Three more Tennessee Titans have tested positive for COVID-19, leaving team practice facilities closed and pushing their Week 5 matchup against the Buffalo Bills to Tuesday, for now.
COVID-19 cases jeopardize Titans’ Week 5 and beyond
The Titans’ positive COVID-19 testing streak began after their Week 3 contest against the Minnesota Vikings. The outbreak subsequently led to Tennessee’s Week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers being postponed to Week 7.
In total, 23 cases have now been confirmed between Tennessee players and staff members. The NFL pushed the Week 5 game to Tuesday since the Titans have not yet had access to their practice facility to prep for the game.
The initial hope was that the Titans would be able to quickly resume their regular schedule after going a few days without positive test results. Nevertheless, players continue to test positive, prolonging the process.
The league instructed team members to remain separate from each other over the past week until facilities reopen. Players are participating in virtual meetings, though on-field practice has not been permitted.
The league rescheduled the game for Tuesday, but there’s no guarantee it will be played.
The Titans’ matchup against the Steelers was also initially pushed to Tuesday, before being rescheduled for Week 7.
Repercussions for a team breaching protocol
Representatives from the NFL and NFLPA conducted an investigation to determine whether the outbreak resulted from a breach of protocol.
The league is looking into whether members of the team have been conducting workouts together offsite while the facility has been closed. One report noted that one or more workouts had in fact taken place.
As a result, the league has imposed new protocols featuring enhanced safety measures.
Video monitoring will be enforced to ensure the team is following policies and wearing personal protective equipment at its facilities.
The Titans’ extended break mid-season could affect the overall health and performance of the entire team and even jeopardize the team’s future playing ability.
If the determined cause of the Titans’ positive COVID-19 tests is a failure to follow protocol, the NFL may force Tennessee to forfeit future games. This could also lead to an adjustment or loss of draft picks for the team.
Week 5 odds
Nissan Stadium hosts the perspective Titans-Bills faceoff this Tuesday afternoon.
The Buffalo Bills come into Week 5 at 4-0, beating the Las Vegas Raiders 30-23 during their Week 4 matchup. After a postponed Week 4 game against the Steelers, the Titans sit at 3-0 coming into Week 5.
Potential postponements aside, the Bills were road favorites last week and will likely be favored in this matchup.
Lines have not yet been posted at sportsbooks, as the chance of this game being played still hangs in the balance. With less than five days to go, bettors have still not had a chance to wager on this event.
Last week, sportsbooks had to stop action and refund bettors on Week 4’s Titans-Steelers game, after more positive COVID-19 tests pushed the game back further than expected.
As a result, operators are being especially cautious when it comes to posting odds on this matchup.
Game postponement is out of the norm
As many football fans know, Tuesday games are not the norm when it comes to scheduling. This game will be only the second game played on a Tuesday since 1946.
In December 2010, the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles played on a Tuesday after a blizzard postponed their original game.
The league could cancel the game due to more positive tests on the team. We will have to wait and see how things pan out.
Any future cancelations will throw the NFL’s schedule into a frenzy. The Titans having to forfeit also remains an option, which comes with its own complications.
For now, fans and teams alike are hoping the game plays as scheduled.
If you are looking to take action on the game, keep a lookout for sportsbooks posting lines on the matchup.
If the scheduling changes again, make sure to read your sportsbooks’ policy on postponed or canceled games.