The Atlanta Falcons shut down their facility after receiving several positive COVID-19 tests, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Falcons are slated to face the Vikings in Minnesota on Sunday. 

After a mostly seamless first three weeks, the NFL has run into several issues as it relates to COVID-19 outbreaks over the past three weeks. The Titans, after 23 players and personnel members tested positive for the virus, were forced to re-schedule their Week 4 game against the Steelers. And despite having to postpone this past week’s game until Tuesday night, Tennessee managed to defeat the previously undefeated Bills, 42-16. The Jaguars, Jets, Ravens, Steelers, Patriots, Broncos, Dolphins, Chargers and Chiefs have also had their schedules impacted due to COVID-19. 

Despite the recent outbreaks, the NFL is not seriously considering putting its teams in a bubble, which is something the NHL and NBA did after re-starting their respective seasons. Allen Sills, the NFL’s chief medical doctor, stated that the risk of infection still remains with service workings going in and out of a bubble. He also pointed to the mental and emotional toll of being inside a bubble for the duration of a season. 

“The bubble is not foolproof with infections,” Sills said Tuesday, via CBS Sports Jonathan Jones. “It doesn’t take away the need for all of our other mitigation strategies. In fact, infection can spread more rapidly inside a bubble if it does get introduced because everyone is together in close quarters. And then you’ve got to consider the mental, emotional and behavioral and just human aspect of that.

“So for all of those reasons right now today we don’t feel that’s the safest course of action for us. We’ve consistently said that we’ll re-eval all of these decisions along the way and make what we think is the safest decision and all options remain on the table but that’s our thought on it today.”

The league has not ruled out implementing an 18th week that would allow for makeup games to be played before the start of the postseason. 

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