Despite coronavirus outbreaks on both teams in recent days, the Ravens-Steelers game is still on for Tuesday night — for now.
Baltimore saw two more members of its team test positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, including Pro Bowl tight end and Type 1 diabetic Mark Andrews, ESPN reported Sunday.
That brought the team’s total to at least 11 players and 10 staff members who have recently contracted the virus. Twenty players have been added to the reserve/COVID list in recent days.
While it was Baltimore’s outbreak that led to the Ravens-Steelers game, originally slotted in primetime on Thanksgiving, being rescheduled, the Steelers have been dealing with COVID problems, too.
On Saturday, star running back and cancer survivor James Conner tested positive for the virus, in addition to special-teams coordinator Danny Smith. The cases were revealed after the team a day earlier put three players on the reserve/COVID list.
Though there have been multiple postponements, the NFL has not yet canceled a game through the first 12 weeks of the season. The league is reportedly discussing a course of action should the Steelers-Ravens game be cancelled. Since both teams have already had their bye weeks, the NFL could institute a Week 18 scenario if the game could impact the postseason.
The NFL owners this month also approved a contingency plan that would expand the playoffs from 14 to 16 teams, should games that could impact the playoff be cancelled.
This could potentially help Baltimore, which is 6-4 and on the bubble of a playoff spot. Pittsburgh is 10-0 and essentially locked into the postseason.
The expanded playoff would have eight teams from each conference, with four division champions and four wild-card teams in each conference.
There would be no teams with a bye in the first round, where the pairings would be 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6 and 4 vs. 5 in each conference.