Raiders vs. Browns Moving Forward as Planned Despite Cleveland's COVID-19 Outbreak

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 15, 2021

A general view of a Cleveland Browns helmet on the field before an NFL football game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Cleveland. The Cardinals won 37-14. (AP Photo/David Richard)
AP Photo/David Richard

The NFL has no plans to postpone or cancel Saturday's game between the Cleveland Browns and Las Vegas Raiders despite a COVID-19 outbreak within the Browns organization.

According to Tom Withers of the Associated Press, an NFL spokesperson said: "There’s been no discussion of changing the game's status."

On Tuesday, the Browns entered into the NFL's enhanced COVID-19 mitigation protocols and placed eight players on the reserve/COVID-list list, including six active roster members in wide receiver Jarvis Landry, tight end Austin Hooper, offensive tackle Jedrick Wills, guard Wyatt Teller, defensive end Takkarist McKinley and guard Drew Forbes.

The Browns also announced Tuesday that head coach Kevin Stefanski tested positive for COVID-19.

Cleveland could be without some key players for the 4:30 p.m. game, and it comes at a bad time given that only four weeks remain in the regular season.

The Browns have scratched and clawed throughout the year, and they got their record back over .500 last week by holding on to beat the Baltimore Ravens 24-22.

Cleveland (7-6) moved to within one game of the Ravens for the AFC North lead. The Browns are also one of five AFC teams tied with a 7-6 record.

While they are currently tied for one of the final two wild-card spots, the Browns would not make the playoffs if the season ended today because of the tiebreakers.

That makes beating the Raiders on Saturday even more important, especially since the Raiders are only one game behind the Browns at 6-7.

There isn't an easy game left on Cleveland's schedule, but a home date with Las Vegas is arguably the most winnable one, as the Browns must face the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers on the road the following two weeks before hosting the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 18.

While a handful of games were postponed last season because of COVID-19, the NFL has been able to avoid any such instances this season.

Coronavirus cases have been on the rise as of late, though, with the NFL announcing Monday that 36 players were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list because of positive tests.

Raiders vs. Browns is on as of now, but if more Browns players continue to be placed on the COVID list, the NFL may have no choice other than to enact its first postponement of the season.