Apparently a rematch of the last two AFC Championship Games isn’t all that appealing this season.
NBC has decided to bump the Week 16 Patriots-Ravens showdown out of its original Sunday Night Football spot, instead deciding to go with the Eagles and Bears in the primetime spot, the NFL announced on Tuesday. The Patriots’ visit to Baltimore will be moved to a 4:25 p.m. start on CBS.
At the start of the season, it seemed almost inconceivable to think that the epic series between the Patriots and defending Super Bowl champion Ravens would ever be moved out of the primetime. However, the uncertain playoff futures of both Philadelphia and Chicago as well as the Ravens’ disappointing play this season likely led NBC to the unexpected decision.
The Patriots and Ravens have played three times in the last two years, including twice in the AFC Championship Game. The Patriots won a 23-20 nail-biter in Foxboro on Jan. 22, 2012, earning a spot in Super Bowl XLVI. The Ravens won the second meeting 31-30 on a controversial field goal in Week 3 last season before also winning the AFC championship in Foxboro 28-13 en route to their second Super Bowl title.
The Patriots (10-3) were featured on Sunday Night Football twice already this season, in Week 4 against the Falcons and Week 12 against the Broncos. Meanwhile, the Ravens (7-6) have yet to make an appearance on SNF, although they did play two Thursday night games on NBC this season.
The Patriots’ other two remaining games, Week 15 in Miami against the Dolphins and Week 17 against the Buffalo Bills, are slated for 1 p.m. start times.