The NFL will utilize a primetime flexible scheduling element for the 2015 season on Sundays in Weeks 5-17. Flexible scheduling ensures quality matchups on Sunday nights throughout the season and gives surprise teams a chance to play their way into primetime.
The NFL has the ability to change the start times of games on Sunday afternoon to 8:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, using a 12-day notice format in Weeks 5-16 and a six-day notice format in Week 17. For example, a game scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 15 at 1:00 p.m. ET could be moved to 8:30 p.m., but the change would be announced no later than Tuesday, Nov. 3. The game originally scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 15 at 8:30 p.m. ET would then be moved to an afternoon time slot at 1:00, 4:05 or 4:25 p.m. ET.
During Weeks 5-10, flexible scheduling can be used in no more than two weeks by shifting a Sunday afternoon game into primetime and moving the Sunday night game to an afternoon start time. In Weeks 11-17, any Sunday night game can be flexed.
For the 2015 season, flexible scheduling has the potential to affect Panthers' games at Seattle on Oct. 18, versus Philadelphia on Oct. 25, versus Green Bay on Nov. 8, at Tennessee on Nov. 15, versus Washington on Nov. 22, at New Orleans on Dec. 6, versus Atlanta on Dec. 13, at the New York Giants on Dec. 20, at Atlanta on Dec. 27, and versus Tampa Bay on Jan. 3.
Only Sunday afternoon games may be changed, and flexible scheduling does not apply to games on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights. As a result, Panthers' games versus Indianapolis on Nov. 2 and at Dallas on Nov. 26 cannot be flexed. However, Sunday afternoon games can still be moved between 1:00 and 4:05 or 4:25 p.m. ET.
Also, a select number of games can be "cross-flexed," moving between CBS and FOX to bring potentially under-distributed games to wider audiences.