During the Sunday night game between the Patriots and Texans at Houston’s NRG Stadium, NBC-TV announced that the Bills game against the Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 15 at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field, originally scheduled for a 1 p.m. kickoff has been flexed.
The game will now be played that night at 8:20 and replace the originally-scheduled matchup between Minnesota (8-3) and the struggling Los Angeles Chargers (4-8).
Buffalo is currently 9-3 and will face Baltimore (10-2) at New Era Field this coming Sunday. The same day, Pittsburgh (7-5) is at Arizona (3-8-1).
According to the NFL flexing rules, only games originally scheduled for Sunday afternoon may be moved into the prime-time spot. Games scheduled for Thursday, Saturday and Monday nights are untouchable.
Flex-schedule changes have to be announced no later than 12 days before the game day in question. For Week 17, when all the games are tentatively scheduled for 1 p.m., the league can announce flex-schedule changes six days in advance.
Starting in Week 11, Fox and CBS can protect one game in five of the next six weeks, keeping those games in their Sunday afternoon time slots. They cannot protect any games in Week 17. The networks must submit those protected games to the league after Week 5.
No team is allowed more than six prime-time appearances per season and only three teams are allowed to have six prime-time games. No team may play in the Sunday night game on NBC more than four times in a season, though Week 17 is exempt from that rule.