After two postponements, Broncos – Patriots could be canceled as another Pat is positive

Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio during the first half against the Oakland Raiders at Empower Field at Mile High. Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Are the Broncos and Patriots ever going to play in 2020?

Ok, rewinding to March, which seems like forever ago, having any NFL games in 2020 seemed like a dream. Fast forward to Week 6 of the NFL season and it’s all beginning to look like a house of cards.

According to multiple reports, the Patriots have at least one more positive test on the team, which prompted New England to shut down their facility for a third straight Week.

First, it was Cam Newton who delayed Chiefs – Patriots. Then, Stephon Gilmore’s positive test moved the Denver – New England game to Monday afternoon before it was postponed all together until this Sunday, in Week 6.

The Broncos — who are beginning to look like one of the best-prepared teams in the league — have had no positive tests during the regular season, but their game against the Dolphins was moved to Week 8. That meant many other games were moved around as well to accommodate everyone. It also meant the incredibly injured Broncos had to work through their “bye” week, which players weren’t happy about.

Now, we’re not quite sure what happens next as yet another Patriots player has been deemed a positive case of COVID-19.

The novel coronavirus is still being figured out and those who have contracted it have a wide range of symptoms. Some are asymptomatic, some are mildly sick and others are planted on the couch for weeks. Still others with the disease are taken to the hospital and even placed into Intensive Care Units. And in the worst cases, patients die.

Of course, those at risk of dying are typically older, less physically fit people. To this point, no NFL players have died from the virus, although the risk is still there. Von Miller contracted the virus in the summer, and the asthmatic superstar recovered.

The point is: The NFL is making the right choices to close facilities and postpone games due to COVID.

But, what happens next? For the Broncos and Patriots, there remains a small possibility the two could face one another on Monday afternoon, as they were supposed to do earlier this week. That could only happen if no other Patriots test positive between now and then.

Because the game has been postponed twice already, using Week 5 as the bye for both Denver and New England, the league simply cannot move the game again.

That opens the door for an outright canceling of the contest. The NFL has made it clear throughout all of this they want the entire season to play out, even if some games must be canceled. That opens the door for mass confusion at the end of the season.

If a game is canceled — say the Broncos and Patriots only play 15 games because of this — the NFL will likely treat the teams’ records like if they had a tie, taking the beat win-loss percentages into the playoffs.

For the Broncos and their fans, this all seems unfair, even if Denver is likely to get Drew Lock and Noah Fant back in their lineup this week.