What 2020 NFL season could look like for teams, players, fans

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Roger Goodell was clear through the scouting and draft process that all things must be equal for all teams; if one team can’t open its facility, then no team can use its facility. Fair enough, and it was actually an unintended and lovely consequence that draft rooms this year were dining rooms and kitchens and home offices, with kids [and one dog] hanging out with GM and coach dads. “It was great to see all 32 teams be as efficient or almost as efficient in the draft while having a lot better quality of life,” said Seattle tight end Greg Olsen—and Americans everywhere seemed to agree.

Talking to smart people in and close to the league in the past few days, I got the impression the idea of an imperfect season is on the minds of many.

“At some point,” one top club executive said, “we’re going to have start accepting inequalities. What happens when teams in four states are told, ‘You can’t have training camp?’ Do those teams not have camp? Do they travel to a state that allows a gathering of 100 or so people to work? Time will tell, but the way it looks now, there’s no way all states are going to be under equal rules by the summer.”

“I’m very confident of a 16-game season with a Super Bowl in February,” said sports-business consultant Marc Ganis of SportsCorp Ltd. Ganis is a confidant of several owners and top league officials. “I didn’t say I was confident in 16 games with a bye, or what week in February the Super Bowl would be, or if every team will play eight games in their home stadiums, or whether there will be fans at every game. There’s more information that’s needed before we have these answers. Teams are just going to have be flexible.”

I put a lot of stock in Ganis’ words, because I know who he knows and I know how much NFL people value his advice. Asterisk to his points: I am not as confident of a 16-game season, nor are a couple of the smart people I spoke with for this column. I won’t be surprised if this is a 12 or 14-game season. But with the scheduled start of the regular season 18 weeks away, that’s a lot of time for many different alternatives to develop, and pressure points to come from all over—including the White House, which clearly wants sports to resume. So we can’t know now what shape the league will take this year, but we can have some ideas to consider.

The Schedule

The caveats of the season make this week’s release of the 256-game slate problematic. I’ve thought all along the new stadium in Los Angeles, SoFi Stadium, would host its first game in Week 1, quite possibly the marquee Cowboys-Rams game, and quite possibly in the NFL’s big Sunday night NBC window. But now with the end of stadium construction slowed due to the coronavirus and the real possibility that no fans would attend the game in a state, California, that has been uber-sensitive to crowds of any sort, would the NFL want to scrub that matchup and instead put the Sunday night opener in a place that is “opening up” more aggressively now?

As I’ve said in this space, it’s likely the NFL is making multiple schedules, in the case of a reduction to 14 or 12 or 10 games per team. Even a 16-game schedule could have major changes. It’s possible the schedule gets pushed back a week or four, and maybe the byes eliminated, but we can’t know that now. It’s also possible the league could choose to start four weeks late and simply kick off the schedule with the Week 5 games, beginning Oct. 8 . . . and take Weeks 1 through 4 and put them on the last four weekends in January. That would keep the bye week intact, which is likely important because the players union would fight to keep the in-season week off in place. In that scenario, playoffs would begin Feb. 6 with the Super Bowl on Feb. 28.

When the schedule comes out later this week, the one thing current events have done, most likely, is to make Tampa Bay a national team with new quarterback Tom Brady. I’d be surprised if the Bucs didn’t get scheduled for a prime-time game in Week 1, perhaps in one of the two ESPN windows on Monday.

The Players

I was on a call with reporters in April with the National Football League Players Association’s medical director, Thom Mayer, who was surveying the cloudy landscape. “We’ll go anywhere the science takes us and nowhere the science doesn’t,” Mayer said. “We’re going to look at everything as long as it keeps all 2,500 players safe.” I doubt you’d see any players say they were refusing to play. But if a team, for example, gets four or five positive tests of players, coaches or staff close together, would the league shut down that team and cancel its next game or two?

