After two weeks of flex scheduling involving no flexing at all, the NFL and NBC have decided to swap out the tentatively-scheduled Sunday night game in Week 13.
And that means the game between the Patriots and Dolphins will move out of the 8:30 p.m. ET slot, giving way to a visit by the Vikings to Arizona.
It’s a rematch of a Week 15 matchup from 2008, during which the Vikings clobbered the Cardinals on their own field, 35-14. The win was fueled by four touchdown passes from Tarvaris Jackson, who threw only 16 times in the entire game. Bernard Berrian, who caught a 41-yard touchdown pass, started the scoring with an 82-yard punt return to paydirt.
So even though the Vikings have Brett Favre on the roster this year, it’s hard to expect him to top one of the best performances of Jackson’s career.
A non-NBC source with access to the top-secret list of protected games tells us that, for Week 13, CBS had placed Tennessee at Indianapolis on the off-limits list, and FOX had squatted on Cowboys at Giants.
All other games were fair game — including Mike Vick’s return to Atlanta.
With the Cardinals at 7-3 and the Vikings at 9-1, the game could decide whether Arizona or Minnesota finagles a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs. Still, it’s strange that the NFL and NBC would give up a chance to showcase the Patriots in prime time. And we’ve got a feeling that Bill Belichick will find a way to spin the decision into evidence of disrespect.