Panthers’ regular season finale moved to later starting time

Games involving the Panthers ad New Orleans Saints were moved to 4:25 p.m. as part of the NFL's flex scheduling

Julius Peppers (90) celebrates with teammates after making a sack in the third quarter of Sunday's wins against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports)

The NFC South champion will be determined in the late-afternoon time slot on New Year’s Eve.

Games involving the New Orleans Saints (11-4) and the Carolina Panthers (11-4) were moved back to 4:25 p.m. ET, the NFL announced Sunday as part of its flex scheduling.

The Saints will visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while the Panthers will play the Falcons in Atlanta. Both New Orleans and Carolina are assured of playoff spots. The Saints would win the division if they beat the Buccaneers. The Falcons (9-6) would wrap up a wild card if they top the Panthers.

Three other games — the Cincinnati Bengals at the Baltimore Ravens, the Buffalo Bills at the Miami Dolphins, and the Jacksonville Jaguars at the Tennessee Titans — also were moved from 1 p.m. ET to 4:25 p.m. ET.

The Titans (8-7) would clinch a wild card with a victory over Jacksonville. The game would be meaningless for the Jaguars (10-5) if Pittsburgh beats the Houston Texans on Monday, as Steelers would wrap up one of the AFC’s top two seeds and Jacksonville would be locked into the third seed.

Buffalo (8-7) still clings to playoff hopes but would need lots of help to make the postseason.

The NFL will not play a Sunday night game next week.

“We felt that both from a competitive standpoint and from a fan perspective, the most fair thing to do is to schedule all Week 17 games in either the 1 p.m. or 4:25 p.m. ET windows,” NFL senior vice president of broadcasting Howard Katz said in a statement. “This ensures that we do not have a matchup on ‘Sunday Night Football’ on New Year’s Eve that because of earlier results has no playoff implications for one or both of the competing teams.”

The full Week 17 NFL schedule (all times ET):

Green Bay at Detroit, 1 p.m., FOX

Houston at Indianapolis, 1 p.m., CBS

Chicago at Minnesota, 1 p.m., FOX

New York Jets at New England, 1 p.m., CBS

Washington at New York Giants, 1 p.m., FOX

Dallas at Philadelphia, 1 p.m., FOX

Cleveland at Pittsburgh, 1 p.m., CBS

Carolina at Atlanta, 4:25 p.m., FOX

Cincinnati at Baltimore, 4:25 p.m., CBS

Kansas City at Denver, 4:25 p.m., CBS

Oakland at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 p.m., CBS

San Francisco at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m., FOX

Buffalo at Miami, 4:25 p.m., CBS

Arizona at Seattle, 4:25 p.m., FOX

New Orleans at Tampa Bay, 4:25 p.m., FOX

Jacksonville at Tennessee, 4:25 p.m., CBS