The Testing

Potentially sensitive. What if each of the 32 teams is testing its players and essential staff twice a week. (Obviously, they’ll have to be tested regularly, to ensure that no COVID-positive person spreads the disease in the close quarters of a football team.) Say that’s 150 people (players, coaches, staff). So 300 tests per week (17) per team (32)—that adds up to 163,000 tests for the regular season. Let’s round up for the full season: 200,000 tests for a sports league to play its full schedule. By August, will there be enough tests so that the NFL doesn’t seem piggish to be using 200,000 that could go to the general public? (Even half that number, 100,000 tests, is a major number if many in the country are going without.)

And teams will have to be willing, in the case of a positive test, to commit to placing that person in quarantine for two weeks. So the Kansas City Chiefs had better be comfortable with Chad Henne playing for two weeks or more if Patrick Mahomes tests positive. The Patriots had better be comfortable with Josh McDaniels coaching the team for two weeks if Bill Belichick tests positive.

The Fans

I could see the NFL, if and when fans are allowed to come to games, advising anyone over 70 to not come. I could see alcohol being banned at games for the year. (Meaning, theoretically, fewer trips to crowded restrooms through crowded concourses by patrons.) With three teams in California, and Gov. Gavin Newsom having a hair-trigger about anything that draws a crowd, the NFL may have to determine if it’s willing to play games with fans in Tampa Bay, and games with no fans in California, for most of all of the season.

TV and The Media

I won’t be surprised if the major networks have their broadcast teams call games from studios. It wouldn’t be hard, for instance, for FOX to set up producers and directors for games on their massive lots in Los Angeles, and perhaps for CBS to do the same in studios in or near their studios in New York City. I’m sure it’d be weird for Joe Buck and Troy Aikman to sit eight feet apart in a soundproof booth in Hollywood to do a big 49ers-Seahawks doubleheader game, but it was weird for Tampa Bay GM Jason Licht to run a three-day draft from his kids’ spacious toyroom, and he managed pretty well.

As for writers and other media covering games, this might be a season of no trips to team facilities and no press box viewing—but a lot of watching games on TV and Zoom press conferences with coaches and players after the game.

Different Rules

The executive offices for Santa Clara (Calif.) County, Jeffrey Smith, said last month he doesn’t see any sports events in the county—home of the 49ers—until at least Thanksgiving. Could the 49ers at some point have to play games somewhere else? Could the 49ers play an imbalanced schedule, with more games on the road than at home? Think about how the sports landscape has changed in the last six weeks before you say, Absolutely not!

You have to consider that by August—when preparation for a full season would have to begin—that all rules for human contact and the gathering of even small crowds could still be different in some of the 50 states.

So there’s lots to think about. When you see the schedule come out this week, it’s okay to be excited and have anticipation. But don’t get married to it.

“I think you have to look at 2020 as an experimental year that is off-kilter,” one club executive of a major market team told me. “It’s a litmus test is how we adapt.”

Read more from Peter King’s Football Morning in America column here.

2022 NFL Playoff Picture Week 14: Standings, clinching scenarios ahead of Dolphins vs Chargers on SNF

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Week 14 on Sunday Night Football features a matchup between Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins against Justin Herbert and the LA Chargers at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America on NBC and Peacock. December is here and Week 14 means that we’re officially thinking about the NFL playoff picture, and who will be in contention for a spot in Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona, this February. Here’s how things stand in the playoff picture heading into the weekend:

RELATED: FMIA Week 13 – Brock Purdy Gets The Save And The Starting Job; Burrow Still Owns Mahomes And The Chiefs

Where do the Dolphins and Chargers stand in the 2022 NFL Playoff Picture ahead of Week 14?

Miami Dolphins:

Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins (8-4) are currently in Wild Card position despite a brutal 33-17 loss against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 13 where the third-year QB injured his ankle on a strip sack late in the 4th quarter. According to Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel, the injury is not serious and Tagovailoa is expected to start this Sunday. The Dolphins are 14-3 in Tagovailoa’s last 17 starts dating back to Week 11 last season and look to make their first playoff appearance since 2016. Tagovailoa currently leads the NFL in passer rating (112.0) and yds/attempt (9.02).

