NEW YORK (The Sports Network) – A showdown for the NFC East title will take place in prime time during the final week of the regular season when the Dallas Cowboys play on the road against the New York Giants.
It’ll be a winner-take-all scenario for the January 1, 8:20 p.m. (et) contest as both teams enter the game with 8-7 records. The Giants beat the playoff- hopeful New York Jets, 29-14, Saturday afternoon and then saw the Cowboys falter at home to Philadelphia, 20-7.
This will be the second Sunday night game between the clubs in a four-week span. On December 11, the Giants rallied from a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter to post a 37-34 win at Cowboys Stadium.
The league flexed three other contests, moving them from early-afternoon starts to later in the day.
With the AFC North still in the balance, both games involving teams from that division were switched to 4:15 p.m. (et). The Baltimore Ravens (11-4), who have already clinched a playoff spot, can claim the division title and a first-round bye with a victory at Cincinnati. A victory for the Bengals (9-6) will assure them of a postseason berth.
Pittsburgh (11-4), which still has an opportunity to win the AFC North, visits Cleveland (4-11) in a late-afternoon tilt. Because the playoff-bound Steelers lost twice to the Ravens, they’ll need to beat the Browns and hope Baltimore loses to capture the division championship.
Switching to the NFC, Atlanta’s home game against the Buccaneers (4-11) also moves to 4:15 p.m. The Falcons (9-5) have an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot before the final week of the season. If the Bears lose at Green Bay on Christmas night, Atlanta is in the postseason. The Falcons could also gain a playoff spot with a victory at New Orleans this Monday night.
The NFL still hasn’t decided on start times for two final regular season games: Chicago at Minnesota, and Carolina at New Orleans. Those will be announced following results of the Sunday and Monday night contests.
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