There was always a possibility.
Had the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens finished week 16 with only a game between them, the regular season finale at Paul Brown Stadium would have determined the AFC North Championship. Despite Cincinnati recently having a horrible showing last week on Sunday Night against the Steelers, the regular season finale could have had critical importance with significant playoff implications.
Instead the Bengals blew out the Minnesota Vikings and the New England Patriots blew out the Baltimore Ravens, separating the Bengals and Ravens by two games with one remaining and awarding the division championship to Cincinnati.
Yes, both teams have something to play for next week. The Bengals are looking at the No. 2 seed while avoiding the No. 4 seed. The Baltimore Ravens desperately need a win as one of four wild card teams vying for the final wild card spot.
But when the Dallas Cowboys beat the Washington Redskins, setting up an NFC East showdown between the Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, it was a foregone conclusion that was eventually confirmed by NBC.
NBC announced during their broadcast during Philadelphia's win over the Chicago Bears, that the Eagles and Cowboys have been flexed into Sunday Night Football for week 17. Also due to the Bears losing, the Bears and Packers have been moved to a 4:25 (E.T) start.
The Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens will remain with a 1:00 p.m. start time.