The Carolina Panthers' crucial Week 14 NFC South showdown at the New Orleans Saints is moving to prime time.
Originally scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 8 at 1 p.m. ET on FOX, the game will now be played at 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC's Sunday Night Football. This represents the second time the Panthers have had a game switched to Sunday night since the NFL began utilizing flexible scheduling in 2006. Carolina was previously flexed in 2008 at the New York Giants (12/21/08).
The NFL uses flexible scheduling on Sundays in Weeks 11-17. Flexible scheduling ensures quality matchups in all NFL Sunday time slots in those weeks and gives teams a chance to play their way onto prime time or into the late-afternoon 4:25 p.m. time slot on CBS or FOX.
The Panthers last played on Sunday night four years ago when they defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 26-7, at Bank of America Stadium (12/20/09). But this will not be their first exposure to prime time this season. Carolina previously beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 31-13, on Thursday Night Football (10/25/13) and New England Patriots, 24-20, on Monday Night Football (11/18/13).
Carolina holds a 13-16 overall record in primetime games, including a 5-7 mark on Sunday Night Football.
For each flexible scheduling week with the exception of Week 17, the NFL announces the start times of games on Sundays no later than 12 days prior to that weekend. To ensure a Sunday night game and doubleheader games with playoff implications in Week 17, flexible scheduling decisions for that Sunday can be made on six days notice.