The NFL may be paying the price for not putting its teams in a quarantine bubble during the season.
The pandemic may make it difficult to finish the season. Problems keep popping up.
The Baltimore-Pittsburgh game has been postponed twice and may or may not be played Tuesday night.
The Broncos have all their quarterbacks sidelined for the Sunday game against the Saints. And San Francisco can’t play in its home stadium for at least the next two home games. It is uncertain where they will play.
And if Thanksgiving turns out to be a superspreader, things could get worse.
—It may be hard to believe that of the seven early games Sunday , only one features two winning teams The Titans and Colts are both 7-3 and battling for the lead in the AFC South.
—Two of them feature two losing teams, but the game between the 3-7 Giants and 2-7-1 Bengals is of interest because a Giant victory would tie them for first place with Washington at 4-7. The division winner may have a losing record anda host a playoff game.
—The other game involving two losing teams is the 4-7 Panthers and 4-6 Vikings. Enough said about that game.
—The other games have a winning team playing a losing team and the most interesting game in that category will have the 6-4 Cardinals playing the 4-6 Patriots. A loss would leave the Patriots at 4-7 and would be the first time in his career as a Patriot coach that Belichick has lost seven games in a season. He is now 19-24 without Tom Brady but he’s a defensive coach and his defense has been shaky. It will face a test stopping Kyler Murray although he’s not 100 percent.
—The 0-10 Jets and 1-9 Jaguars are battling for the first pick in next year’s draft and figure to lose to the Dolphins and Browns. The Jaguars will start their third quarterback Mike Glennon against a Browns team that has a rash of injuries.
—The feature game of the day has the Chiefs at 9-1 taking on Tampa Bay at 7-4.It will likely be the last meeting of the best quarterback of the last two decades (Tom Brady) against the player likely to be the best quarterback for the next decade (Patrick Mahomes). Brady is coming off a shaky showing against the Rams last week and will be attempting to bounce back.
—The plus of a Thursday game is teams get 10 days off afterwards. The minus is that it gives losing teams time to make a coaching change. That is what happened to coach Matt Patricia and GM Bob Quinn after the Lions loss to Houston on Thanksgiving Day. Quinn fired Jim Caldwell after consecutive 9-7 seasons three years ago to hire Patricia, another ex-Patriot. Things got worse for the Lions, who have been spinning their wheels for decades. Now they start over. Again.
—The Saints figured to beat the Broncos anyway but what makes this game interesting is that Denver can’t play any of its quarterbacks. They didn’t wear masks in their meeting room so when one tested positive, they all were put in quarantine. So the Broncos will probably play a running back Royce Freeman or a practice squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton at quarterback. Hinton played quarterback at Wake Forest before switching to wide receiver while Freeman only threw one pass at Oregon. The last time non-quarterback started a game was in 1965 when Tom Matte, who played quarterback at Ohio State, started because the Colts’ receivers were injured.