The NFL has flexed its ever-growing muscles today and shifted around the Week 17 schedule to bring more attractive games into more attractive time slots. The problem is that they have, in doing so, consciously assigned advantage, and that's just not right.
The Denver-Chargers game is a no-brainer and no problem. They are the only two teams affected by their game, so it doesn't matter when they play. But other games, like Jets-Dolphins, Jags-Ravens and Cowboys-Eagles, affect other teams (namely the Patriots, Bucs and Bears), and it's not right that the League has now given these teams now playing at 4:15 the advantage of knowing what they have to do to get into the playoffs. If the Patriots win at 1pm, the Jets know they can't win the division. Will they play less hard? Maybe. Also, if the Bucs or Bears win at 1pm, the Eagles have nothing to play for. Will they play less hard against the Cowboys? These are rivalry games, so maybe not. But why take that risk? Why open the door to potentially giving the Dolphins and Cowboys big advantages by discouraging their opponents? If the League is going to switch around game times in the most crucial week of the season, they should do it to even out advantage (like have every team affected playing at the same time) instead of artificially assigning an advantage to some teams.