With the NFL season already approaching the weeks in which we have flex scheduling (this year is going FAST, isn't it?), we found out today which games have been protected by networks.
Basically, the networks broadcasting the afternoon games (CBS and FOX) can highlight one game per week that they want to protect. This means that those games cannot be flexed to Sunday Night Football for that week, preserving the ratings for that seemingly important game later this year. ESPN's Adam Schefter tweeted the list of those games earlier this afternoon, and there's a game with the Colts that has been protected by CBS - the week sixteen matchup in Dallas against the Cowboys.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Networks have made their choices as to what games to protect so they can't be flexed to Sunday nights: <a href="http://t.co/QhJOHpj9sn">pic.twitter.com/QhJOHpj9sn</a></p>— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) <a href="https://twitter.com/AdamSchefter/status/524253647249887233">October 20, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
On Sunday, December 21, the Colts travel to Dallas to face the Cowboys, who have been perhaps the biggest surprise of the 2014 football season so far, as they're 6-1 and looking very tough. The Colts are 5-2 and have been playing great football in the past five weeks. It seems likely that both teams will continue to win and that the matchup in week sixteen will be a pretty good game. It's a 4:25 kickoff, and it would have been a prime candidate to potentially be flexed to Sunday night. Now, CBS has protected that game so that it cannot be flexed. This means that it will not be nationally televised as a night game, though it's likely that it will be broadcast in multiple areas as one of the games of the week.
That is the only Colts game that has been protected, but that was also really the only option to be flexed to Sunday night as well. The Colts have one remaining Sunday night game scheduled (two night games total), in week eleven at home against the New England Patriots. They've already played on Sunday night in week one against the Denver Broncos.