clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Postponing Patriots-Broncos to next week has a massive fallout on the rest of the NFL

Related: What moving Patriots-Broncos to next week means for New England

New England Patriots v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

New England Patriots defensive tackle Byron Cowart testing positive for the Coronavirus on late Saturday forced the NFL’s hand: the team’s upcoming game against the Denver Broncos had to be postponed yet again after already being moved from Sunday to Monday in the aftermath of cornerback Stephon Gilmore’s positive Covid-19 test on Tuesday.

While a one-day postponement is comparatively easy to handle, moving a game from one week to the next can have some big ramifications across the league. Patriots-Broncos is a perfect example for that, given that six follow-up games had to be moved around as well in order for that one change to work. As the league announced on Sunday, seven games had to be moved around after the Patriots’ fourth and latest Coronavirus case.

The full breakdown of changes looks as follows, with a total of six teams impacted:

New England Patriots

  • Bye moves from Week 6 to Week 5
  • Denver Broncos at New England Patriots moves from Week 5 to Week 6

Denver Broncos

  • Bye moves from Week 8 to Week 5
  • Denver Broncos at New England Patriots moves from Week 5 to Week 6
  • Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos moves from Week 11 to Week 8
  • Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos moves from Week 6 to Week 11

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Bye moves from Week 10 to Week 6
  • Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Chargers moves from Week 8 to Week 7
  • Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos moves from Week 11 to Week 8
  • Los Angeles Chargers at Miami Dolphins moves from Week 7 to Week 10
  • New York Jets at Los Angeles Chargers moves from Week 6 to Week 11

Miami Dolphins

  • New York Jets at Miami Dolphins moves from Week 10 to Week 6
  • Bye moves from Week 11 to Week 7
  • Los Angeles Chargers at Miami Dolphins moves from Week 7 to Week 10
  • Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos moves from Week 6 to Week 11

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Chargers moves from Week 8 to Week 7
  • Bye moves from Week 7 to Week 8

New York Jets

  • New York Jets at Miami Dolphins moves from Week 10 to Week 6
  • Bye moves from Week 11 to Week 10
  • New York Jets at Los Angeles Chargers moves from Week 6 to Week 11

As can be seen, only one Patriots game is actually touched by the series of moves that had to be made by the NFL following Cowart’s diagnosis. That said, the contest versus the Broncos is not the first of the team’s games to be postponed: the Week 4 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs was pushed from Sunday to Monday after quarterback Cam Newton had tested positive for Covid-19.

Speaking of Kansas City, one of the team’s games also had to be postponed: with the Buffalo Bills set to take on the Tennessee Titans on Tuesday, Chiefs-Bills was moved from Thursday, October 15 to Monday, October 19.

The question now becomes how long the league can continue shuffling its schedule around like this before having to make different moves — from possibly adding an 18th week to the regular season to introducing more drastic measures such as regional bubbles. The NFL will continue on its current course until it absolutely has to change it, but as the Coronavirus outbreaks in New England and even more drastically in Tennessee have shown, things can change quickly in what has already been a rather chaotic 2020 season.