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The Ravens-Bengals game for next Sunday has been flexed out of the 1 p.m. time slot and will be played at 4:15, the league announced Saturday.
The Ravens potentially had a chance to get flexed into the primetime game on NBC, but the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants will instead play on Sunday Night Football with the NFC East title on the line.
Next week’s game in Cincinnati between the Ravens and Bengals has tremendous playoff implications for both teams.
If the Ravens win, they capture the AFC North crown and will be awarded a first round bye and at least one home playoff game. Baltimore would get one of the AFC’s top two seeds and could potentially get the top seed, depending on if New England beats the Buffalo Bills.
Entering the playoffs as the one or two seed would be the best position the Ravens have ever been in under Head Coach John Harbaugh.
Cincinnati (8-7) will be playing for a chance to make the playoffs as a Wild Card seed. If the Bengals beat Baltimore, then Cincinnati is guaranteed to make the postseason, which would give the AFC North three playoff teams because Pittsburgh has already clinched a playoff spot.
“They are fighting for their lives, we’re fighting for the division” Ravens linebacker Jarret Johnson said. “So it’s going to be a playoff game.”
The NFL has a flex scheduling option for Week 17 to guarantee that the primetime games feature matchups with playoff implications.
The other changes to the schedule are that Tampa Bay at Atlanta and Pittsburgh at Cleveland will both be played at 4:15 p.m.
Chicago at Minnesota and Carolina at New Orleans could also be moved to 4:15, depending on what happens in the Falcons-Saints matchup on Monday Night Football this week.