Patriots vs. Broncos Reportedly on as Planned Despite COVID-19 Concerns

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 17, 2020

A passer-by walks past a New England Patriots football team logo near the Patriots ProShop at Gillette Stadium, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Foxborough, Mass. The NFL has postponed the Denver Broncos-New England Patriots game due to another positive coronavirus test with the Patriots. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
Steven Senne/Associated Press

The NFL is reportedly planning to move forward with the game between the 1-3 Denver Broncos and 2-2 New England Patriots scheduled for Sunday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, the league "aware of the Patriots' situation, with three more players landing on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and comfortable protocols have been followed" to play the game. According to Field Yates of ESPN, Sony Michel, Shaq Mason and Derek Rivers were added to the list. 

The decision to move forward came after Patriots offensive lineman James Ferentz was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Friday, resulting in the cancellation of practice that day, per ESPN.

Denver and New England were originally supposed to meet last week. The game scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 11, was moved to Monday, Oct. 12, and then postponed until Sunday, Oct. 18, after a Patriots player tested positive for COVID-19.

Patriots quarterback Cam Newton and practice squad defensive tackle Bill Murray were put on the reserve/COVID-19 list prior to New England's Week 4 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. That game was moved back one day from a Sunday to a Monday.

Since then, Patriots cornerback and reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore tested positive for COVID-19 as well. Newton and Gilmore have both since been activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

The Patriots are one of the teams that have been hit hardest by COVID-19, but several other teams have had their schedules impacted by the virus as well.

The Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tennessee Titans game scheduled for Week 4 was moved back to Week 7 because of a COVID-19 outbreak within the Titans organization. The Week 5 game between the Buffalo Bills and Titans was moved from Sunday to Tuesday also.

As a result of that movement, the Week 6 game between the Bills and Chiefs was changed from a Thursday night game to a Monday night game instead.

Since both the Patriots and Broncos had their bye weeks moved up to Week 5, there was little margin for error in terms of when their game could take place.

With the game cleared to occur Sunday, the NFL is still able to avoid adding an extra week to the 2020 regular season.