As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise around the country, the NFL is also dealing with the exact same issue. For the past few weeks, things have been relatively quiet on the COVID-19 front for the league, but that has change heading into Week 9.
It’s not even Friday yet and more than 40% of the league’s 32 teams are dealing with at least one case. As of Thursday afternoon, there have been 13 teams that have either had to place a player on the reserve/COVID-19 list or had to shut down their facility due to a COVID scare.
Two of the teams feeling the most impact will be the two teams that play on Thursday night in the Packers and 49ers. Each team had to put at least three players on their COVID list this week, and none of those players will be eligible to play Thursday night.
As for the other players around the league who have tested positive or have been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list because they’re viewed as a high-risk close contact, they could potentially still play on Sunday if they record five straight days of negative tests. (This only applies to players who were placed on the list on Monday or Tuesday. Any player who is placed on the list after that will have to sit out Week 9.)
Here are the teams that have been impacted by COVID-19 this week.
- 49ers: San Francisco has four players on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel along with starting tackle Trent Williams were deemed close contacts of receiver Kendrick Bourne, who tested positive. None will be allowed to play on Thursday night.
- Packers: The Packers have three guys on the reserve/COVID-19 list: Running backs A.J. Dillon and Jamaal Williams along with linebacker Kamal Martin. None of the three will be allowed to play on Thursday night.
- Lions: Matthew Stafford was the biggest name to land on the reserve/COVID-19 list for any team this week and he’s one of two Lions players currently on the list, along with linebacker Jarrad Davis.
- Ravens: Not only is Baltimore dealing with a positive test from cornerback Marlon Humphrey, but they also had to place linebackers Matt Judon, Tyus Bowser, Patrick Queen, L.J. Fort and Malik Harrison along with defensive backs Terrell Bonds and DeShon Elliott on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The Ravens play the Colts this week.
- Texans: The Texans decided to cancel practice and shut down their facility on Thursday after linebacker Jacob Martin tested positive for COVID-19. Linebackers Whitney Mercilus and Dylan Cole have also been placed on the COVID-19 reserve list due to close contact with Martin and all three players are now ineligible to play in Sunday’s game. The Texans will be traveling to Jacksonville in Week 9.
- Cowboys: The Cowboys were hoping that Andy Dalton could play this week, but that won’t be happening, because he’s been placed on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list. Instead, the Cowboys will be going with either Cooper Rush or Garrett Gilbert to face the undefeated Steelers.
- Bears: Offensive tackle Jason Spriggs tested positive for COVID-19, which landed him and guard Germain Ifedi on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Ifedi was placed on the list after the league determined he was a high risk close contact. Offensive lineman Cody Whitehair has also tested positive, according to NFL.com.
- Broncos: The Broncos have placed practice squad tackle Darrin Paulo and defensive end Shelby Harris on the COVID-19 list. Several members of the Broncos front office, including GM John Elway and team president Joe Ellis have also tested positive. The Broncos play the Falcons on Sunday.
- Cardinals: Arizona had to place two players on the reserve/COVID-19 list this week in linebacker Devon Kennard and cornerback Byron Murphy Jr., who both tested positive. The Cardinals will be hosting the Dolphins on Sunday with a potentially depleted defense if Murphy and Kennard aren’t able to play.
- Eagles: The team has announced that an unnamed player has tested positive for COVID-19. Although the identity of the player hasn’t yet been revealed, whomever it is won’t be eligible to play on Sunday.
- Colts: In Indianapolis, the Colts didn’t have any players test positive, but they did have one team employee who came down with COVID-19. Due to that situation, the Colts will hold practice as normal Thursday, but all in-person meetings have been changed to virtual meetings.
- Chiefs: Star pass-rusher Chris Jones has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, which means he won’t be allowed to play this week against Carolina. The Chiefs also had a staff member test positive. The team held a practice on Thursday morning and then closed their facility after that.
- Raiders: Offensive tackle Trent Brown has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 for the second time in less than two weeks. Brown tested positive for COVID on Oct. 22, but then recorded five straight days of negative tests, which made him eligible to play in Week against the Browns. However, Brown ended up missing the game due to a medical mishap.
As for the NFL schedule, it’s unlikely the league will make any changes for Week 9, but if things get any crazier, who knows what will happen.