The NFL will utilize a primetime flexible scheduling element for the 2013 season on Sundays in Weeks 11-17. Flexible scheduling ensures quality match-ups on Sunday nights late in the year 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 11-16 and a six-day notice format in Week 17. For example, a game scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 24 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. 12. The game originally scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 24 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.
For the 2013 season, flexible scheduling has the potential to affect Panthers' games at Miami on Nov. 24, versus Tampa Bay on Dec. 1, at New Orleans on Dec. 8, versus the New York Jets on Dec. 15, versus New Orleans on Dec. 22 and at Atlanta on Dec. 29. Fans planning to attend games during flexible scheduling weeks should be aware that game times are subject to change, and they may have to adjust their plans in the event of an altered kickoff time.
Only Sunday afternoon games may be changed, and flexible scheduling does not apply to games on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights. As a result, the Panthers' game versus New England on Nov. 18 cannot be flexed. However, Sunday afternoon games can still be moved between 1:00 and 4:05 or 4:25 p.m. ET.