When the NFL makes the schedule for Week 17 they leave all 16 games at noon. This is done on purpose. Obviously things happen through the first 16 weeks of the regular season that determine what the situation will be for various teams in the finale. The league waits until Week 16 is just about over to put the best/most-playoff worthy matchups in the afternoon and reserves the Sunday Night Football slot for the top game.
We already knew that the the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers would square off for the NFC West title in the 256th game of the year, but what we didn’t know was which games would happen in the afternoon. With the Cowboys losing to the Philadelphia Eagles, the NFC East is still undetermined and the league has adjusted accordingly.
Both NFC East matchups will take place in the afternoon
If the Eagles win on the road against the New York Giants, the NFC East is theirs. Should they lose and the Dallas Cowboys defeat the Washington Redskins at home, America’s Team will repeat as division winners.
There will be no knowledge of what Philadelphia has done before the Cowboys play, though. The league announced late Sunday evening that both NFC East matchups will take place in the afternoon window so the Cowboys are going to have to play their game with full intensity and keep tabs while it’s all going on.
Again, if the Eagles win, this thing is over. And even if the Eagles lose, the Cowboys still have to beat the Redskins.
It’s worth saying that the Giants played the Eagles tough a few weeks ago in Philadelphia. With New York showing up a lot of offense in Week 16 it’s not impossible for them to take down the Eagles at home, but the reality is now things are out of the Cowboys control and that’s an uncomfortable place to be.