On Sunday night, the NFL announced changes in kickoff times for Week 17 in order to keep all the games with playoff implications going on at the same time. With this in mind, games involving the Steelers, Titans, Raiders, and Colts all were flexed to a 4:25 PM kickoff. While the intent of keeping these games at the same time was to keep a team from changing their philosophy based on an outcome earlier in the day, there was one game missing which could affect all of these games the most. Which game would it be? It is the Los Angeles Chargers visiting the Kansas City Chiefs for a 1 PM kickoff.
The reason the Chiefs game comes into play so much in the playoff scenario is right now they are the number three seed in the AFC. If the Chiefs were to lose to the Chargers on Sunday, the Houston Texans would have the opportunity to move up to the third seed with a win based on the fact they have a head-to-head tiebreaker against the Chiefs. But if the Chiefs are able to take down the Chargers, the Texans no longer have anything to play for in their final game of the season as their playoff spot will be locked in.
With the Texans hosting the Tennessee Titans, this is the most important game in the AFC playoff scenario. If the Titans win the game, no other games matter as they have locked in the final wildcard spot of the 2019 NFL playoffs in the AFC. But if the Titans were to lose to the Texans much like they did at home two weeks ago, then both the Steelers and Raiders would still be alive to claim the final spot.
So why did the NFL leave this game at an earlier time which could affect the Texans philosophy for the final week of the season? If it was important to the scenario, shouldn’t it have been moved to 4:25 PM?
I’ve seen several people note on either social media or comment sections on various articles that the NFL just has it out for the Steelers. By making the path easier for the Titans if the Texans were to rest their players, both the Steelers and Raiders would be directly affected by the NFL’s decision.
But did the NFL make this decision in order to help level the playing field? The reason this is a possibility is the Steelers are playing a team in the Baltimore Ravens who cannot change their playoff seeding and are locked into the AFC’s top spot. Is it really fair for the Steelers to face a team who is resting their starters and not be the same situation for the Titans? Is leaving the game at 1 PM actually trying to make things more fair rather than shaft a certain franchise?
I can’t say for sure. Honestly, that’s why am asking you all to let me know your thoughts.
Interestingly, as of right now head coach Bill O’Brien has stated the Texans are playing to win the game and are not planning to rest any players. While this was a statement made on Monday, we’ll see how it plays out throughout the week or if the philosophy changes come kickoff. With the Ravens already listing several players who will not play in Week 17, the Las Vegas odds makers have taken it into account so much so the Steelers are actually favored by two points in Baltimore.
But if one were to read between the lines, Las Vegas oddsmakers don’t believe the statement made by Coach O’Brien of the Texans. Two weeks ago in Tennessee, the Titans were favored by three points. With all of the things being considered, the natural progression would be for the teams to be even on a neutral field and a three point advantage to the home team. The current spread in the Titans’ game has them favored on the road by five points in Houston. Based on this spread, it appears the odds makers believe Houston will hold out some key players at some point in the game.
While it is an interesting point of discussion, the Steelers had their chances over the last two weeks to control their own fate but instead managed to only score 10 points in each of the last two games and now need help to make the postseason. With all the injuries on the offensive side of the ball, it is amazing the defense has carried this team to this point of the season to where they are still in the playoff picture. But being able to finish things off and qualify for the postseason would be icing on the cake for the 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers and there much-improved defense.
So what do you all think? Was it fair for the NFL to keep the Chiefs game at 1 PM which could give the Texans the opportunity to rest their players? Or should the NFL have been consistent and moved the game to 4:25 PM? Make sure you leave your answer in the survey below!
Why didn’t the NFL move the Chiefs’ game to a 4:25 PM kickoff?
This poll is closed
They have it out for the Steelers and don’t want them in the postseason
It’s fair for the Titans to face a team with nothing to play for much like the Steelers
The NFL dropped the ball and didn’t realize the importance of Chiefs game
Other (leave the reason in the comments below)