From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles:
The NFL has potentially dodged a major bullet laced with COVID-19 at least for the past couple of days, but still must do some creative thinking for the future in case the disease outbreak further interrupts the regular season with three-quarters remaining.
A second “Monday Night Football” contest was finalized Monday morning when the Patriots and Chiefs received universal COVID-19 negative test results. The point of contact testing for both teams returned zero positives.
That’s definitely good news, with only the Steelers-Titans that was set to play Sunday now rescheduled for Oct. 25.
Currently, the Titans (3-0) have at least 20 members of the organization affected by COVID-19, and it remains to be seen if their game Sunday against the high-flying Bills (4-0) will be played in a battle of unbeatens.
One NFL official has termed the COVID-19 situation around the league as “this isn’t a failure of the protocols; it’s a failure to follow the protocols.”
If COVID pops its ugly head again around NFL facilities, the league will have to consider adding an 18th week to the regular season, and thus eliminate the bye week between the conference title games and Super Bowl 55, which will be played in Tampa, Fla.
Also, an extra week also would afford the NFL time to set up a bubble for the postseason and sequester the playoff teams.
The NFL has to keep all options open.
n Thoughts around Week 4 in the NFL: The Cowboys’ Week 2 miracle win over the Falcons just masked team’s flaws, especially on defense. Dallas’ defense is in shambles and has had its worst three-game stretch since the franchise’s inception in 1960. The Cowboys’ front line has been ineffective putting pressure on the opposing QB, the linebackers are either hurt or invisible and secondary is worn out just tackling ball-carriers. In Sunday’s loss to the Browns, DC Mike Nolan’s crew was badly fooled on two trick plays. ... It’s clear the Bucs believe in QB Tom Brady and his vast second-half comeback magic in Sunday’s home win against the Chargers. Do you think the Bucs would have erased a late second-quarter, 14-point hole under former starting QB Jameis Winston? ... I knew the unbeaten starts for the Raiders and Bears were mirages, and the respective QBs they have to face this week are Patrick Mahomes and Brady.
n Richie Rich’s Top 10 rankings in the NFL: 1. Seahawks; 2. Chiefs; 3. Bills; 4. Packers; 5. Steelers; 6. Titans; 7. Ravens; 8. Colts; 9. Bucs; 10. Rams.
Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at email@example.com