The Bengals’ Week 17 game with the Ravens will be flexed to a 4:25 pm start time. The switch is due to the playoff implications of the game.
The Cincinnati Bengals played a solid game against the Detroit Lions to eliminate them from playoff contention. But, that hasn’t stopped the NFL from putting them in a postseason scenario. With Week 17 being a season finale with the Baltimore Ravens, the league has graciously switched the afternoon game to a 4:25 pm (CBS) start.
Before fans start thinking that the game signaled how well the Bengals snapped back from a three-game losing streak, the move was across the board. All teams playing games with playoff implications will be flexed to the late afternoon start time.
Howard Katz, NFL Senior Vice President of Broadcasting, explained the switch.
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"“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. 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.”"
The scheduling ensures that the games which affect one another will be played at the same time. Thus, anyone looking to curl up with an adult beverage and a blanket to watch some primetime football will be left out in the cold.
The Bengals-Ravens matchup should be even more intense than usual. Last year, the rivalry ended with the Bengals trying to avoid losing 10 games. And the Ravens were trying to settle at 8-8. This year, Cincinnati is in the same situation while Baltimore is fighting for a playoff spot.