The Las Vegas Raiders are in must-win mode heading into their Week 15 road outing against the Cleveland Browns. Unfortunately, fans will now have to wait a couple days to watch their Silver and Black play.
Throughout the week, the major story heading into this game has been a widespread outbreak of COVID-19 within the Browns’ organization. They currently have north of 20 players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, making it a major competitive disadvantage for Kevin Stefanski’s squad.
In fact, some Browns players have openly questioned why they were playing the game as scheduled on Saturday in the first place.
Well, that has changed. The NFL has opted to reschedule this huge AFC tilt for Monday due to the aforementioned breakout. The game is reportedly set to start a 5:00 PM EST.
Impact of the Las Vegas Raiders-Cleveland Browns game being rescheduled
If the game were to be played on Saturday, Nick Mullens would have gotten the start under center fo Cleveland. He’s the team’s third string QB, but would have been thrown into the fire with both Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum on the COVID-19 list.
New NFL COVID-19 policies makes it easier for an vaccinated individual to return to the team after the league changed said policy on Thursday. Whether this means Mayfield or Keenum will be able to go remains to be seen. Either one offers the Browns a better option under center than Mullens. Obviously, this would have a direct impact on the Las Vegas Raiders.
As for Vegas, players were set to depart for Cleveland early Friday afternoon. As they were preparing for the flight, said players were told to stand down. That was the first indication that this game might be postponed.
There’s certainly a lot on the line for the Raiders and Browns in this one. Whoever comes out on top will remain very much alive in the AFC Playoff race. The loser would likely be playing out the string for the remainder of the season.
AFC Playoff race
6. Indianapolis Colts: 7-6
7. Buffalo Bills: 7-6
8. Cleveland Browns: 7-6
9. Cincinnati Bengals: 7-6
10. Denver Broncos: 7-6
11. Pittsburgh Steelers: 6-6-1
12. Las Vegas Raiders: 6-7
13. Miami Dolphins: 6-7
As you can see, Vegas is technically one game out of the final playoff spot. It boasts the tie-breaker over Miaim due to a win over the Dolphins earlier this season. However, the Raiders also lose the tie-breaker to the Cincinnati Bengals. Hence, why getting a win over another bottom-end AFC Playoff contender would be big.