The NFL announced on Wednesday that they would be adjusting its Thanksgiving triple-header to a double-header due to a COVID-19 outbreak. In a statement, the NFL said that the Baltimore Ravens' matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers scheduled for Thursday night will be moved to Sunday. This decision was made out of an abundance of caution to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game-day personnel and in consultation with medical experts. The game will be played at 1:15 p.m. ET and it will remain on NBC and broadcast nationally.
Shortly after the news broke, the Ravens released a statement thanking the league.
"We appreciate the NFL for its diligence in working closely with us to ensure the well-being of players, coaches and staff from both the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers organizations. Protecting the health and safety of each team, in addition to our communities at large, is of utmost importance. We will continue to follow guidance from the NFL and its medical experts, as we focus on safely resuming preparations for Sunday's game."
The Ravens are dealing with at least 10 positive COVID-19 tests between players and staff, and it was already known that they would be without their top two running backs in Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins. According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, the Ravens would've also been severely limited on the offensive line if they indeed played on Thursday. ESPN's Dan Graziano reports that seven players tested positive over the last three days, including most recently Pernell McPhee, Trace McSorley, Matt Skura, Patrick Mekari and Calais Campbell. Naturally, those seven players would not be available to play on Thursday, but as Graziano notes, the league is working on identifying and assessing close contacts of those infected players, and it's possible some of those close contacts could have been ruled out as well. The NFL wanted to play the game as scheduled, but had to make the change with health and safety in mind.
Several Steelers players took to Twitter to voice their displeasure with the league's decision, but commissioner Roger Goodell didn't have much of a choice. Now, the only two games that will be played on Thanksgiving will be the Houston Texans at Detroit Lions, which is scheduled to kick off on CBS at 12:30 p.m. ET, and the Washington Football Team at Dallas Cowboys, which is set to kick off at 4:30 p.m. on Fox.