between the Giants and the Ravens, the Cowboys and the Saints, and the Eagles and the Redskins, I am confident that the Cowboys/Redskins rematch in Week 17 will be flexed into primetime.

An equation of “America’s Team” and RG3 (provided he’s healthy) with the division on the line adds up to an enticing matchup.

So if you’re going to that game on December 30, I’d reschedule my plans for that evening if I were you.

UPDATE, 12.18.12: WIP Radio in Philadelphia reported today that the Cowboys/Redskins game on December 30 has been moved to a start time of… 4:25 PM. There’s nothing to back this up, I was just going by what I heard on the radio. Halfway to primetime. But it’s still a candidate to be moved to “Sunday Night Football”: based on how teams with their own playoff implications on the line perform in Week 16, the league will obviously move a game with “win or go home” potential into primetime. Or if the NFC East, NFC West and AFC North are suddenly all decided, and Adrian Peterson runs for over 150 yards against the Texans, the Vikings’ (regular?) season finale against the Packers could see itself being moved to NBC, as I speculated earlier – but of course, that’s a huge longshot as long as the NFC East, at the very least, has not been decided by Christmas.

So the Cowboys/Redskins game won’t be starting at 1 PM. That much, I was right about. And now the NFL is delaying the inevitable – which, by the way, will officially be announced on Monday.

UPDATE, 12.23.12, 11:39 PM ET: And now, it’s official: With the Redskins winning and the Cowboys and Giants losing, the rematch between the Redskins and the Cowboys in Week 17 will, as projected, be flexed into Sunday night on NBC. The news was announced during the Week 16 presentation of “Sunday Night Football.” This will be the first time since Week 7 in 2010 that the Redskins were featured on “Sunday Night Football.” Since that matchup with the Colts, there have been fifteen games on NBC (sixteen if you count the Super Bowl) in which there was at least one NFC East team – eight of them games between two NFC East teams. So it’s safe to say the Redskins are long overdue.