Despite being eliminated from the playoffs, the Cleveland Browns season finale has been flexed by the National Football League.
Cleveland will take on the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 30. Kickoff has been moved from 1:00p.m. to 4:25p.m. CBS Sports will still broadcast the game. The broadcast crew will be announced later this week.
The Browns and Ravens game was one of a few week 17 games that have been flexed by the league. In week 17, the NFL uses flex scheduling rules to guarantee that games with playoff implications take place at the same time.
Cleveland will have an impact on who wins the AFC North in week 17. The Ravens hold a half game lead on the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh hosts the Cincinnati Bengals in week 17. That game is also flexed to 4:25p.m.
If the Browns beat the Ravens and the Steelers beat the Bengals, Pittsburgh wins the AFC North. A Browns loss to the Ravens and Baltimore wins the AFC North. Pittsburgh will be eliminated from the playoffs.
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With the Ravens and Browns winning their week 16 games, there has been speculation the NFL would flex the week 17 meeting out of the 1:00p.m. window of games.
Fans were hoping the Browns and Ravens would be flexed to Sunday Night Football. The battle of rookie quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson is an interesting battle that could provide solid rating for NBC, but that did not happen.
Nevertheless, the Browns being involved in a flex game in week 17 is another positive step in the rebuilding process after an 0-16 season just one year ago.