NFL flexes Buccaneers-Raiders out of ‘Sunday Night Football’ in Week 7, moves Seahawks-Cardinals in

The NFL is making its first "Sunday Night Football" flex of the 2020 season, though it has nothing to do with the quality of the originally scheduled game.

The league announced Thursday afternoon that Sunday's showcase on NBC, Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2) visiting the Las Vegas Raiders (3-2), would be moved to the 4:05 p.m. ET window on Fox. The Seattle Seahawks' visit to the Arizona Cardinals will move into the prime-time slot.

"These decisions were made out of an abundance of caution to ensure that a game would be available for fans on Sunday Night Football," read a statement from the NFL.

"We expect the Buccaneers-Raiders game to be played on Sunday afternoon. Scheduling decisions are made to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel and in consultation with medical experts."

NFL WEEK 7 PICKS: Do Steelers or Titans fall from ranks of unbeaten?

Raiders RT Trent Brown (77) has tested positive for COVID-19. (Photo: Denny Medley, USA TODAY Sports)

Raiders offensive tackle Trent Brown and rookie cornerback Damon Arnette were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday. Las Vegas, which is coming off its bye week, subsequently sent its entire offensive line home from yesterday's practice as a precaution. Arnette is currently on injured reserve.

However according to ESPN, the remainder of the O-line (guards Denzelle Good and Gabe Jackson, center Rodney Hudson and left tackle Kolton Miller) plus safety Johnathan Abram are bound for the virus list, too, which would seem to make playing on Sunday a dicey proposition.

Confirmed: #Raiders OL and Abram all going on COVID-19 list as they have been deemed HIGH RISK contacts, so they are now ‘quarantined’ for 5 days plus last day of contact, which was Monday. Which means they could conceivably be cleared Sunday morning via a POC test but (more)…

After shuffling a series of games and bye weeks following a viral outbreak within the Tennessee Titans organization and enough positives among the New England Patriots to move their Week 5 game with the Denver Broncos to Week 6, the league's 17-game scheduled appeared to be back on track entering Week 7.

If the Bucs-Raiders matchup cannot be played in Week 7 – and the NFL has already shown willingness to play as late as Tuesday night – the league may be forced to add an 18th week to the regular season given Las Vegas no longer has an open date in its calendar.


Follow USA TODAY Sports' Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis

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Ravens plan to sign ex-Cowboys star Dez Bryant to practice squad, per report

Dez Bryant might be getting his long-awaited opportunity to return to the NFL.

The Baltimore Ravens plan to sign the former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver to their practice squad pending a workout and physical, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Thursday.

Bryant, who turns 32 in two weeks, has not played in an NFL game since 2017. In 2018, he signed with the New Orleans Saints but never played in a game after suffering a torn Achilles in practice.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Bryant stands as the Cowboys' all-time leader in receiving touchdowns with 73. He worked out for the Ravens in August, but no deal materialized between the two sides.

Baltimore hosts Dallas on Dec. 3, a Thursday night matchup.

NFL WEEK 7 PICKS: Do Steelers or Titans fall from ranks of unbeaten?

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) smiles while out on the field prior to the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. (Photo: Matthew Emmons, Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports)

The Ravens are 5-1 entering their bye week, but their offense ranks 26th overall (342.2 yards per game) and 31st in passing (177.8 yards per game). Reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson has been held to less than 200 yards passing in each of his previous four games.

Earlier on Thursday, the Ravens acquired former Pro Bowl defensive end Yannick Ngakoue in a trade with the Minnesota Vikings.

Follow Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz on Twitter @MikeMSchwartz.

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Andrew Siciliano not hosting Red Zone Channel after positive COVID-19 test

For the first time since DirecTV launched its Sunday Ticket Red Zone Channel in 2005, Andrew Siciliano is not be hosting the weekly NFL highlight show.

Shortly before Sunday's early games were set to kick off, Siciliano revealed on social media that he tested positive for COVID-19 and therefore would not be taking his familiar spot on TV sets across the country. 

After that positive result early Sunday morning, Siciliano said a retest came back negative. However, "out of the super-abundance of caution and to be respectful to my teammates, I'm sitting this one out."

