Yesterday, the NFL announced that it has slightly re-organized the final week of the 2016 regular season. One of the games potentially affected by the changes would have been the New England Patriots’ game on the road against the Miami Dolphins. Potentially, because flexing the game from its original 1:00 PM ET slot to a later one was dependent on yesterday’s games.
If one or both of the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos won to keep their playoff aspirations alive, Patriots at Dolphins would get flexed to 4:25 PM ET. If both lost, the game would stay in its original 1:00 PM ET slot. Turns out, scenario two took place as the Ravens lost a last-second thriller to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Broncos were blown out by the Kansas City Chiefs.
As a result, New England will play its regular season finale at 1:00 PM ET. The team would probably have preferred a switch back to the later slot in order to avoid playing in the midday Miami sun. But no matter the game time, the Patriots need a win to stay ahead in the race for the AFC’s number one playoff seed.