A rash of positive Ravens COVID-19 infections, including that of superstar quarterback Lamar Jackson, prompted the league to change its Week 13 plans.
The NFL announced in a statement Friday that the Dallas Cowboys‘ upcoming road tilt in Baltimore, scheduled for next Thursday, Dec. 3, has been moved to Monday, Dec. 7 at 4 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on FOX and NFL Network.
This, after Baltimore’s Week 12 matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers was shifted from Thanksgiving night to Sunday afternoon and now Tuesday evening.
“Should the game be played on Tuesday, the Week 13 Dallas Cowboys at Baltimore Ravens game, originally scheduled for Thursday, December 3, will be moved to Monday, December 7, at 5:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcast nationally on FOX/NFL Network/Amazon,” the statement reads.
“These decisions were made out of an abundance of caution to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel in consultation with medical experts.”
Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy on Friday broached the possibility of the game being altered, confirming the contingencies put into place for such a maneuver.
“If we did move to Sunday, I wouldn’t anticipate us going into a normal seven-day week where I would just treat this weekend and probably Monday, Tuesday like a bye week. I think our team could use that,” McCarthy told reporters.
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Jackson, 3 Others Sent to COVID List
The Ravens were hit hard by the virus over the last week, but Thursday’s round of testing produced four notable positives: Jackson, fullback Patrick Ricard, defensive end Justin Madubuike, and long snapper Morgan Cox — all of whom were moved to the reserve/COVID-19 list on Friday.
Jackson will not play against the Steelers, leaving quarterbacking duties to veteran backup Robert Griffin III. Assuming he provides a series of negative tests in the ensuing days, however, the reigning NFL MVP is tentatively expected to return for Week 13.
“Players who test positive for COVID-19 are required to quarantine for a minimum of 10 days as long as they test negative. Players who are deemed high-risk close contacts have to sit out for at least five days,” the Ravens’ official website explains.
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What This Means for Dallas
It’s, as McCarthy said, essentially a second bye week for the last-place club, who get 10 days off following Thursday’s 41-16 loss to Washington, the first regular-season sweep for the Football Team since 2012.
At 3-8, the Cowboys’ playoff hopes are all but dead even in the lousy NFC East. But those in charge refuse to turn the page to 2021 nor justify losing (intentionally, also known as “tanking”) over the remaining five games.
“There’s really not a decision here on our team with tanking,” owner/general manager Jerry Jones said Friday on 105.3 The Fan, via ESPN. “Let me be real clear here, and I’m not offended by the conversation at all, and I understand what you’re talking about. That’s just not going to be the case.”
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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL