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Could Week 17 become Week 18?

Mike Florio considers what options the Titans and NFL have remaining after another positive COVID-19 test kept the Tennessee facility shut down.

With the pandemic likely forcing the NFL, eventually but inevitably, to bump back the start of the playoffs for a week of games that had to be postponed but couldn’t easily be rescheduled (like Bills-Titans this weekend), there’s a concern regarding the top seed in each conference having three weeks between games instead of two. There’s a way to avoid that.

Chris “Mad Dog” Russo made an interesting suggestion on Wednesday, while he and I were discussing the situation during his weekday show on SiriusXM: Move Week 17 to Week 18, and then play the makeup games in what was Week 17.

That makes sense, for multiple reasons. Beyond ensuring that the playoffs will start immediately after the regular season ends and keeping the top seeds from having three weeks between games, it preserves the significance of the final Sunday of the regular season, with all unresolved playoff spots and seeds determined as all teams play on the same day.

Of course, all of this assumes that only one extra week will be needed. There ultimately could be a need for two weeks of makeup games.

Maybe, in that case, the league could find an initial week for extra games earlier in December, bumping for example Week 14 to Week 15, making Week 17 into Week 18. Then, if a second week is needed for postponed games, the new Week 18 can become Week 19.

Whether it’s one extra week or two, Mad Dog’s idea makes a ton of sense. Instead of tacking extra weeks onto the end of the season, the postponed games should be wedged into the existing structure of the season with the best week of the regular season -- Week 17 -- still being the final week of the regular season.

Of course, this assumes that the late-season games can all be played as scheduled. As a certain point, there will be a postponement in December or January that simply can’t be played at a later date.