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Coronavirus: NFL postpones game between Steelers and Titans until later in season

The Tennessee Titans line up against the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 27.
The Tennessee Titans line up against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday in Minneapolis.
(Bruce Kluckhohn / Associated Press)

The NFL on Thursday postponed the Week 4 game between Pittsburgh and Tennessee to later this season after two more members of the Titans — one player and another team employee — tested positive for COVID-19.

The league already had bumped the game from Sunday to either Monday or Tuesday night.

On Tuesday, three Titans players and five other team employees tested positive. The team immediately closed its facility to in-person activities, as did the Minnesota Vikings, who played Tennessee on Sunday. On Wednesday, a fourth Titans player tested positive.

“The decision to postpone the game was made to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel,” the league said. “The Titans facility will remain closed and the team will continue to have no in-person activities until further notice.”

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The schedule allows for Steelers-Titans to be moved to Week 7. That’s when the Titans are scheduled to have their week off, and Pittsburgh is slated to play Baltimore. The Steelers are scheduled to have the next week off. The NFL could move Steelers-Ravens to Week 8.

Giving the Steelers and Titans their week off now comes at a cost for both teams.

No team wants its off week this early in the season — and particularly not two 3-0 teams that have every intention of playing deep into January. Further complicating that, this season’s expanded playoff format dictates that only the No. 1 seed in each conference gets a postseason bye.

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What’s more, this hasn’t been a true week off for either team, because both have been preparing for a Week 4 game.

There’s also the possibility of putting one or more games on a to-be-played list, and tying those loose ends in a Week 18 tacked on to the end of the regular season. The playoffs could be postponed a week.


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