The Indianapolis Colts have played four primetime games so far this season through ten games, but they have just one remaining in the final six weeks of the season. There had been some talk about that game possibly getting flexed, but the NFL has announced that won't be the case.
The Pittsburgh Steelers will host the Colts in week 13 on Sunday Night Football, and the league has officially announced what was reported yesterday: the game will stay at an 8:30 kickoff on December 6.
Flex scheduling is something the NFL implemented for later in the season to allow the league to have better matchups in primetime. For example, last night's game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Cincinnati Bengals was originally going to be a 4:05 kickoff with the San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs playing in primetime, but a few weeks ago the NFL flexed the Cardinals vs. Bengals game to Sunday night to allow for a primetime matchup of two of the league's best teams. That proved to be a tremendous choice, as Arizona and Cincinnati played one of the best and most entertaining games of the year, while the Chiefs beat the Chargers 33-3. That's exactly what flex scheduling is intended to do - put the best matchups in the best time slots.
There was some question about the Colts vs. Steelers game in week 13 because of the reality that Andrew Luck will likely not be playing in that game as he recovers from a lacerated kidney and a torn abdominal muscle. Despite that, it makes sense for the league to keep this game where it is. The NFL did do some flex scheduling in week 13 in moving the Panthers vs. Saints game to 4:25 and moving the Bengals vs. Browns game at 1:00 to FOX, but they opted to leave the Colts and the Steelers in the national Sunday night slot. The game will feature two teams fighting for a playoff spot and could very well be a preview of a Wild Card matchup in the playoffs. The Steelers currently sit at 6-4, but they are a couple of games behind the Bengals and are more realistically going to make a strong push for the wild card spot than the division title. The Colts, meanwhile, are 5-5 and hanging on atop the AFC South, if only due to a tiebreaker. This game could be a late-season battle between two potential playoff teams who are going to be fighting to stay in the race, and as a result the league will keep it in primetime.