The Green Bay Packers are facing COVID-19 issues of their own, even though they aren't going to affect their Week 9 matchup with the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday. The NFL revealed the Packers-49ers game is still scheduled for Thursday, despite Green Bay having a positive COVID-19 case from running back AJ Dillon.
In addition to Dillon's positive test, the NFL determined both running back Jamaal Williams and rookie linebacker Kamal Martin were designated as high-risk close contacts. and were told to stay away from the team until Saturday. Dillon, the infected individual, was in close contact with Williams and Martin on Sunday -- hence the five-day incubation period. Both players have been away from the team's facility and have not practiced.
So why will this game be played as scheduled when other NFL games, notably two New England Patriots games and a Tennessee Titans game with the Buffalo Bills that was moved until Tuesday in Week 5 of the season?
Part of it is that Green Bay is traveling to San Francisco, which is different from New England and Tennessee having games postponed. Both the Patriots and Titans had home games when they had their COVID-19 outbreaks, where other teams would have entered facilities that had a recent positive test.
The other part is that only three players have been quarantined. That number obviously could increase if there are other positive tests in the next three days, which could put Thursday Night Football in greater jeopardy. The NFL has not set clear lines on how many cases are needed to lead to a rescheduling.
The Packers will be thin at running back as Aaron Jones' status is in doubt, as he missed two of the past three games with a calf injury. Green Bay is down to Dexter Williams and Tyler Ervin as its lone fully healthy running backs -- and the Packers will have to activate Williams from the practice squad. Ervin actually plays and practices as a wide receiver.
CBS Sports Fantasy analyst Chris Towers, writing for the Fantasy Football Today newsletter, offered this advice to managers who have Jones or Jamaal Williams on their teams:
"It might be worth putting in a small bid on Ervin or Dexter Williams just in case the Packers top three backs are out for this one. Ervin has been used mostly as a pass catcher, so Williams might be more likely to handle rushing downs against this tough matchup. Neither figures to be more than a desperation flex play."
As for the Packers, the situation certainly appears less than ideal, especially if star Jones is forced out of a third consecutive game.