Packers-Niners Showdown Flexed Into Sunday Night Slot

Bill Huber

With home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs perhaps on the line, the NFL announced on Tuesday that the Green Bay Packers’ game at the San Francisco 49ers on Nov. 24 has been flexed into the Sunday night slot.

With that, the Packers will play six prime-time games.

The 49ers are 8-1 and will host Arizona on Sunday before the showdown against Green Bay. They have the best record in the NFC. The Packers held off Carolina on Sunday to move to 8-2 ahead of this week’s bye. They have the second-best record in the NFC.

Besides the obvious playoff ramifications, a subplot of the game will be Packers coach Matt LaFleur facing off against 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan. They worked together with the Houston Texans in 2008 and 2009, Washington Redskins from 2010 through 2013, and Atlanta Falcons in 2015 and 2016. Shanahan was those teams’ offensive coordinators while LaFleur was an offensive assistant in Houston and quarterbacks coach for Washington and Atlanta.

It’s not just his friendship with Shanahan, though. LaFleur’s brother, Mike, is the 49ers’ passing game coordinator. Matt LaFleur was interested in having his brother join him on his fledgling coaching staff but that was blocked by Shanahan.

“I always keep close eye on them,” LaFleur said. “And I have a lot of friends on that staff, got a lot of respect for what they do. I think they’re pretty innovative. Shoot, the defensive coordinator, Robert Saleh, is one of my closest buddies in the profession. He’s one of the guys who actually got me into the National Football League so, yeah, I’m always keeping an eye on what they’re doing.”

The Packers are 3-1 in prime-time games, with a win at Chicago in Week 1, a loss at home to Philadelphia in Week 4, a win at home over Detroit in Week 6 and a win at Kansas City in Week 8.

After the San Francisco game, the Packers will have consecutive noon Sunday games at the Giants, at home against Washington and at home against Chicago before a Monday night game at Minnesota in Week 16. The season is scheduled to conclude at home against Detroit at noon on Sunday, Dec. 29.