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May 23, 2023

New rule means NFL could flex these two Eagles games to second Thursday Nighter

The NFL's new Thursday Night Football flex rules could impact the Eagles and their matchups this season.

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Jordan_Mailata_Eagles_49ers_Frese.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

PHILADELPHIA - SEPTEMBER 19: Jordan Mailata #68 of the Philadelphia Eagles blocks during the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Lincoln Financial Field on September 19, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Kate Frese for PhillyVoice)

The NFL thinks the Eagles will be one of the biggest viewership draws this season — which is why the defending NFC Champions have five primetime games on their 2023 schedule.

The maximum number of night games a team can play is six, and if the Eagles are a playoff team again it stands to reason that they will be flexed into a sixth. But there is a new wrinkle that could make it just a little tougher for the Birds this season. On Monday, among other rule changes, the NFL announced that it would allow Amazon to swap games between Weeks 13 and 17. 

The league says it must provide a team with 28 days of notice, and also that a team cannot play two Thursday Night away games. If you look at the Eagles' schedule there are only two potential matchups that fit this criteria.

Week 13 vs the 49ers

Since both the Niners and Eagles have home Thursday games on the slate, this seems like the most likely game to be flexed. It also will likely be between two contenders in the NFC. This would be a home game which benefits the Eagles, but it would be on short rest four days after hosting one of the AFC's best in the Bills. 

Week 17 vs the Cardinals

This is the only other potential swap for the Eagles. Arizona does not have a Thursday game planned this year so this move would not mess up their schedule. The Cardinals are, however, expected to be one of the worst teams in football so a primetime clash between the Eagles and Jonathan Gannon's new team doesn't seem all that possible just based on a competitive standpoint, but you never know.

The other games the Eagles have between Week 13 and 17 are ineligible to be moved. In Week 14 they already play the Cowboys in primetime. In Week 15, the Seahawks cannot be swapped because they already have two Thursday games. And their Christmas Day game against the Giants cannot be moved because it would give New York a second away game on a Thursday.

There are other teams with more flexibility on the schedule and it would make much more sense for other games to be moved for Amazon's broadcast purposes. But if the Eagles are red hot midway through the season, keep an eye on that NFC title rematch. It's ripe for being moved either to Thursday or to Sunday or Monday under the lights.

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