Dan Hellie will take Siciliano's place in the anchor chair for Week 6.

I’m going to just be a fan [email protected]/X5NHM9b1mT

Until missing this week, Siciliano had hosted 260 consecutive Red Zone Sundays on DirecTV.

"I feel great, by the way," Siciliano said in his video announcement, "and I will be back ASAP."

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Denver Broncos at New England Patriots: Live stream, how to watch, odds, time

The matchup is finally on.

The New England Patriots will host the Denver Broncos on Sunday in a matchup that was rescheduled from last week after New England had positive tests for COVID-19. The Patriots canceled Friday's practice after another positive COVID-19 test but reopened their facility on Saturday.

Sunday's game will mark a return to action for both quarterbacks. The Patriots' Cam Newton sat out the Week 4 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs after testing positive for COVID-19. Now back in the lineup, he'll be seeking his first win over the Broncos, against whom he is 0-3 for his career. The Broncos' Drew Lock is also expected to start after missing the previous two games with a shoulder injury. 

In this Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, file photo, New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton runs against the Las Vegas Raiders during an NFL football game at Gillette Stadium, in Foxborough, Mass. (Photo: Winslow Townson, AP)

Here's everything you need to know for Sunday:

What time does Broncos vs. Patriots start?

The game kicks off at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, Oct. 18.

What TV channel is Broncos vs. Patriots on?

The game will be aired on CBS.

How can I watch Broncos vs. Patriots online via live stream?

Fans can watch the game via live stream on NFL RedZone or fuboTV.

What are the odds for Broncos vs. Patriots?

According to BetMGM, the line is Patriots -7.4 and the over/under is at 44.5.

Where can I find score updates for Broncos vs. Patriots?

USA TODAY Sports will have all the latest on the game in our box scores.

Gannett may earn revenue from audience referrals to betting services. Newsrooms are independent of this relationship and there is no influence on news coverage.

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New England Patriots cancel practice after positive COVID-19 test, per report

A day after Cam Newton and Stephon Gilmore returned from the COVID-19 list to practice, the New England Patriots had to pause activities due to coronavirus concerns once again.

The team canceled its Friday practice and media session after a positive test, ESPN reported, as the team awaits a positive test confirmation for a second individual.

On Sunday, the Patriots are scheduled to play the Denver Broncos, who they were supposed to originally face Oct. 10.

After Gilmore and practice squad defensive lineman Billy Murray also tested positive, the team’s game against the Broncos was moved to Monday night – a similar accommodation that followed Newton’s positive test on Oct. 3 that led to the Patriots’ contest against the Kansas City Chiefs moving back one day to a Monday evening matchup.

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Denver Broncos coach Vic Fangio tells his team not to shake Jets’ hands after game

After the Denver Broncos emerged victorious over the New York Jets 37-28 in a battle of the winless on Thursday Night Football, coach Vic Fangio wanted to make sure his team immediately returned to the locker room. 

While that may seem reasonable amid a pandemic, Fangio's instructions contained a different agenda. The 62-year-old wanted to make sure his team avoided any further extracurricular activities with the Jets, who committed six personal fouls, including three roughing the passer calls and two unnecessary roughness flags. 

“There was just a couple of personal fouls there at the end and our sideline was getting pissed off about it,” Fangio said after the game. “I just wanted to avoid any confrontation at the end of the game and having it get ugly there.”

Broncos HC Vic Fangio appeared to direct his team off of the field right as the clock hit 0:00 without interacting with the Jets at the end of tonight’s game.

Broncos quarterback Brett Rypien, making his first career NFL start, took a couple of hard hits from the Jets near the end of the game that also seemed to upset Denver's sideline. 

Still, some Broncos and Jets players mingled near midfield once the clock hit zero. Fangio motored across the playing surface toward the tunnel to the locker room and bypassed shaking hands with Jets coach Adam Gase, whose team is 0-4 for the second consecutive season. 

Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio reacts with offensive tackle Garett Bolles (72) after their game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. (Photo: Vincent Carchietta, USA TODAY Sports)

Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.

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