Today is another rough one for the NFL on the COVID-19 front. The league has been dealing with a wave of positive tests that continues to expand. This morning, the Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots, and Las Vegas Raiders had new players test positive.
The Tennessee Titans were the first team to experience a pretty large outbreak after their Week 3 game. It forced the team’s Week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers to be pushed to Week 7. COVID continues to spread within the Titans locker room.
The team has two new positive tests this morning. The team’s Week 5 game against the Buffalo Bills is now being called into question, as the Titans have had more positive tests almost every day since the initial three players came down with the virus. Because of a delayed period in which the virus shows up in testing, it is hard to know the full extent of the outbreak, even days later.
The New England Patriots had the most notable positive test of the season late last week, with quarterback Cam Newton forced to miss last week’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Newton was the only positive test ahead of the game, which was pushed from Sunday to Monday night. Two days later, however, reigning defensive player of the year Stephon Gilmore has tested positive.
A morning summary:
Two new positive tests in Tennessee, putting Sunday’s Bills-Titans game in jeopardy.
Patriots CB Stephon Gilmore tested positive, putting Sunday’s Patriots-Broncos game in jeopardy.
No positive tests today with Chiefs, who played Patriots on Monday night.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 7, 2020
The Patriots are set to face the Denver Broncos in Foxborough on Sunday afternoon. That game could also be pushed back, if more tests pop up. If Gilmore was contagious Monday, before the virus was revealing itself in testing, it seems very likely.
The Titans remain the biggest issue, though. Because the NFL did not build in a second bye week, the league has already burned its most logical option to make up one of the team’s game, and it lucked into a pretty easy situation because of the Steelers’ Week 7 opponent, the Baltimore Ravens, sharing a Week 8 bye with them.
We’ll see if the league pushes the playoffs back to add a makeup week, or if it just decides to let the Titans play a different number of games, as the MLB had to do with its early-season rolling outbreaks. Tennessee is a projected playoff team, so that would probably rub other teams the wrong way if it works in their favor.