RELATED: Mike McDaniel – I don’t anticipate any setback that would keep Tua Tagovailoa from playing

LA Chargers:

Herbert and the LA Chargers (6-6) are currently in the hunt for a playoff spot and sit one game behind the New England Patriots after picking up their 3rd loss in the last 4 games last Thursday against the Raiders. The Chargers have not made it to the playoffs since 2018 when they lost 48-21 in the Divisional round to the New England Patriots. Herbert, also a third-year quarterback drafted one pick behind Tagovailoa in 2020, is looking to make his first career playoff appearance.

See below for the 2022 NFL playoff clinching scenarios and standings for Week 14 as well as additional information on how to watch and live stream this week’s Dolphins vs Chargers match-up.

RELATED: How to watch Dolphins vs Chargers  – TV/Live Stream info for Sunday night’s game

2022 NFL Playoff Clinching Scenarios for Week 14:

Kansas City Chiefs (9-3) vs Denver Broncos (3-9) – Sunday, December 11 (4:05 PM ET)

The Kansas City Chiefs can clinch the AFC West division title with the following:

  • A win against the Broncos AND a LA Chargers loss against the Miami Dolphins.

Minnesota Vikings (10-2) vs. Detroit Lions (5-7) – Sunday, December 11 (1:00 PM ET)

The Minnesota Vikings can clinch the NFC North division title this Sunday with the following:

  • A win or tie against the Lions.

Philadelphia Eagles (11-1) vs New York Giants (7-4-1) – Sunday, December 11 (1:00 PM ET)

The Philadelphia Eagles can clinch a playoff berth with the following:

  • A win or tie against the New York Giants

OR

  • A San Francisco 49ers loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers AND a Seattle Seahawks loss against the Carolina Panthers.

RELATED: PFT’s Week 14 2022 NFL Power Rankings

AFC Standings – Week 14

  1. Buffalo Bills (9-3)
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (9-3)
  3. Baltimore Ravens (8-4)
  4. Tennessee Titans (7-5)
  5. Cincinnati Bengals (8-4)
  6. Miami Dolphins (8-4)
  7. New York Jets (7-5)

In the Hunt:
New England Patriots (6-6)
Los Angeles Chargers (6-6)
Las Vegas Raiders (5-7)

NFC Standings – Week 14

  1. Philadelphia Eagles (11-1)
  2. Minnesota Vikings (10-2)
  3. San Francisco 49ers (8-4)
  4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-6)
  5. Dallas Cowboys (9-3)
  6. NY Giants (7-4-1)
  7. Seattle Seahawks (7-5)

In the Hunt:
Washington Commanders (7-5-1)
Detroit Lions (5-7)
Green Bay Packers (5-8)

Which teams have been eliminated from playoff contention?

The Bears (3-10) and Texans (1-10-1) were both eliminated from playoff contention in Week 13. The Cardinals and Broncos could face elimination in Week 14.

RELATED: Bills move into first place in AFC


How to watch the Miami Dolphins vs LA Chargers:

  • Where: SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California
  • When: Sunday, December 11
  • Start Time: 8:20 p.m. ET; live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night In America
  • TV Channel: NBC
  • Stream liveWatch live on Peacock or with the NBC Sports App

What time is kickoff for the Miami Dolphins vs LA Chargers game?

Kickoff is at 8:20 p.m. ET.

RELATED: 2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

For all your tailgating needs for the 2022 Fall season, click here!

Football Night in America will feature a weekly segment hosted by former NFL quarterback Chris Simms and sports betting and fantasy pioneer Matthew Berry, which highlights storylines and betting odds for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game on NBC, Peacock, and Universo. Real-time betting odds on the scoring ticker during FNIA also will be showcased. Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, an NFL postgame show produced by NBC Sports, will also go deep on the storylines and BetMGM betting lines that proved prominent during the matchup.


