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Eagles-Cowboys won’t end up on ‘Sunday Night Football’

The Eagles were flexed out of one Sunday Night Football game, but won’t be moved into another.

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz throws the football against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Miami.
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz throws the football against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2019, in Miami.Read moreYONG KIM / Staff Photographer

The Eagles were flexed out of one Sunday Night Football game, but won’t be moved into another.

Network sources have confirmed that Fox has protected the Birds’ highly anticipated Week 16 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys from being flexed, meaning it will remain in the 4:25 p.m. window on Dec. 22. Calling the game for Fox will be play-by-play announcer Joe Buck and analyst Troy Aikman, with Erin Andrews reporting from the sideline.

For Weeks 11 to 16, CBS and Fox are each able to protect five games from being flexed, but can only pick one matchup per week. Only games scheduled for Sunday afternoon can be moved to Sunday Night Football.

There’s been a lot of speculation about the NFL flexing out of Week 16′s current Sunday Night Football game, which is expected to be a largely meaningless matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears. But the NFL may decide to stick with it because it simply has no other great option.

Of the remaining games in Week 16, the only one on Sunday with any playoff implication is the New Orleans Saints’ matchup against the Tennessee Titans, who have won five of their last six games and are in the thick of the AFC wild-card hunt.

The NFL’s deadline for making a decision about whether to flex in Week 16 is Tuesday.

The Eagles have one prime-time game remaining on their schedule — they’ll take on the New York Giants at home on ESPN’s Monday Night Football on Dec. 9. Hopefully Booger McFarland has a better night.

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As NBA struggles, Sixers TV ratings way up

The NBA may be struggling with its national TV ratings, but here in Philadelphia, everything is coming up Sixers.

Through their first 20 games, the Sixers are on pace to post their highest-rated season ever on NBC Sports Philadelphia, according to numbers provided by the network. Led by interest in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, Sixers’ games are averaging a 3.7 household rating share (about 102,000 households in the Philadelphia market), up 19 percent from last season.

The team’s streaming numbers are also on pace to set a new record for the network.

The interest in the Sixers comes amid a dip in the NBA’s early season TV ratings. Both TNT (down 23 percent) and ESPN (down 20 percent) are struggling with double-digit declines, according to Sports Business Daily’s John Ourand.

Everyone has a theory why ratings are down — injuries to Steph Curry and Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard stuck on the West Coast, and “load management” have all been blamed to a certain degree. There’s also been a lack of interesting games on TNT Thursday night, as the network has chosen not to compete with Thursday Night Football.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has attributed the decline to the fact that most national NBA games air on cable, where subscribers have been cutting the cord for years, looking for more inexpensive options.

“Football benefits from being on broadcast TV which is in every digital and traditional package along with gambling available in some of the biggest markets,” Cuban tweeted last week.

» READ MORE: For Sixers, scoring shouldn’t be a problem in Washington | Off the Dribble

» READ MORE: With or without Joel Embiid, Sixers’ Al Horford brings different games

Quick hits

The Athletic’s Chris Perkins sat with Fox’s production team during Sunday’s Eagles-Dolphins game, and got into the weeds of how an NFL game is produced (including analyst Ronde Barber’s innovative “Ronde button").

• The Eagles may be playing terrible football, but don’t blame Carson Wentz in front of ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky:

• In honor of ESPN naming Dec. 4 Stuart Scott day, here’s are some classic “This is SportsCenter” commercials featuring Scott and NBA Hall of Famer and Philly native Kobe Bryant:

Scott died from cancer in 2015. ESPN is encouraging fans to help support the V Foundation, formed in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, a legendary North Carolina State University basketball coach and ESPN commentator.