Raiders vs. Browns Postponed: Week 15 Saturday NFL game moved due to COVID-19

    With COVID running rampant, the NFL has officially postponed Saturday's Raiders vs. Browns game to later in the week.

    In what was supposed to be the first weekend with Saturday football of the 2021 NFL season, the Las Vegas Raiders vs. Cleveland Browns matchup has now been postponed to Monday. Due to a severe COVID outbreak running rampant throughout the Browns’ organization, this Week 15 matchup will now kick off on Monday, December 20, at 5 PM ET.

    Raiders vs. Browns game postponed in Week 15

    Over the past week, the Browns have placed over 20 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list. As a result, players such as quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum, as well as wide receiver Jarvis Landry and DE Jadeveon Clowney, were in danger of missing the game.

    With outbreaks across multiple teams, including the Los Angeles Rams and Washington Football Team, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the league was experiencing pressure from players and the NFLPA to reschedule games that were the most impacted. Some of the pressure Schefter alluded to was from Mayfield himself. The Browns QB took to Twitter to express his frustrations around the NFL’s testing policies.

    “Make up your damn mind on protocols,” Mayfield wrote. “Showing up and making only 3 teams test?!? All so you can keep the game as scheduled to make money. Actually caring about player safety would mean delaying the game with this continuing at the rate it is,” he continued. “But to say you won’t test vaccinated players if they don’t have symptoms, then to pull this randomly. Doesn’t make any sense to me.”

    It looks like the pressure worked as news broke that the NFL postponed the Raiders vs. Browns contest. This aligns with what the league said at the beginning of the year when they outlined their COVID strategy. As long as the outbreak was not due to an unvaccinated player, the NFL said it would do everything it could to get the game in and maintain competitive integrity.

    The NFL had to move games due to COVID outbreaks in 2020

    While this Raiders vs. Browns game will be the first of the 2021 NFL season to be postponed due to COVID-19 positive tests, the NFL does have experience from 2020. The NFL began moving games due to positive tests in Week 4 last season. Following an outbreak in the Titans’ organization, the league actually moved the Titans vs. Steelers contest back three weeks and gave both teams an unscheduled bye week.

    Unfortunately, the NFL is already through all of its bye weeks at this stage. Therefore, they do not have that option. That means they have to look at simply shifting the game back a few days instead. The NFL also experienced this last season. Again in Week 4, they moved the game between the Patriots and Chiefs back one day due to a positive test on both sides.

    Then, in Week 5, they moved the Titans’ game with the Bills back to Tuesday, which led to them moving the Bills’ Week 6 game back from Sunday to Monday. Week 5 also saw the Patriots and Broncos game postponed by a week, with bye weeks shifting to accommodate the move.

    Things got interesting around Thanksgiving when the Ravens dealt with their own COVID outbreak. The game was ultimately postponed to the following Wednesday. With the Ravens scheduled to play on Thursday Night Football in Week 13, that game also had to be moved back to the following Tuesday. That is a similar situation the NFL now faces with this Raiders vs. Browns game being postponed.

    The postponed Week 15 Raiders vs. Browns game will have significant knock-on effects

    The biggest issue for the NFL here is that the Browns were due to play on Christmas Day against the Green Bay Packers. This postponement means that it will be tough for the Browns to fulfill both games. Thus, the NFL could potentially lose one of its two marquee Christmas Day contests in 2021.

    With the game being played on Monday, the NFL could keep the Christmas Day game in its place. The time span between a game Tuesday and one Saturday is the same as a team playing Sunday and Thursday. The NFL would love to keep their Christmas Day schedule intact if they can.

    Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

    Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

    Related Articles