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

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The 2022 NFL Football season is finally back in session. This Sunday night Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins (8-4) will battle it out with Justin Herbert and the LA Chargers (6-6) as the race for the playoffs heats up in the AFC. The Dolphins currently hold one of the AFC’s Wild Card spots and sit one game behind the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East. The Chargers are one game behind the NY Jets for the division’s final playoff spot.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Playoff Picture Week 14 – Standings, clinching scenarios ahead of Dolphins vs Chargers on SNF

Sunday night’s game was originally scheduled to feature a match-up between the Chiefs vs Broncos but the NFL made the decision to flex the game early last week. The Chiefs vs Broncos game will now take place at 4:05 p.m. ET.

Live coverage of the Dolphins vs Chargers game begins at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America. NBC and Peacock have got you covered with access to this week’s games as well as every Sunday Night Football game this season.

RELATED: FMIA Week 13 – Brock Purdy Gets The Save And The Starting Job; Burrow Still Owns Mahomes And The Chiefs

This year’s Sunday Night Football coverage will feature Mike Tirico and Cris Collinsworth in the booth and Melissa Stark on the sidelines. Live coverage begins every Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. ET with Football Night in America with the talented group of Maria Taylor, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison, Jason Garrett, Chris Simms, Jac Collinsworth, Mike Florio, and Matthew Berry. Berry, a fantasy football industry pioneer, will also appear on Peacock’s exclusive NFL post-game show, Sunday Night Football Final.

RELATED: How to watch Matthew Berry on NBC Sports

Football Night in America will also feature a weekly segment hosted by Simms and sports betting and Berry, which highlights storylines and betting odds for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game on NBC, Peacock, and Universo. Real-time betting odds on the scoring ticker during FNIA also will be showcased. Peacock Sunday Night Football Final, an NFL postgame show produced by NBC Sports, will also go deep on the storylines and BetMGM betting lines that proved prominent during the matchup.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Playoff Picture Week 13 – Standings, clinching scenarios ahead of Colts vs Cowboys on SNF

2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule:

*Live coverage begins at 7:00 p.m. ET.

Thursday, Sept. 8 (Week 1) – Josh Allen’s four touchdowns power Bills to 31-10 victory over Rams

Sunday, Sept. 11 (Week 1) – Bucs take care of business against Cowboys, who lose Dak Prescott late

Sunday, Sept. 18 (Week 2) Packers roll over Bears 27-10 as Aaron Jones, Preston Smith star

Sunday, Sept. 25 (Week 3) – Broncos do just enough to pull off 11-10 win over 49ers

Sunday, Oct. 2 (Week 4) – Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs dominate Bucs 41-31

Sunday, Oct. 9 (Week 5) – Justin Tucker’s last-play field goal delivers 19-17 win for Ravens

Sunday, Oct. 16 (Week 6) – Eagles intercept Cooper Rush three times in 26-17 win

Sunday, Oct. 23 (Week 7) – Kenny Pickett throws two late INTs, allowing Miami to escape with 16-10 win

Sunday, Oct. 30 (Week 8) – Bills beat Packers 27-17 for fourth win in a row

Sunday, Nov. 6 (Week 9) – Patrick Mahomes leads Chiefs to comeback overtime victory over Titans

Sunday, Nov. 13 (Week 10) – 49ers dominate Chargers in second half to win 22-16

Sunday, Nov. 20 (Week 11) – Travis Kelce’s third touchdown leads Chiefs to late comeback win

Thursday, Nov. 24 (Week 12) – Vikings improve to 9-2 with 33-26 victory over Patriots

Sunday, Nov. 27 (Week 12) – Packers lose Aaron Rodgers, another game as Eagles rush for 363 in 40-33 win

Sunday, Dec. 4 (Week 13) – Cowboys Too Much For Colts In Fourth Quarter Of A 54-19 Beatdown

Sunday, Dec. 11 (Week 14) – Dolphins at Chargers

Sunday, Dec. 18 (Week 15) – Giants at Commanders

Sunday, Dec. 25 (Week 16) – Buccaneers at Cardinals

Sunday, Jan. 1 (Week 17) – Rams at Chargers

Sunday, Jan. 8 (Week 18) – Matchup TBD


How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via NBCSports.com. Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

RELATED: What to know about Super Bowl 2023 – Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more


 Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!