NFL approves Thursday night flex scheduling and what it means for Packers in 2023
The NFL voted on Monday to approve a modified flex scheduling program for “Thursday Night Football” starting in 2023. Under the new rules, the league can flex games in and out of the Thursday night time slot between Weeks 13-17 this season. Flexing games must be done 28 days before, no team can be flexed from Sunday to Thursday night more than once per season, and no team will play more than two Thursday night games per season. Also, the league can only flex two Thursday night games per year.
What does this mean for the Green Bay Packers?
For now, not much. The Packers host the Detroit Lions for “Thursday Night Football” in Week 4, well before the flex scheduling window. The team’s only other Thursday game is on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit. The holiday matchup is not subject to flex scheduling.
However, the Packers could, in theory, get a second Thursday night game later in the season. During the flex window, the Packers play afternoon (noon kickoff) games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers in Weeks 15 and 16, respectively. The current schedule has the Los Angeles Chargers visiting the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 15 and the New Orleans Saints visiting the Los Angeles Rams in Week 16. It’s possible the league could eventually see the Packers’ matchups against the two NFC South teams as better draws, especially if Green Bay is in the playoff hunt late in the season.
A few things to consider, however. The Packers play on the road against the New York Giants on “Monday Night Football” in Week 14, so the NFL wouldn’t consider moving Green Bay to Thursday night the very next week, taking away any possibility of Week 15’s matchup against the Buccaneers being flexed. The game to circle is Dec. 24 against the Panthers. Rams-Saints could be a shaky matchup, but Jordan Love vs. No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young could be an appealing option to flex to Thursday night.