Continuing positive COVID-19 tests for the New England Patriots has resulted in the postponement of their Week 5 game against the Denver Broncos.
The game had already been pushed to Monday (scheduled for 5 p.m. ET on ESPN), but the NFL is now moving the matchup to Week 6 after someone in the New England organization tested positive Saturday night. The league has also shut down the Patriots’ team facilities at Gillette Stadium.
New England previously had at least three players test positive during the past couple of weeks, including quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Stephon Gilmore. The team had previously shut down its facilities for three days following Gilmore’s result and held practice on Saturday.
The Patriots’ Week 4 matchup versus the Kansas City Chiefs was also postponed from Sunday to Monday last week. If there’s a bright side for the Patriots’ Week 5 game being postponed, it might be Newton being available and preventing New England from playing Brian Hoyer or Jarrett Stidham at quarterback again.
Tony Romo on Brian Hoyer taking this sack: "JIM YOU CAN'T DO THAT!" https://t.co/NOc3Ow60Dk
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) October 6, 2020
Another Week 5 game in jeopardy is Titans-Bills after someone else in the Tennessee organization tested positive. The Titans’ team facility has also been shut down as a result. Tennessee’s game versus Buffalo already been moved to Tuesday after the Titans’ COVID-19 outbreak.
With the Bills previously scheduled to play Week 6 on Thursday Night Football, their game against the Chiefs was likely to be pushed to Saturday or Sunday. Barring any developments with the Bills and Chiefs, their game will surely still be played to avoid further schedule upheaval — perhaps even on Thursday night again.
But Titans-Bills could be moved to the end of the season, perhaps in a “Week 18” created to accommodate postponed games. (That was being considered for Week 4’s Steelers-Titans, currently rescheduled for Week 7 on Oct. 25.) Or the Titans could end up forfeiting that game, which has to be a last resort for the NFL.
Broncos-Patriots being postponed is something of a blow for ESPN, which was set to televise a Monday NFL doubleheader with Chargers-Saints scheduled for its regular kickoff at 8:15 p.m. ET. (That would’ve provided Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit with another NFL broadcast this season.)
No football doubleheader might also help baseball, which has Game 2 of the Astros-Rays ALCS scheduled for 4:07 p.m. ET on TBS, followed by Game 1 of the Braves-Dodgers NLCS at 8:04 p.m. ET on Fox.