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NFL, and Green Bay, in Particular, Wrestle with COVID-19

On a per-capita basis, Green Bay's rolling 14-day average of new cases is greater than the NFL's next four cities combined.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – Sunday’s postponement of the Denver Broncos’ game at the New England Patriots due to COVID-19 set off a chain reaction of scheduling changes as the NFL desperately tries to play its full 16-game schedule without adding weeks or impacting the Super Bowl.

To move Denver-New England to next week to take advantage of the Patriots’ upcoming bye, seven other moves needed to be made. None of those impacted the Packers.

Bye weeks are supposed to provide a respite mentally and physically. For coach Matt LaFleur, COVID was probably never too far from his mind. His team had gotten through an abbreviated training camp and the first four weeks of the season unscathed.

LaFleur’s team is at a higher risk than any other team in the NFL. According to the latest data from the NFLPA via Johns Hopkins University, the rolling 14-day average number of new cases per day in the Green Bay area is 84.10 per 100,000 population. That’s more than the next four NFL cities – Houston (26.9 per 100,000 population), Kansas City (19.23), Carolina (15.25) and Minneapolis (15.12) – combined.

The Green Bay rate is staggering. When the Packers conducted their practice of training camp on Aug. 15, the average was 14.0 new cases per day per 100,000 population. That’ a rise of 600 percent. The rise has been relentless for about a month.

According to the latest data from the state of Wisconsin (last updated Oct. 7), 85.1 percent of Brown County's ICU beds are filled.

“All it takes is one guy to infect everybody else,” LaFleur said after Monday night’s victory over Atlanta. “Whether we’re inside the facility or we’re out in the community, we’ve got to be smart. We’ve got to be very mindful of everything that we’re doing. We’ve got to wear a mask. We would certainly appreciate it if everyone in this community would follow suit because I think everybody enjoys watching the Green Bay Packers and, for that to continue, we need people to do their part. We said it a long time ago. It’s going to take all of us, and I mean that. We’ve just got to keep our players safe and keep everybody safe because that’s important. There’s nothing more important than your health. I’d continue to urge people to be responsible, to think of others, to wear a mask and social distance.”

A fourth positive test in a span of eight days within the Patriots led to the postponement. The Tennessee Titans, who have had 24 positives over a span of about two weeks, are scheduled to play the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday night so long as there aren’t more positive tests.

Here are all the hoops the NFL had to jump through to reschedule one football game:

Schedule Changes

The Denver Broncos at New England Patriots game will be played in Week 6 on Sunday, October 18 at 1 p.m. ET on CBS.

The Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills Week 6 game moves from Thursday, October 15 to Monday, October 19 at 5:00 p.m. ET on FOX/NFL Network/Amazon.

The New York Jets at Miami Dolphins game moves from Week 10 to Week 6 at 4:05 p.m. ET on CBS.

The New York Jets at Los Angeles Chargers game moves from Week 6 to Week 11 on Sunday, November 22 at 4:05 p.m. ET on CBS.

The Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Chargers game moves from Week 8 to Week 7 on Sunday, October 25 at 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS.

The Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos game moves from Week 11 to Week 8 on Sunday, November 1 at 4:05 p.m. ET on CBS.

The Los Angeles Chargers at Miami Dolphins game moves from Week 7 to Week 10 on Sunday, November 15 at 4:05 p.m. ET on CBS.

The Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos game moves from Week 6 to Week 11 at 4:05 p.m. ET on CBS.

Schedule Changes by Team

Denver Broncos

Bye moves from Week 8 to Week 5

Denver Broncos at New England Patriots moves from Week 5 to Week 6

Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos moves from Week 11 to Week 8

Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos moves from Week 6 to Week 11

New England Patriots

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