As of last night, in spite of reports of new additional positives, including at least one starting player which was later reported to be wide receiver Willie Snead—the eighth consecutive day in which the Baltimore Ravens had at least one new player test positive—their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers remains on track to be played tomorrow night on Tuesday.
The game’s date, of course, was not as originally scheduled. This game was intended to be played on Thanksgiving night this past Thursday, but it was originally postponed due to the number of Covid-19 cases and scheduled for a 1:20 PM kickoff time on Sunday. Due to even more cases, it was pushed back further to Tuesday at 8:20 PM.
As I have been explaining for the past several days, the mere presence of new positives does not necessarily mean that the game is at risk. The important element in this specific scenario is the genomic markers of the particular strain of Covid-19 that infiltrated the Ravens’ facility—presumably through head strength and conditioning coach Steve Saunders—and the timeline of the initial transmission event.
The Ravens had not gathered as a team since Tuesday morning until players were given the go-ahead last night to re-enter the facility to perform only conditioning work. I would hope and imagine that they practiced thorough social distancing while doing this.
The team will soon have at least 23 players in total on its Reserve/Covid-19 List once the most recent cases—Snead, tight end Mark Andrews, and outside linebacker Matt Judon—are added later today, and about 10 of those players are current starters.
While the Denver Broncos had to play a game without a quarterback, and they were appropriately blown out by a very good New Orleans Saints team, the Ravens will be without their top quarterback, tight end, wide receiver, running back, defensive lineman, fullback, and long snapper, among others, particular with their depth along the offensive and defensive lines.
Baltimore does not even have 53 players available to them. They currently have 34 players on the 53-man roster, excluding the positive cases that haven’t been moved to reserve yet, and another 15 on the practice squad, for a total of 49. Of those 49, four are listed as questionable to play, which means they could have as few as 45 total players available.
But that has no bearing on whether or not they are obligated to play a game. The game has already been postponed twice—not for competitive concerns, but medical concerns. The only thing that would derail the game a third time would be another round of unpredictable positive cases that suggest there was a second, unaccounted for infection event whose incubation period cannot be ascertained.