How the Tennessee Titans breaking COVID-19 protocols affects the Chiefs

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - SEPTEMBER 20: A helmet of the Tennessee Titans rests on the sideline during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Nissan Stadium on September 20, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - SEPTEMBER 20: A helmet of the Tennessee Titans rests on the sideline during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Nissan Stadium on September 20, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /

The Tennessee Titans could miss a second consecutive game in Week 5 due to COVID-19. How does that affect the Kansas City Chiefs?

We knew it was a matter of time before the NFL would have to deal with its first COVID-19-related issue. While most of the league has adjusted and handled the protocols in place, the Tennessee Titans have been the outlier. After several players and team personnel tested positive last week for COVID-19, the NFL postponed the Week 4 matchup between the Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers until October 25. Tennessee was forced to shut down their facilities.

Last week, eight players on the Titans roster tested positive. After two consecutive days of negative tests, it looked like things were going to calm down in Tennessee. On Wednesday, a player tested positive, and another player tested positive on Thursday, bringing the total count to 23 since September 24.

Following the outbreak in Tennessee, the NFL informed the Titans on September 29 that facilities would be closed, and gatherings in person had been banned. Several Titans players held a workout at a school in Nashville the following day. Several players told ESPN that they were unaware that workouts had been banned on September 29. Head coach Mike Vrabel said that players were told on October 1st that players could not hold workouts.

"“We’ve asked our players in light of the recent tests to not gather,” Vrabel said. “Whether that’s a league protocol or us asking them so that we can just avoid close contacts and that we can try to work through this and get back into the building to prepare for Buffalo as quickly as possible.”"

The NFL is investigating the gathering and other COVID-19 protocols surrounding the Titans organization. Making matters worse, executives around the NFL have suspected that the team hasn’t been following other protocols either.

"“Execs from multiple teams said it’s been an open secret that the Titans have not strictly enforced guidelines regarding masks within their facility. The execs said they knew this through conversations with Titans staffers predating the outbreak. If this is true, the NFL will find proof on surveillance videos from inside team headquarters. Saffold’s revelation raises another red flag, even if the practice session was held before an NFL memo was distributed explicitly banning such gatherings.”"

Considering the Titans already missed a week by postponing their game against the Steelers, they don’t have another bye week. The NFL is trying to develop a solution surrounding the situation as Tennessee is set to play the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.

How does this affect the Kansas City Chiefs? The Bills host the Chiefs on Thursday night to start Week 6. If the Titans are forced to forfeit the game, that means that the Bills will have a week off and extra time to prepare for Kansas City coming to town. A short week traveling to Buffalo is difficult enough without the home team getting extra time to prepare while the Chiefs play the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.

Kansas City already moved their Week 4 game from Sunday afternoon to a Monday night game against the New England Patriots due to Cam Newton testing positive late last week. If this scenario played out, that means the Chiefs play three games within 11 days; the Bills are coming off a forfeit bye week, into a game that looks to have implications on the Number 1 seed in the AFC. Remember, only the Number 1 seed gets a bye week in the playoffs.

Another scenario is playing the game between the Bills and Titans on Monday or Tuesday night. In this scenario, the Chiefs and Bills would play on Saturday night. Moving the game to Saturday night would benefit Kansas City in terms of time to prepare for Buffalo. Looking at the situation from another angle, it also means the Chiefs would be taking the field against a team that just played against the Titans, who have had over 20 positive tests in the last couple of weeks. Doing so could bring a higher risk for players on both the Bills and Chiefs rosters.

Time will tell what the NFL will elect to do in this situation, but either outcome could affect the Chiefs 2020 season dramatically. Whether it be in the form of exposing players to COVID-19 or playoff implications, the situation is one to monitor over the next couple of days. Several people have been discussing the option of not giving the Bills a win on their record for a forfeit and adjusting playoff rankings by win percentage for these situations.

We all knew that the 2020 season would be unfair to someone at some point, but it looks like we could see that unfair situation sometime real soon.

Next. Around the AFC West: Week 4 roundup. dark