In 2019, the NFL tried something new where they scheduled five teams as flexible scheduling options in December. The thought was that with college football done, the NFL could capitalize by putting a big NFL game into a national TV spot. In 2020, they have expanded it to two weeks in December, including one for the Buffalo Bills.
Last year, Buffalo was indeed flexed. The Buffalo Bills played the New England Patriots on Saturday, December 21st, instead of Sunday, December 22nd. They were the middle of a three-game slate of games that day.
In 2020, Weeks 15 and 16 both have games that can be moved to Saturday instead of Sunday. With Buffalo playing on Monday Night Football in Week 16, they won’t be subject to the movement.
Here are the five games with a possibility of being moved to Saturday in Week 15:
- Buffalo Bills at Denver Broncos
- Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers
- Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
- New York Jets at Los Angeles Rams
- Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans
Here is my ranking of the games in terms of likeliness to be played on Saturday instead of Sunday:
Texans vs Colts
This game is likely going to be a key game in the race for the AFC South and it will have star power at the quarterback position. With Phillip Rivers leading a solid Colts team and DeShaun Watson quarterbacking the Texans, this game has “prime time” written all over it. Indy only has one prime-time game this year, while the Texans open the season on Thursday night and don’t have another prime-time slot. Write it in now.
Jets vs Rams
This is a really intriguing match-up you could see being the prime-time game, flipping the Colts/Texans to the early time slot. It’s in L.A., so a later start time makes sense and features teams from the two biggest NFL markets. If the Rams rebound in 2020, they could be facing a team that’s finally putting it together in the Jets. I’m sure the NFL would love to see a big East Coast vs. West Coast game as the centerpiece of their Saturday.
Bills vs Broncos
Two ascending AFC teams is the perfect late-afternoon game for Saturday. The Broncos finished second in the AFC West last year while Buffalo finished second in the AFC East. Buffalo will already be in the middle of a tear of non-traditional games; they are scheduled on Monday night and Sunday night the two games before this and Monday night the week following. Buffalo is a solid TV draw, but nowhere near the eyeballs in NYC and L.A.
Panthers vs Packers
The Packers won the NFC North last year and certainly have a national presence. The Panthers are quite the opposite. If Carolina is able to catch lightning in a bottle, they could become a foe worthy of the Saturday time slot. Otherwise, it could just turn into a Packers’ shellacking a downtrodden team, and no one wants to see that.
Lions vs Titans
The Lions have just one late start time the entire year and no prime-time games. The Titans are scheduled in a few night games on the back of their playoff run in 2019, but they don’t have the star power to elevate this game into the spotlight. It’s a consolation prize if one of the games listed above fails to warrant the spotlight.