Getty’s Peter Aiken

Hours after yet another Tennessee Titans player tested positive for COVID-19, the NFL has finally stepped in to reschedule the team’s Week 5 game against the Buffalo Bills. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Bills-Titans matchup, originally set for Sunday afternoon, has been postponed to Tuesday at 6 p.m. That date is also dependent upon no more positive tests surfacing within the Titans organization, which has seen 23 different players and/or staff contract the virus since the end of September.

As a result of the postponement, the Bills will also have their Week 6 game against the Kansas City Chiefs, originally scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 15, tentatively pushed back to Sunday, Oct. 18. If the Titans were to develop more positive COVID tests, however, the Bills’ Week 6 game would revert to Thursday night and proceed as scheduled, per Schefter. (It’s unclear what would happen to the Bills’ Week 5 game against the Titans, in that scenario, though the NFL has publicly touted forfeiture as a possible penalty for COVID protocol violations, for which Tennessee is currently being investigated.)

All this comes the same day the NFL also shifted Sunday’s game between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots to Monday night, marking the second straight week the Pats have had a Sunday game delayed by a day. That change was spurred by the Patriots having multiple players test positive for COVID-19 this week, resulting in the team shuttering its facilities and meeting virtually ahead of the matchup with Denver.

Suffice to say, the NFL has suddenly, over the last week or so, encountered its biggest COVID-related hurdles of the 2020 season. In the wake of the latest scheduling changes, there now appears to be a chance the NFL will forgo “Thursday Night Football” to kick off Week 6, with no date officially finalized on at least one other game (Bills-Chiefs) that week.

Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical officer, said this week the league has not ruled out the possibility of a temporary pause to the entire 2020 season because of the outbreak in Tennessee and ongoing developments in New England.

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