Sunday Night Football Schedule 2012: Remaining Games NFL Should Flex into Lineup

Darin Pike@darinpikeContributor INovember 8, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 06:  Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens runs with the ball while evading a tackle by Larry Foote #50 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the game on November 6, 2011 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The NFL announced their Week 11 Sunday night game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens would remain as scheduled. This is the first week where flex scheduling kicks in, but the status of this AFC North battle far outweighed an underwhelming slate of games.

There are six more weeks of games remaining on the schedule and Bleacher Report has decided to help Roger Goodell and NBC out.

Following is a list of the games as scheduled, along with the recommended game each week.

Week 12

Scheduled Game: Green Bay at NY Giants

Recommended Game: Green Bay at NY Giants

There are a few tempting games this weekend, including San Francisco at New Orleans. But it is hard to mess with two of the elite teams in the NFC.

Seattle at Miami has a compelling story line with two rookie quarterbacks. During free agency it looked like this game would give Miami a chance to decide if they missed the mark by not signing Matt Flynn.

Oh, how things change.

Week 13

Scheduled Game: Philadelphia at Dallas

Recommended Game: Pittsburgh at Baltimore

Yes, we just watched this game. But how many times did Frazier fight Ali? Americans LOVE rematches!

Aside from that tidbit, there just aren't many compelling games this weekend. Where have all the good games gone?

Tampa Bay at Denver could have some meaning, and putting Peyton Manning on Sunday night is rarely a bad idea. Another solid option could be New England at Miami if the Dolphins remain in contention for a playoff spot.

Week 14

Scheduled Game: Detroit at Green Bay

Recommended Game: New Orleans at NY Giants

The game of the week is being held on Monday but that doesn't help our cause. The slate this weekend, once again, is lacking.

Baltimore at Washington is a tempting option, featuring two teams on the beltway.

If nothing else, the Saints and Giants should be a fun game. These two teams can score in bunches.

New Orleans might still have a shot at the playoffs in Week 14 but they have a tough schedule ahead.

Green Bay isn't so much getting kicked off the Sunday night slate as they are getting postponed. 

Week 15

Scheduled Game: San Francisco at New England

Recommended Game: Green Bay at Chicago

Nothing against the listed matchup. This could be a Super Bowl preview, but will more likely be the matchup of the two Conference Championship Game losers.

The main reason for the change is an AFC/NFC game doesn't hold the same cache, rivalry or tense emotions as a battle to decide the NFC North. 

Green Bay and Chicago gave fans less than they deserved early in the season. It seems fair to give the Bears an opportunity to salvage a little face at home.

Since the Packers' appearance was pushed back a week, it only seems fair to give the same love to the 49ers.

Week 16

Scheduled Game: San Diego at NY Jets

Recommended Game: San Francisco at Seattle...

...or any other game. The Chargers are limping along at 4-4 but they are likely going to be out of the playoff picture at this point. The Jets' playoffs hopes, if not gone already, will be locked up and forgotten when they visit the CLink this weekend to face the Seahawks.

This game could give the 49ers an opportunity to clinch the NFC West, if they haven't already. Seattle has a favorable schedule down the stretch and could make the division race somewhat close. 

Most likely this game will be about Seattle getting into a wild card game and the 49ers battling for playoff seeding.

These two teams play tough, hard-nosed football and fans would enjoy watching the rematch from Thursday night earlier in the season.

The other option in Week 16 is the New York Giants at Baltimore. This game isn't likely going to determine who makes the playoffs, as both teams figure to get there. But at least it pits two playoff teams.

Week 17

Scheduled Game: None

Recommended Game: None

Perhaps the NFL knew what it was doing when they opted to not schedule a late game the final week of the year. At this point none of the games appear to match two teams battling for a playoff spot.

The Green Bay Packers vs. the Minnesota Vikings could, but I don't see the Vikings getting to nine wins this season. Tampa Bay vs. Atlanta could have NFC implications if the Buccaneers can continue winning. 

The humane action would be to let the regular season fizzle out and get fans' attention on the playoffs a few hours earlier.

Darin Pike is a writer for Bleacher Report's Breaking News Team and a Featured Columnist covering the NFL and the Seattle Seahawks.


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