Postponing Thursday Night Football Would Give Panthers Distinct Advantage Over Falcons in Week 8

How badly do the Falcons hope next Thursday's game is played as scheduled?
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The NFL scheduled the Atlanta Falcons for one Thursday night game this season against the Carolina Panthers in Week 8. For at least one reason, the Falcons would like the game played on its originally scheduled night.

There are still eight days until that kickoff, and each team is focused on their Week 7 matchup this Sunday, but it's still not too early to wonder if coronavirus could cause a postponement. On Monday and Tuesday, Carolina closed its practice facility and worked virtually because of an undisclosed positive COVID-19 test according to ESPN.

Additionally, the Panthers added backup guard Michael Schofeld to the NFL's COVID-19 list. Players can be placed on the list for testing positive or for coming in contact with someone who did. The Panthers currently have three guards on the COVID-19 list.

Now, it's quite possible the Panthers reopen their facility Wednesday or Thursday and nothing for Week 8 is even remotely affected by this recent closure. However, if the Panthers are forced to take an unexpected bye week this Sunday as other teams have been, it would seem probable to assume the Thursday night game between the Panthers and Falcons will be moved to Sunday or even later -- perhaps Monday or Tuesday.

If that occurs, the Panthers will have one distinct advantage. All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey is battling a high-ankle sprain and hasn't played since Week 2. On Tuesday, Panthers coach Matt Rhule all but ruled out McCaffrey for this Sunday against the New Orleans Saints, but the running back "has a shot" to play in Week 8.

That "shot" to play becomes more likely if the game is Sunday, Nov. 1 instead of Thursday, Oct. 29.

As if the Falcons didn't have enough to be concerned about -- a COVID-19 postponement next Thursday could be the difference between whether or not the Falcons face one of the best backs in the league.