Ravens fans no longer have to worry about whether to use their tickets to a competitive AFC matchup at M&T Bank Stadium or attend their original New Year’s Eve plans.

An NFL spokesperson confirmed to The Banner on Thursday that the league has decided not to flex any of the Week 17 games, which means the Ravens will host the Miami Dolphins at 1 p.m., as scheduled.

The schedule was in question because the Ravens and Dolphins are the two top teams in the conference, and the battle will likely have major playoff implications.

Late in the season, the NFL can use “flexible scheduling” at its discretion to ensure “quality matchups on Sunday night in all weeks and [give] surprise teams a chance to play their way onto primetime.” This year, the league expanded flex scheduling to include “Thursday Night Football” and “Monday Night Football.”

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The Sunday game kicking off at 4:25 p.m. on CBS, which was seen as another potential window for the Ravens-Dolphins game, is also an important AFC matchup. The Kansas City Chiefs, who are third in the conference, will play the Cincinnati Bengals, who are sixth. The Bengals have only a 34% chance of making the playoffs, according to The New York Times’ playoff picture, but they’re not out of the race.

Austin Karp, an editor at the Sports Business Journal who monitors industry ratings, said in an interview that, despite the potential stakes of a Ravens-Dolphins matchup, “I don’t think anyone wants to give up the Chiefs, because they’re just a dominant pull this season.”

He added: “Say what you want about Taylor Swift, but people were watching the Chiefs beforehand, and now it’s just totally ridiculous. ... Do I think it’s, like, a significant uptick? No, but I just think that there is intrigue around [Travis] Kelce and the Chiefs and, ‘Oh, is she going to be there?’ There’s something to it.”

Karp also pointed to CBS’ rare lead over Fox in the battle for late-afternoon NFL ratings. “CBS never beats Fox, and they’ve been able to really latch on to some of these Dolphins and Chiefs numbers, in particular. And they’re leading right now.”

While next weekend’s “Sunday Night Football” game between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, two playoff hopefuls, will have much less meaning for the league, the Packers have a large fan base and deliver strong ratings.

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Had the Ravens’ game been moved to 8:20 p.m. for “Sunday Night Football,” kickoff would have been right around the start of New Year’s Eve festivities at the Inner Harbor, and the evening-ending fireworks and drone show would have potentially overlapped with thousands leaving M&T Bank Stadium.

The Ravens played their most recent game, a road win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, on “Sunday Night Football.” The game ended at 11:25 p.m.

Mayor Brandon Scott was not concerned.

“I’ve told any and everybody that we want it on [’Sunday Night Football’ on NBC] because that’s where it belongs!” Scott posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Tuesday, dismissing a claim city officials had asked for the game to remain in the afternoon due to “safety concerns.” “While they’re at it, they can go ahead flex the final game against [Pittsburgh] too. We want the smoke!”

None of that is a concern now, because the game will start at 1 p.m., as originally planned.

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Ravens beat reporter Jonas Shaffer contributed to this story.

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