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Cowboys-Giants flexed to Sunday Night Football

New York quarterback Manning reacts after running back Jacobs scored a touchdown against Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) reacts after running back Brandon Jacobs (not in picture) scored a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys to win the game in the final minute of their NFL football game in Arlington, Texas December 11, 2011. REUTERS/Tim Sharp (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)


The results of Saturday’s games created a lot compelling playoff scenarios for Week 17.

But only one game next week was guaranteed to include a win-and-in scenario if played on Sunday night. And so that game, Cowboys-Giants, will be played next Sunday night.

The NFL announced that Dallas’ trip to the Meadowlands was flexed to 8:20 p.m. ET next Sunday.

Many other games were logical options, including Broncos-Chiefs. But there was a scenario in which Denver could have clinched the AFC West before Sunday night if the Raiders lost early, so ultimately Giants-Cowboys got the call.

(We strongly suspect Broncos-Chiefs would have been the game if the Chargers had won in Detroit Saturday. But San Diego’s loss created a way that Orton vs. Tebow didn’t mean anything.)

It’s hard to imagine a better finale than Cowboys-Giants. The winner gets the NFC East crown. The loser will be home for the playoffs, with the losing head coach in serious hot water. If it’s anything like the first Giants-Cowboys game, we are in for a treat for the 2011 regular season finale.

Three games were moved to 4:15 p.m. ET. The AFC North will be decided when the Ravens and Bengals face off at the same time as Steelers-Browns. Baltimore can clinch a bye if they win in Cincinnati, while the Bengals can clinch the final playoff spot in the AFC if they win. The Bucs-Falcons game was also moved to 4:15 p.m. ET.