Under normal circumstances, there are a few select time frames when NFL fans can watch their favorite teams take the field. Most of the action takes place on Sunday; there’s also a Thursday night and a Monday night game. During Week 13, however, the Baltimore Ravens and the Dallas Cowboys will be doing things a bit differently and playing some Tuesday night football.
So what’s the real reasoning behind that NFL schedule change? Unsurprisingly, given everything else that’s taken place in 2020, COVID-19 is the culprit.
The Baltimore Ravens are coming out of a pretty serious COVID-19 crisis
Unlike the conclusion of the NBA campaign, the 2020 NFL season isn’t taking place in a bubble. While that makes sense from a logistical perspective, it’s led to some COVID-19-related issues; just the Baltimore Ravens about that.
Although most teams have had an isolated positive test here and there, the Ravens experienced their own internal outbreak. As reported by ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, “At least one Ravens player tested positive for 10 straight days.” In total, the organization “placed 23 players [including Lamar Jackson] on the reserve/COVID-19 list during that span.”
In an official statement shared on the team’s Twitter account, Ravens president Dick Cass explained that the Ravens “had at least four unique strains of COVID-19 in [their] facility.” That one, it seems, caused the real problems.
“Three of the four were stopped and not spread within our organization,” the statement continued. “Unfortunately, the fourth was a highly-contagious strain and spread throughout our organization.”
Why are the Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys playing on Tuesday night?
On paper, the NFL had things planned out pretty well. Both the Baltimore Ravens and the Dallas Cowboys were supposed to play their own games on Thanksgiving; then, the two teams would meet a week later for Week 13’s Thursday Night Football matchup. In reality, though, things didn’t go according to plan.
Due to the Ravens COVID-19 outbreak, they couldn’t take the field on Thanksgiving. Their game with the Steelers was pushed to Sunday, then shifted again to Tuesday. Eventually, the teams hit the gridiron on Wednesday afternoon in order to accommodate the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting.
Given that the Ravens played their Week 12 game on Wednesday, their Week 13 date with the Dallas Cowboys simply couldn’t be played on Thursday. In an effort to give Baltimore some semblance of a normal schedule, their Thursday night game was pushed to Tuesday, December 8.
Despite the unusual scheduling, Week 13’s Tuesday Night Football game could be an interesting matchup
For even the most dedicated NFL fan, sitting down and watching a football game on Tuesday night could feel a bit unnatural. Week 13’s Baltimore Ravens-Dallas Cowboys game, however, could be worth watching.
While the Ravens haven’t quite lived up to the standards they set last season, there’s still time to make something happen. The club is currently sitting outside of the AFC playoff picture; there’s still time to make things happen, and Baltimore’s remaining schedule is pretty easy, but time is running out. A big win on Tuesday night could help put a bow on a challenging few weeks and help everyone get moving in the right direction.
Similarly, the Dallas Cowboys are still within touching distance of the NFC East title. Although you can debate the merits of reaching the playoffs only to lose in the Wild Card round versus losing out and earning a good draft pick, no one in the organization will actively be trying to lose. For the likes of Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff, these remaining few games can also change the tone of the offseason; depending on how the team finishes, the narrative could shift from ‘fire everyone and start over’ to ‘maybe they showed a little something in tough circumstances down the stretch.’
Either way, there will be some NFL action to watch on Tuesday Night. Even if the game is tough to watch, football fans probably won’t be complaining.