The St. Louis Rams return to prime time in Week 14 for a road game against the Seattle Seahawks. Last season closed with a memorable prime time loss to the Seahawks in the closing week of the season, a game that decided the NFC West winner. In many ways that game was a preview for the disappointing 2011 Rams, a team wholly unable to compete. It marked the beginning of the likely end for the coach and general manager who failed to build on their success last season.
One big difference between this year's game and last year's: the television ratings. Last season's Week 17 prime time finale set records. That looks unlikely this week.
ESPN's Week 13 Monday Night Football, between the Chargers and Jaguars, earned a season-low 6.9 overnight rating. Based on that, this week's game should score even lower, featuring the league's second worst team playing against the most forgettable five-win team in the league.
The NFL is expected to resolve the flex scheduling questions for next week's game between the Broncos and Patriots; NBC and CBS are fighting over it. Monday Night Football is immune from flex scheduling, obviously a blessing and curse. ESPN pays $1.9 billion per season for their Monday night package. The NFL is nearing completion of a deal with the three broadcast networks to extend television rights through 2021 at a 60 percent increase, and the league is expected to start shopping a Thursday night package for more money soon.
If the Rams are going to get a prime time game next year, they'll most likely have to earn it by getting flexed into one of those spots. Stranger things have happened.