Thanks to the Patriots’ facility being shut down ahead of their rescheduled Monday night game in Week 5, they are now further rescheduled to host the Broncos on Sunday of Week 6, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
New England was able to travel and play Kansas City in Week 4, despite its late-week COVID-19 positive test, most significantly for quarterback Cam Newton. But with another positive test on Sunday morning, the NFL had no choice but to push back the Denver game another six days.
Unfortunately, that decision means another team, the Dolphins, who were set to play at the Broncos on Sunday of Week 6, will be disrupted from their 2020 regular-season schedule. Now the league must figure out when to put Miami at Denver back on the slate.
MORE: Why was Patriots-Broncos delayed?
With the developments of Week 5, the Patriots and Broncos have been pushed into an unofficial bye week. The NFL wants to avoid playing games in a created Week 18, because it would push back the playoffs. The Broncos’ original bye was in Week 8. The Dolphins’ bye isn’t happening until Week 11. So that means at least a third extra team will need to be disrupted to find a solution.
The Broncos are scheduled to host the Chargers in Week 11; the Dolphins are scheduled to host the Chargers in Week 7. That common opponent is the path to rescheduling the Miami-Denver game, with Los Angeles also needing to adjust because of New England.
That means Jacksonville, scheduled to play at Los Angeles in Week 7, has to be the fourth team involved. Unlike the Pittsburgh-Tennessee postponement that caused only a third team, Baltimore, to be disrupted by a week, New England has now messed up at least four other teams.
But wait: There’s also the Jets. New York is scheduled to play at Los Angeles in Week 6. There’s even a solution for that further complication.
Here then is the five-step fix involving the five non-Patriots teams:
1) Jaguars at Chargers moves from Week 8 to Week 7, with the Jaguars’ bye now in Week 8.
2) Chargers at Broncos moves from Week 11 to Week 8, with the Chargers’ bye now in Week 6.
3) Dolphins at Broncos moves from Week 6 to Week 11, with the Broncos’ bye now in Week 5.
4) Chargers at Dolphins moves from Week 7 to Week 10, with the Dolphins bye now in Week 6.
5) Jets at Chargers moves from Week 6 to Week 11, with the Jets bye now in Week 6.
When putting it all together, the answer is this:
Week 6: Broncos at Patriots; Chargers, Dolphins, Jets byes
Week 7: Jaguars at Chargers
Week 8: Chargers at Broncos, Jaguars bye
Week 10: Chargers at Dolphins
Week 11: Jets at Chargers
The NFL schedule has a flexible set of byes and several teams with common opponents to save itself from such situations when involving two AFC teams. What will be more challenging, however, if this happens in the second half the season — when there would be less wiggle room — or with interconference matchups, where it’s much harder to reschedule an AFC-vs.-NFC affair.
For now, it’s another postponement, another favorable rescheduling — and yet another warning for teams to get their acts together to play in the year of COVID-19.
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