Tuesday Night Football returns! Week 15 of the NFL season initially had two Saturday games on the slate, but one of them — the Las Vegas Raiders at the Cleveland Browns — has been moved to Monday night due to the Browns’ ongoing battle with a COVID-19 outbreak. The NFL also moved two other COVID-affected Sunday games to Tuesday evening, including the Washington Football Team at Philadelphia Eagles, and the Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams.
The Las Vegas Raiders (6-7) will now play at the Cleveland Browns (7-6) at 5pm ET on Monday.
The Seattle Seahawks (5-8) will play at the Los Angeles Rams (9-4) at 7pm ET on Tuesday.
The Washington Football Team (6-7) will play at the Philadelphia Eagles (6-7) at 7pm ET on Tuesday.
“We will make every effort, consistent with underlying health and safety principles, to play our full schedule within the current 18 weeks,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a league-wide memo. “Each club is obligated to have its team ready to play at the scheduled time and place. There is no right to postpone a game, and games will not be postponed or rescheduled because of roster issues affecting a particular position group or particular number of players.”
For the first time this season, the NFL rescheduled games due to COVID-19 outbreaks. Last season, the NFL scrambled and pushed multiple games to mid-week, which set a precedent. In the age of COVID during the 2020 season, NFL fans were treated to Tuesday Night Football and Wednesday Night Football scenarios.
When the NFL made the decision to move the Raiders/Browns game from Saturday to Monday, the Browns had 24 infected players, including 12 starters. Without starting quarterback Baker Mayfield or backup QB Case Keenum available, the Browns signed a player off the street for a potential start against the Raiders.
“Health and safety is No. 1, but it’s tough,” said Raiders owner Mark Davis. “Maybe Cleveland should travel here. That would make it more fair.”
Oddsmakers quickly tried to adjust the line to account for the lack of quarterbacks in Cleveland. The Browns opened as -5 favorites, but the line began to drop after Mayfield tested positive for COVID. The Browns have one of the best backup QBs in the league with Keenum, but after he tested positive, the line flipped and the Raiders were a -2 favorite. When word got out that the NFL moved the Raiders/Browns to Monday, the line moved back to a pick’em. Mayfield expects to be able to play on Monday night, which is why the line is currently -3.
The Minnesota Vikings head to Chicago the play the Bears for the normally-schedule Monday Night Football game in Week 15. Da Bears are +6 home dogs.
Tuesday: Seahawks/Rams, WFT/Eagles
The LA Rams saw their roster decimated with COVID-19 when 29 players tested positive or were on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The Rams lost seven starters, including Odell Beckham Jr, Von Miller, and Jalen Ramsey. Tyler Higbee missed last week due to a false positive, but then he tested positive for real this week.
The Rams are fresh off a big victory over the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football. You can back the Rams as -6.5 favorites against the Seahawks in a tough NFC West divisional matchup on Tuesday Night Football.
Seattle head coach Pete Carroll was livid that the Seahawks game was moved because it gives his players one less day to recover for Week 16.
“It’s not what their bodies want to do,” said Carroll. “They’re trained to have a whole week to recover. Not a fan of that for the players’ sake.”
The Washington Football Team has 23 players down with COVID, including starting quarterback Taylor Heinicke and backup Kyle Allen. If neither can test negative twice within a 24-hour period, then Ron Rivera will have to turn to a practice squad player or someone off the street. Kyle Shurmur is currently on WFT’s practice squad. They recently added former SMU quarterback Garrett Gilbert off the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad where he had been trying to convert to wide receiver.
In the other Tuesday Night Football game, the Eagles are -7 favorites against Washington in a battle for second place in the NFC East.