Two scheduling changes for Week 5 — and a potential one for Week 6 — were announced by the NFL on Thursday as a result of COVID-19 cases affecting multiple NFL teams.
The Denver Broncos at New England Patriots game originally scheduled for Sunday is now scheduled for Monday at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN. Sunday’s Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans contest now is set to be played on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET on CBS. The Kansas City Chiefs at Bills Week 6 game set for next Thursday will be moved to “later in the weekend” should Bills-Titans be played Tuesday, per the league’s official release.
“These scheduling decisions were made to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel and in consultation with medical experts,” the league stated in the announcement.
This will mark the second consecutive week in which the Patriots have had a Sunday game moved to Monday. Their Week 4 game against the Chiefs also was rescheduled.
The news follows Patriots star cornerback Stephon Gilmore testing positive for the novel coronavirus, which came to light on Wednesday morning. Gilmore was the third Patriots player to have tested positive of late, joining quarterback Cam Newton and practice-squad defensive lineman Bill Murray.
Earlier Thursday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Patriots had zero new positive COVID-19 tests stemming from Wednesday’s testing. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that the Patriots will continue to work virtually Friday with their facility closed.
The Titans’ facility is also closed and has been since Sep. 29 following their Week 3 game against the Minnesota Vikings, as Tennessee has had multiple positive COVID-19 tests this week.
The Titans will also have a second straight week in which their schedule has been altered.
Tennessee’s Week 4 contest versus the Pittsburgh Steelers was pushed back to Week 7. Currently, 21 members of the organization have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
The NFL and NFL Players Association are currently looking into multiple unauthorized workouts involving Titans players since their facility closed, Pelissero reported earlier Thursday. Previously, NFLPA and NFL representatives went to the Titans facility to ascertain whether there was a break in protocol that led to the outbreak.
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