The Atlanta Falcons may have lost to the Saints and looked pretty underwhelming doing so, but their quest for the playoffs still makes for good television. Especially when they’re facing off against the Carolina Panthers, another divisional rival, with their postseason chances essentially on the line in the season finale.
Given that, it’s no surprise that the Falcons-Panthers game has been flexed. Originally slated for a 1 p.m. kickoff, it has now been moved to 4:25 p.m. There are (somewhat surprisingly) no night games on Sunday, so this is essentially the primetime slot for next Sunday.
While we’re all going to get to our New Year’s parties a bit later, you can absolutely understand the rational from the NFL’s perspective. The Panthers may still have a shot to win the NFC South if the Buccaneers knock off the Saints, and the Falcons have to win to get in, unless Seattle would like to kindly drop their final game and let Atlanta squeak in at 9-7. Either way, the NFC South typical produces worthwhile (if ugly) games, and I doubt this will be an exception.
For Atlanta, the path remains simple: Win this game and you’re the #6 seed in the NFC. Let’s hope this team can make it happen, starting at 4:25 p.m. on Sunday.