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Will Falcons, Saints, NFL make it to the finish line?

By D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Football

ATLANTA — With the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, the Falcons and the New Orleans Saints have different issues and concerns as the NFL approaches the three-quarters mark of the season.

The league is trying to find a path to finish the season and hold the playoffs.

Heading into the weekend, the Falcons have had 12 players placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list and dodged a major wipeout of the defensive line that caused two coaches to miss time and one to test positive.

The Saints have had their issues. They were fined after a postgame celebration that was deemed to violate the league's intensive protocols.

Over the past week, the NFL made Denver play a game without four of its quarterbacks while it moved the Pittsburgh-Baltimore game three times before playing a rare Wednesday afternoon contest.

Also, the San Francisco 49ers were forced to move their games to Arizona amid governmental decrees.

 

With four weeks left in the season, and the coronavirus pandemic surging around the nation, the NFL believes it can complete the season, conduct the playoffs and finish with the Super Bowl.

"I'm confident we'll be able to do that," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on a conference call Wednesday.

The Falcons have closed their facilities four times in an abundance of caution to stop the spread of the coronavirus after positive tests.

"I've been blown away by the dedication of this organization, the coaches and the players and everybody in this building at their level of just diligence as far as just wearing the masks," Falcons defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich said. "Wearing the trackers. I haven't been in other buildings, but I think you'd be hard-pressed to find another organization that is taking this more seriously."

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