NFL Sunday Begins with More Positive COVID-19 Tests; One Game Postponed

Posted on: October 11, 2020, 06:53h. 

Last updated on: October 11, 2020, 12:41h.

The sun had barely risen in many NFL cities on Sunday when more COVID-19 news cast a dark cloud over the day.

Tennessee Titans Nissan Stadium
A COVID-19 mask sign is seen in the parking lot of Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn., before the Tennessee Titans were supposed to play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 4. That game was postponed because of numerous positive coronavirus tests within the Titans. Another positive test has the Titans’ game against the Buffalo Bills, already rescheduled for Tuesday, in doubt. (Image: Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports)

After two days of negative tests led to optimism that the New England Patriots could host the Denver Broncos on Monday night and the Tennessee Titans could host the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday night, positive tests threw those games in doubt. Shortly after, the NFL announced it had postponed the New England-Denver game.

Neither game was available for betting at sportsbooks, which were taking a wait-and-see approach.

Positive Tests for Patriots, Titans

According to, a member of the Patriots had a positive COVID test result returned on Sunday. That brought their total to four positives over eight days – including quarterback Cam Newton just before last week’s game and cornerback Stephon Gilmore after last week’s game.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the NFL intends to play the Patriots-Broncos game next Sunday, instead. The Patriots had a Week 6 bye, but the Broncos were scheduled to host the Miami Dolphins, so further tinkering of the schedule will be required.

For the Titans, a coach’s test came back positive on Sunday. That brought the total to a whopping 24 players and staff members to have tested positive over the last couple weeks – a 50/50 split between players and staff.

The Tennessee test could be a major problem for the NFL. Because of all the positive tests, the league last week postponed the Titans’ game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and shuffled their schedule to give them an early bye. Now, there are few options left to ensure a 16-game schedule.

Commissioner Roger Goodell could move the Titans-Bills game back another day. But that would require additional changes to ensure those teams get enough rest ahead of next week’s games. The NFL could create a Week 18, not only to accommodate the Titans, but to add a buffer for the rest of the teams. The league could deem the game a forfeit. Or, it could roll the dice and play the game, anyway. That, in fact, is the plan for now. But obviously, that plan is subject to change.

Vikings at Seahawks on Sunday Night

Sunday’s schedule is filled with big point spreads, and the Sunday night game between the Minnesota Vikings and Seattle Seahawks is no different. The host Seahawks (4-0) are seven-point favorites over the Vikings (1-3).

The Vikings finally got a win last week, but this is a tough place to go and win,” said Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, to

“They’re only a 7-point underdog after opening 7.5. The Vikings are probably the best 1-3 team in the league because they have so underperformed. They’re a much better team than this. [Kirk] Cousins is a much better quarterback than this. If they’re going to turn it around, this is when they’re going to do it: right now. At 2-3, it puts you at least back in the hunt for a playoff spot.”

The betting public doesn’t see that happening. At FanDuel, 70 percent of the spread money is on Seattle, and 61 percent of the money has gone on the over of the 56-point total.

The Seahawks are 4-0 for only the second time in franchise history. The other time was 2013, when they went on to win Super Bowl XLVIII. Seattle has never started a season with five consecutive wins.

Quarterback Russell Wilson has 16 touchdown passes, tied with Peyton Manning (Denver, 2013) for the most in the first four games of a season in NFL history. His hot start has made him the favorite to win NFL Most Valuable Player.