The Bears are the latest team to shut their facilities due to COVID-19 concerns. On Wednesday, everyone was sent home from Halas Hall, but that may not stop them from playing the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
“The league is going to try to push these games through as long as the team can actually play and field a team,” said Pro Football Talk’s Chris Simms. “They’re worried about discrepancies in schedules. We get to the playoff time and one team’s played more games than another team, and that is a little bit of an unfair competitive advantage.”
It’s true that as the season goes on, the league has less flexibility to move games back. According to Sports Illustrated, the NFL has already rescheduled 13 games due to COVID-19 positive test results.
“We’re running out of wiggle room,” Simms said. “Some of these teams have had their bye weeks. Tennessee’s schedule has already been filtered around. They don’t have much wiggle room here.”
But Ian Rapoport reports the Bears’ case is on the offensive line, which has already been devastated by injuries. With the team running extremely low on O-Line depth could they delay? Simms says probably not, based on a precedent the league set earlier.
“We saw this with the Raiders a few weeks ago with their offensive line. I know Jon Gruden, the Raiders, were very disappointed that they had to play that game on that Sunday. They wanted the game pushed back a day or two, for a Monday or Tuesday game so they could get a little practice in. But I don’t think the NFL cares right now. I think as long as you can field a team, they’re going to push forward as best they can, and try not to disrupt the ripple effects of everyone else’s schedule.”
The one thing that could postpone Sunday’s game against the Titans: more positive test results.
“If it’s an ‘outbreak’ outbreak, where we start to go, ‘Wow, here in the next 24 hours we’re starting to see guys all over the team start to pop up at different positions,’ then it might be a true outbreak,” Simms said. “Then something’s got to be done. Maybe this is where the Week 18 of the NFL season comes about, and now, yes, everything gets pushed back.
“But, as long as I think it stays limited numbers, I don’t think you should push it back. I think it would be to push through, push forward. It’s a weird year. Everyone’s had to deal with some bullcrap because of COVID and some unfair things about their schedule. Unfortunately for Chicago, they have to deal with it too.”