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NFL to move Patriots-Raiders game out of Sunday night slot

MassLive.com 12/5/2022 Mark Daniels, masslive.com

The Patriots matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders has lost some national appeal.

On Monday, the NFL announced that the Patriots and Raiders matchup on Dec. 18 will be moved out of the night-game slot. Instead of the original start time of 8:20 p.m., this game will now start at 4:05 p.m. The NFL moved the Washington Commanders-New York Giants matchup into the primetime slot in Week 15.

This isn’t a surprise. What was initially a marquee matchup between Bill Belichick’s Patriots and Josh McDaniels’ Raiders has turned into a game between two teams that might not make the playoffs.

At 6-6, the Patriots are currently a game out of the postseason picture. They’re currently in the eight spot in the AFC behind the seventh seeded New York Jets. The Raiders have also had a tough time this season. Las Vegas has won three-straight games, but at 5-7, they’re currently in the tenth seed in the AFC play picture and three places out of the last wild card spot.

Initially, the Patriots had four night games scheduled in a row. Instead, they’ll play three-straight late games when they match up with the Arizona Cardinals next Monday night. The Patriots are expected to stay out west in Arizona following that game in order to prepare for their Week 15 matchup with the Raiders.

“We’ve done that before,” Belichick said on WEEI’s ‘The Greg Hill Show’ when asked about the team staying out west. “Vegas is a team we have some familiarity with from preseason. We spent time with them out there, but at the same time, a lot of things have changed for them and us since back in August. We’ll start to work on (the Raiders), we have different people on staff doing different things, some people move ahead and other people stay and focus on the game (against Arizona) we have. We’ll be on our normal cycle there.”

For the Patriots, every game is important now. FiveThirtyEight’s NFL prediction model gives them a 25% chance of making the playoffs. If they beat the Cardinals and Raiders, that number shoots up to 64%.

Although the Patriots-Raiders game won’t be the Sunday night matchup, it’s still in must-win territory for the Patriots as long as they beat the Cardinals.

©2022 Advance Local Media LLC. Visit masslive.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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