Four AFC teams did not take the field at their originally scheduled game times for Week 5 because of positive cases among the Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots, which have caused major shifts in the NFL.
The first piece of news came last week, when multiple positive tests from the Titans caused the league to reschedule their game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now, another positive test from a Titans’ staff member on Sunday leaves their already postponed game against the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday in jeopardy.
The Patriots were also impacted last week when quarterback Cam Newton tested positive and was unable to play in their matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. Further positive cases have forced their game against the Denver Broncos, slated for Week 5, to be postponed to next week.
The NFL is dealing with a scheduling nightmare and announced schedule changes Sunday afternoon that affected eight teams. With it still being relatively early into the season, it will be interesting to see how the virus will further affect teams and how the league will deal with more positive cases. With most of the news this week occurring off the field, let’s take a look at some of the AFC matchups from Sunday.
Las Vegas Raiders vs. Kansas City Chiefs
The reigning Super Bowl champions are undefeated no more. The Kansas City Chiefs and underdog Las Vegas Raiders went neck and neck for most of the game, but quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense could not keep up with the Vegas scoring. Quarterback Derek Carr threw for 347 yards with three touchdowns before halftime, and also outplayed Mahomes, who gave up his first interception of the season to the Raiders’ defense. Rookie wide receiver Henry Ruggs III had his first touchdown of his NFL career off of a 72-yard pass from Carr right before the end of the second quarter, which gave Vegas the lead for the first time in the game. This statement win was an important one for Las Vegas, which had just lost two games in a row. They could very likely capitalize from this huge win and become a real threat in the league. Raiders win, 40–32.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans
The Texans’ game against the Jaguars was their first under interim head coach Romeo Crennel after the firing of Bill O’Brien. The Texans looked like a completely different team, both offensively and defensively. Even though he had two interceptions, quarterback Deshaun Watson made up for it by throwing for 359 yards, and also had three touchdowns. There seems to be a more positive mentality among the team under Crennel, and this game could potentially have been an early turning point in the Texans’ season. Houston wins, 30–14.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens
There isn’t much to say here. Although the quarterback matchup between the Heisman winning quarterbacks was moderately anticipated, it was the Ravens’ defense that dominated the entire game. Joe Burrow was sacked seven times, and the blitz pressured Burrow more than he has been so far this season. Lamar Jackson only had three rushing yards and was lucky to only have one interception, but the Ravens’ offense was able to get ahead early thanks to touchdowns from wide receiver Marquise Brown and tight end Mark Andrews. Baltimore wins, 27–3.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Cleveland Browns
The last time the Cleveland Browns started 4–1 was in 1994, when Bill Belichick was head coach and Nick Saban was their defensive coordinator. The Browns scored on all four of their possessions before halftime, and the defense forced Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers to make two crucial mistakes — a pick six and a safety — that resulted in nine defensive points. The infamous double doink kicker Cody Parkey surprisingly clinched the win with a 46-yard field goal. Only time will tell if we can no longer make fun of the Browns. Cleveland wins, 32–23.