Two Week 5 NFL games are being rescheduled because of COVID-19.
The New England Patriots game against the Denver Broncos scheduled for Sunday will now be played Monday night as the early game in a doubleheader. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. ET, and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.
The Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills will now play on Tuesday as long as the Titans don’t show any new positive tests from their COVID-19 outbreak. That game will kick off at 7 ET on CBS. If that game is played on Tuesday, next Thursday’s Bills-Chiefs game will move to later in the weekend, meaning there probably wouldn’t be a Thursday night game in Week 6.
“These scheduling decisions were made to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel and in consultation with medical experts,” an NFL statement reads.
The NFL moved last Sunday’s Patriots matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs to Monday after quarterback Cam Newton landed on the COVID-19/reserve list during the week before the game.
Since Monday’s game in Kansas City, Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore announced that he tested positive for COVID-19. The Patriots reportedly haven’t had any additional positive COVID-19 tests since Gilmore’s.
Gilmore’s positive test prompted the closure of Patriots facilities on Wednesday. The team will continue to prepare virtually, but won’t practice Friday in preparation for Monday’s game.
Newton’s status for Monday remains unclear. The first-year Patriots quarterback posted a Twitter message on Wednesday urging COVID-19 safety, while head coach Bill Belichick vowed earlier this week to “see how it goes” with the team’s quarterback situation for Week 5.
Newton will obviously be the starter if he’s medically cleared and physically ready. Monday’s game will be played in New England.
The Titans had their Week 3 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers postponed after an outbreak of 21 COVID-19 cases among players and team staff. The Titans reportedly recorded two more positive tests on Thursday.
Titans facilities have been closed since Sept. 29 at the onset of their outbreak. Several Titans players reportedly held an informal, unsanctioned off-site workout on Sept. 30 in violation of the NFL’s COVID-19 protocol.
Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson reported this week the that the NFL is likely to punish the Titans for violating protocol. The league threatened last week that protocol violations requiring schedule adjustment could result in game forfeitures.
For now, the Titans have avoided a Week 5 forfeiture.
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