Patriots

NFL schedule changes caused by Pats-Broncos will make your head spin

Patriots

*UPDATE (3 p.m. ET): To say the Patriots and Broncos have shaken up the NFL schedule would be an understatement.

New England's Week 5 matchup with Denver has been moved to next Sunday, Oct. 18, at 1 p.m. ET, the league confirmed Sunday.

The league also confirmed schedule changes for seven other games as a result of that postponement, which will impact eight teams.

Here's the full list of changes:

Pretty straightforward, right?

-- End of update --

The NFL has quite the schedule puzzle to solve.

The Patriots' Week 5 game against the Denver Broncos on Monday reportedly has been moved to next Sunday after another New England player tested positive for COVID-19.

That's the right move from a safety perspective. But calling off a game one day in advance and trying to reschedule it for the next week is quite the logistical challenge. So, what's the NFL's plan?

Curran: Pats now calling their own shots on how to handle COVID-19

New England's schedule actually won't change much. The Patriots had a scheduled bye in Week 6, so they'll simply take a Week 5 bye instead and play the Broncos in Week 6, assuming no more positive tests come up over the next week.

Outside Foxboro, though, things get tricky.

The Broncos were supposed to play the Miami Dolphins in Week 6 and have a Week 8 bye. Here's their new schedule, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter:

 

Week 5: Bye

Week 6: at Patriots

Week 8: vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Week 11: vs. Dolphins

The Dolphins originally had a bye in Week 11, but now they'll reportedly play Denver instead. It's still unclear when they'll get their bye week.

Meanwhile, the Chargers are scheduled to host the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 8, but it appears that game will be moved to a to-be-determined date.

In case that isn't enough uncertainty, this incomplete plan hinges on the Titans and Buffalo Bills playing Tuesday night despite another positive COVID-19 test Sunday in Tennessee.

These schedule swaps and contingency plans have always been a possibility since the league decided to play the 2020 season. Now, the NFL's schedule makers are being put to the test as the league crosses its fingers for no further outbreaks.