The NFL has moved the starting times for two games in Week 17. The league announced on Monday that the Ravens’ home game against the Rams has been moved from 4:25 to 1 p.m. ET. The Saints’ home game against the Panthers has been moved from 1 p.m. to 4:25 p.m. ET. Both games will be aired on FOX.
Sunday’s game between the Ravens and Rams has major playoff implications. Baltimore (8-7) needs a win in order to stay alive in the AFC North and wild-card races. Los Angeles (11-4), who on Sunday clinched a playoff berth after defeating the Vikings, remains in the race to win the NFC’s only playoff bye with two weeks left in the regular season. The big question mark heading into this game is the status of Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, who missed Baltimore’s last two games with an ankle injury. The Ravens were also without Tyler Huntley for Sunday’s loss in Cincinnati after Baltimore’s backup quarterback was placed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list.
While New Orleans (7-7) is still alive for a playoff berth, its upcoming game against Carolina has significantly less playoff implications. The Saints are currently one spot behind Philadelphia (8-7) for the seventh and final spot in the NFC playoffs. Carolina, who fell to 5-10 following Sunday’s blowout loss at home to the Buccaneers, are one of eight NFL teams who have already been eliminated from playoff contention.
After a hectic Week 15 that saw three games rescheduled due to COVID-19 outbreaks, there were no such issues in Week 16 after the league made several changes to its return-to-play policy. And despite the ongoing pandemic, the NFL is less than two weeks away from completing the longest regular season in league history.