Steelers could be robbed of their Week 8 bye after Titans game was postponed

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90). Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

The Steelers went from having a big advantage to a disadvantage in a matter of hours. Here’s why they could be robbed of their midseason bye week.

The start of the 2020 NFL season went about as smoothly as anyone could have imagined. Though fans were not permitted to be in most stadiums to start the year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, every game was being played while players and staff members managed to avoid testing positive with the virus. Unfortunately for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans, that changed in Week 4.

After four players and five team personnel members of the Titans tested positive with COVID early this week, NFL officials rushed around to try to find a solution. It was initially thought that the game would be temporarily postponed and that the Pittsburgh and Tennessee could face each other in Week 4 on Monday or Tuesday night. Unfortunately, those plans have recently fallen through.

Because one additional Titans player and one team personnel member are the latest positive cases added to the list, the league office said that this game will be postponed until later in the season. Here’s what the NFL said in its official statement, according to ESPN:

"“The decision to postpone the game was made to ensure the health and safety of players, coaches and game day personnel. The Titans facility will remain closed and the team will continue to have no in-person activities until further notice.”"

Why this is bad for the Steelers

No matter how you slice it, this was a terrible situation for the Tennessee Titans to be in. Not only did they have players out sick on their team, but they were also forced to halt face-to-face team activity – something you never want to do in the middle of the NFL season. Fortunately for them, they will have a chance to be at full strength again with a full week of practice later on in the year.

This news was a particular blow to the Steelers. They went from holding the edge over Tennessee this week as the Titans were unable to practice together to potentially losing their bye week in the middle of the season.

As of now, the Steelers were slated to have a bye in Week 8 – just after facing the Baltimore Ravens and just before traveling to Dallas to take on the Cowboys. These are perhaps the two most difficult opponents Pittsburgh will face all year, and a break right in the middle of the season would be nice.

Now, it appears that the Steelers may be losing that bye altogether. There have been rumors that the NFL may flip their game with the Ravens around in order to squeeze the Titans into their schedule in the middle of the season. If this is the case, then Pittsburgh’s only bye in 2020 will come this week (Week 4). This is obviously way earlier than Mike Tomlin and his crew would prefer, as a midseason bye usually allows the opportunity for players to rest and recuperate for the second half of the season.

Another potential option would be to tack the Steelers vs. Titans game on at the end of the season. However, by doing this, Pittsburgh and Tennessee could lose a week of rest heading into the playoffs (assuming either team makes the tournament).

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This situation isn’t ideal for anyone, but at least we can take comfort knowing that we still have football. Losing a midseason bye could have an effect on both teams, but the Pittsburgh Steelers are a great organization. They will find a way to overcome this obstacle.