The NFL is pulling the Los Angeles Rams-San Francisco 49ers from the Week 7 Sunday night prime time slot and replacing it with the Kansas City Chiefs-Cincinnati Bengals matchup, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Week 7, Oct. 21, the 4-1 Bengals and 5-0 Chiefs are being flexed to Sunday night, per source. Rams-49ers, which was scheduled for that night, will be moved to 4:25 pm. So it’ll be two straight Sunday night games for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Bengals lone SNF appearance.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 9, 2018
The 49ers are off to a sluggish 1-4 start and simply won't draw the same television ratings with $137.5 million quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo out for the season after tearing his ACL in Week 3. With the Rams sitting pretty at 5-0, it's easy to believe their visit to Levi Stadium in San Francisco will be a lopsided victory, so this had to be an easy decision for the NFL.
The Chiefs enter Week 6 with a 5-0 record, while the Bengals are off to a surprising 4-1 start. It'll be a battle of two of the AFC's top teams, with both fighting for potential home field advantage. This promises to draw big time ratings for the NFL, and as Schefter noted, it's Cincinnati's only appearance on Sunday Night Football, unless the league flexes more of their games into prime time.
Sunday Night Football game flexing began taking place in the 2006 season, allowing the league to take out matchups that no longer look enticing and replace them with games that look more appealing to the fans. There weren't any game flexes in the 2017 season, but there were a pair in 2016 and a whopping four during the 2015 campaign.
San Francisco has a Monday Night prime time game with the Green Bay Packers in Week 6, and their Sunday night Week 13 road contest vs. the Seattle Seahawks looks like a sure bet to get flexed as well. The 49ers host the Oakland Raiders on Thursday Night Football in Week 9, but the NFL can't flex out weekday games.
As Schefter noted, Week 7 will be the Chiefs' second consecutive appearance on Sunday Night Football. They also host the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night in Week 11 and will visit the Seattle Seahawks on an NBC prime time contest in Week 16. It really is the Patrick Mahomes show right now, to say the least.