Bill Belichick vs. Josh McDaniels isn't as compelling as it used to be, according to the NFL.
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ESPN's Adam Schefter confirmed reports on Monday that the Patriots' Week 15 Sunday Night Football game against McDaniels and the Las Vegas Raiders is being flexed out of primetime in favor of an NFC East grudge match between the Washington Commanders and New York Giants.
The Commanders (7-5-1) and Giants (7-4-1), who have become two of the NFL's bigger surprises in 2022, just tied last Sunday and will be jockeying for what could be the final NFC playoff spot. The Patriots (6-6) and Raiders (5-7), meanwhile, are slogging through disappointing seasons and are both currently on the outside looking in at the AFC playoff picture.
The Patriots-Raiders matchup will now be played at 4:05 p.m. and broadcast on FOX, and there's still plenty of intrigue around McDaniels' first regular-season game against his old mentor Belichick since 2009. The two teams held joint practices and played each other in the third week of preseason, but the Raiders largely rested their starters for the game.
New England has dropped all three primetime games they've had this season, including their last two games against the Minnesota Vikings and the Buffalo Bills on consecutive Thursday nights.
Las Vegas has also begun to shake off a horrible start to the season, having won three straight games and finally showing the offensive promise that made them preseason playoff contenders. They've topped 400 yards of total offense in each game of their win streak and face a Patriots team that has struggled to contain dynamic quarterbacks and skill players this year.
Still, having a game with those kinds of storylines bumped out of Sunday Night Football in favor of the Commanders and Giants tells you everything about how this season has gone for both teams to this point.