The NFL has moved the Patriots/Dolphins game from the Dec. 6 NBC Sunday night matchup to a 1 p.m. start to make way for two first-place teams. It is its first flex move of the season.
The Sunday night game will now be the 9-1 Minnesota Vikings against the 7-3 Arizona Cardinals, featuring two iconic, veteran, Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks, Brett Farve and Kurt Warner.
The NFL has the flexibility to move late-season Sunday afternoon games into that prime time Sunday night slot so it can highlight contests with the biggest playoff implications or marquee matchups. It makes the decision in conjunction with the broadcasters set to televise the game. In the case of Sunday Night Football, NBC.
This is the third week in which the NFL could have exercised its flex option, but the first time it has done so.
The Patriots have already had their iconic Sunday night game of the season. Two weeks ago, Sunday night played host to one of the best games in recent memory as the Indianapolis Colts came back from a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Tom Brady and company thanks in part to a fourth down call by the Patriots that became fodder for plenty of Monday-morning quarterbacking.