According to a source familiar with the NFL’s planning scenarios, when the league decided not to play the Broncos-Patriots on Sunday morning on Monday night, they discussed an indefinite postponement, which would essentially include the “Week 18” scenario.
Instead, the Broncos-Patriots game was postponed to next Sunday – and an contingency plan was implemented, including eight games, eight teams and six weeks of substitution. However, since a team that has already said goodbye cannot play in a given week, week 18 is likely to become a reality.
This can happen right after Monday morning. If positive tests among the Buffalo Bills and / or Tennessee Titans force Tuesday̵
In a scenario of week 18, the league is likely to play these matches only if they have a significant impact on the playoffs. It is possible that if the game, say, decides whether a team is the fifth or seventh seed, the NFL will choose not to play it.
However, week 18 is probably a reality and depending on future delays – and with the possibility that a team may be affected more than once (after losing their week) – week 19 may even be added.
So what would that mean for the postseason? It can obviously be delayed. The league can save a week by deciding to cancel the Pro Bowl and play the Super Bowl a week after the conference championship games (which has been done before).
As for the Super Bowl LV? Well, it will be much easier to change the date of the game than in other years, when hotels are booked far in advance and legions of fans outside the area are in play. The Super Bowl can be postponed for one, two or three weeks.
Bottom line: Expect at least one week to be added to the regular season and that alone may not solve the problem. The goal remains for each team to play 16 games of the regular season – eight home games, eight away games – but this can be dropped as things develop.