As has been the case since 2006, the NFL has the option to implement a flexible scheduling option beginning in Week 11 of the season, where it can change the time of a Sunday afternoon game to a prime time 8:20 p.m. kickoff.
The Steelers now know that three of the four home games that fall between Weeks 11-17 – against Oakland on Nov. 21, against the New York Jets on Dec. 19 and against Carolina on Dec. 23 – will not be flexed. Steelers season ticket holders therefore can plan accordingly.
The NFL recently announced the schedule for Week 11 (Nov. 21), and the decision was made to keep the New York Giants at Philadelphia game in its original 8:20 p.m. time slot. The Steelers will host the Raiders that day at 1 p.m. at Heinz Field.
Networks have the option to protect certain kickoff times over the course of the flexible scheduling period, and CBS has exercised that right to keep Jets at Steelers as a 4:15 p.m. kickoff on Dec. 19.
The game against Carolina is on a Thursday night and will be televised by NFL Network. Games originally scheduled for Thursdays, Saturdays and Mondays are not subject to the flexible scheduling process.
By the process of elimination, the Steelers games still in play as far as flexible scheduling are three, and only one is a home game: the 1 p.m. game at Buffalo on Nov. 28, the 1 p.m. game vs. the Bengals on Dec. 12 at Heinz Field, and the 1 p.m. game in Cleveland on Jan. 2.