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In somewhat of a surprise, NFL owners approved a modified proposal that will allow "Thursday Night Football" games between Weeks 13-17 to be flexed. Only two flexes are allowed all season, however, and 28 days notice is required.

The purpose of the flex is to avoid airing games on Thursday night late in the season that have little or no bearing on the playoffs. It means that, barring subpar seasons by the teams currently scheduled to play on Thursday night between Weeks 13-17, there's a good chance that those games will remain in prime time. Conversely, if one or both teams are struggling, the NFL will more than likely flex that game out in exchange for a more compelling matchup. 

One thing worth pointing out: The NFL rule is that two short-week Thursday games is the limit for the entire season. That means the five teams who already have two short-week Thursday games -- the Lions, Packers, 49ers, Commanders and Bears -- would not be eligible to be flexed.

Here are the five Thursday night games between Weeks 13-17 that could get flexed, along with games that could possibly replace them. 

Week 13: Seahawks at Cowboys 

Given the Cowboys' national appeal, it's pretty unlikely that this game will be flexed. The Cowboys are again expected to be a contender in the NFL after winning 12 games each of the last two seasons. Seattle is also expected to be good after being arguably the NFL's most surprising playoff team in 2022. 

It would take something highly unexpected for Seahawks-Cowboys to be flexed. But if it was, the Broncos-Texans showdown could be an interesting pick. While neither team was good last season, the Broncos are ushering in a new era with former Saints coach and Super Bowl XLIV champion Sean Payton. The Texans are also beginning a new era with former 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans and No. 2 overall pick C.J. Stroud. This could be a fun game between two up-and-coming teams. 

Week 14: Patriots at Steelers 

This matchup has a higher chance of being flexed than the one in Week 13. New England, coming off an 8-9 campaign, could be in for another long year. The Steelers, 9-8 last season, have another Thursday night game on the docket (at home against the Titans in Week 9). It doesn't help that the NFL has several intriguing matchups to choose from if they decide to flex this game. 

One of those matchups could be Jacksonville vs. Cleveland. The Jaguars are coming off a surprising playoff run, while the Browns are expected to be better this season after finishing last in the AFC North in 2022. This would be a prime-time matchup between two former Clemson quarterbacks in Trevor Lawrence and Deshaun Watson. The Browns already have a Thursday night game on tap, however, which could make this less likely.

Week 15: Chargers at Raiders 

Barring one of these teams laying an egg, there's a very small chance this game gets flexed. The Chargers-Raiders rivalry is one of the NFL's best, not to mention that it probably doesn't make sense to remove a prime-time game played in Las Vegas. 

It also helps that there aren't a ton of other juicy matchups on tap for Week 15. The Jets-Dolphins matchup is also notable, but New York already has six prime-time games that includes one on Thursday night (more on that below). The 49ers-Cardinals game would probably be the NFL's best option, but only if both teams are in contention. San Francisco should be good if they have a healthy quarterback under center. The Cardinals are more of a wild card as they are coming off a 4-13 season. 

Week 16: Saints at Rams 

Of all the "TNF" matchups between Weeks 13-18, Saints-Rams has the highest chance at being flexed. Both teams had losing records last season, and neither is necessarily expected to compete for a Lombardi Trophy in 2023. Derek Carr's arrival in New Orleans, however, could keep the Saints afloat while keeping this game on Thursday night. But that would require Carr to play better than he did in 2022, when he was benched late in what was ultimately his final year with the Raiders. 

While Saints-Rams isn't the most attractive matchup, the NFL may decide to keep this game on Thursday night to avoid shaking up the Christmas schedule too much (the Thursday game is Dec. 21). But if they did, a Packers-Panthers matchup could make sense. Similar to Broncos-Texans in Week 13, the Packers and Panthers are two young teams with young quarterbacks in Jordan Love and Bryce Young. It also helps that the Packers have a massive following and the Panthers could be contenders in the wide open NFC South division. 

Week 17: Jets at Browns 

Given the expectations surrounding Aaron Rodgers and the Jets, there's almost no way this game gets flexed unless the Jets woefully underperform. As stated earlier, the Browns are also expected to be competitive in 2023, so the odds of this game being flexed look slim. 

But if it is flexed, the Dolphins-Ravens showdown would be a good alternative. Both teams have just three prime-time games on tap, so it would make sense for the NFL to give both teams an additional prime-time game if their records warrant it. Along with having a compelling QB matchup between Tua Tagovailoa and Lamar Jackson, this game will surly have AFC playoff implications.