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Take a hike, Tom Brady: Eagles’ Week 16 matchup with the Bears flexed to Sunday night

Dec 11, 2013, 12:41 AM EDT

DeSean Jackson AP

If you are active on twitter, you may already know this since almost every single person in the history of twitter sent a tweet about this earlier this afternoon.  But for those of you who are social media-impaired – much like my father, who still doesn’t get the whole “tweeter” thing – there was some news today regarding the Eagles’ schedule.

The NFC East-leading Birds – damn, that feels good to say – and their Week 16 matchup with the Bears on Dec. 22 at the Linc has been flexed from a 1 p.m. start time to the NBC national slot at 8:30 p.m.

It’s an interesting choice by the folks over at NBC considering that the originally scheduled Sunday night game that week was Patriots at Ravens, a game chock-full of both high-profile stars and likely playoff implications.

The Patriots currently lead the AFC East with a 10-3 record, are fighting for a first-round bye and have some guy named Tom Brady as their quarterback. The Ravens currently hold the last AFC Wild Card slot with a 7-6 record, are the defending Super Bowl champions, and have national appeal. The teams would have drawn a great rating.

That game has been moved to the 4:25 p.m. start time.

All this proves is that Eagles – the hottest team in the NFL with their five-game win streak – are a sexy team in the eyes of network executives, and for good reason.

They have the NFL’s leading rusher in LeSean McCoy, a red-hot quarterback in Nick Foles, dynamic receivers in DeSean Jackson and Riley Cooper, a solid defense anchored by linebacker Connor Barwin, all led by evil genius head coach Chip Kelly.

Long story short, they are a team people want to see right now.

And people outside of this area haven’t seen them much because the Birds have only played in primetime twice this season. They hung on to beat Washington, 33-27, on Monday night in Week 1 during Kelly’s debut. They put us to sleep two weeks later with a 26-16 loss to the Chiefs on a Thursday night in Andy Reid ‘s return to Philadelphia.

Now, the entire country will get a chance to see the high-flying juggernaut that the Eagles have become and in an important game, too. The Eagles could have chance to wrap up the NFC East and a playoff spot that night if everything goes according to the master plan. Monster receivers Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall and the rest of the Bears will still be in the thick of the muddled NFC North race.

Since the Sunday night package went to NBC at the start of the 2006 season, the Eagles have been featured in that slot 18 times and have an 8-10 record in those games.

Two of those games were against the Bears and both were at Soldier Field in Chicago. The Bears won, 24-20, on Sept. 28, 2008 and the Eagles won, 24-20, on Nov. 22, 2009.

  1. Fat Ted - Dec 11, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    The rest of the country may get to see the game, but those of us in Philly with work the next morning are probably a bit annoyed at the prospect of staying up for this one.

  2. sfsu - Dec 11, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    It’s a gamble for NBC because if Chicago loses at Cleveland, Dallas/Detroit win their next 2, and the Eagles beat Minnesota, then the game is completely meaningless for both teams

    • BenE. - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:16 AM

      There are no meaningless games in December when you’re 8-5.

      • sfsu - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:44 AM

        Unless it’s meaningless

    • willh888 - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:28 AM

      if the birds keep winning, there’s also a possibility for a WC spot being only 1 game behind the niners and panthers. It would take some weird tie-break scenario, but all those implications the 2nd to last week of season makes for good football. Plus it’s nice to see them skip the defending champs vs. first ballot hall of famer in favor of the Birds, Bears. Last time they flexed an Eagles home game, good shit took place.

      • sfsu - Dec 11, 2013 at 10:53 AM

        Actually it looks like it can’t be “completely” meaningless, because they would still be alive for either a wild-card berth and/or a bye, depending on the NO-CAR game week 16. Still not sure if it’s worth risking injury to Foles/McCoy a week before the Dallas game, if the only possible benefit occurs with New Orleans losing in the dome to Tampa week 17.

      • BenE. - Dec 11, 2013 at 1:50 PM

        Dude seriously, sfsu? You play til the end. Why don’t you stop being a wet blanket and enjoy the ride.

  3. Mike T. - Dec 12, 2013 at 11:02 AM

    So what does this mean for the Week 17 game in Dallas? Besides Chi/GB, there aren’t many compelling, national-TV-worthy matchups to flex. In any event, it seems either the Bears or Birds will be playing SNF on back-to-back weeks.

    • Matt - Dec 15, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      There is no SNF week 17. All games end by 7-7:30.


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