BOSTON (CBS) — With this week’s Patriots-Broncos game being moved to Monday, it opens the door for a potential Cam Newton return for New England. That won’t catch the Broncos off guard, as Denver has been preparing as though Newton would be the Patriots’ starting QB throughout the week.

Newton did not play in Week 4 after testing positive for COVID-19 last weekend, but he could be eligible to return against Denver. Broncos head coach Vic Fangio said Friday that his team has been operating as though they’ll be facing a Newton-led Patriots offense come Monday night.

“Yeah, I mean we’ve been under that assumption the whole time that he would be playing,” Fangio told reporters, according to KUSA’s Mike Klis. “And then adjust if he’s not. Just like Kansas City did last week with the late positive test in the week. Just like Pittsburgh had to do against us when Drew [Lock] got hurt in the second series of our game.

“Yeah, we’re anticipating Newton playing but we’ll be ready if he’s not the quarterback,” added Fangio.

Newton has reportedly been asymptomatic during his bout with COVID-19, which makes him eligible to come off the NFL’s reserve/COVID list 10 days after his initial positive test. Monday would mark 10 days since Newton tested positive last Friday.

The Patriots chose to work remotely all week, but could be back on the practice field behind Gillette Stadium on Saturday if they don’t have any more positive tests Friday night.

If Newton cannot play on Monday, the Patriots will reportedly start second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham in his place. Veteran Brian Hoyer got the start for the Patriots last weekend against Kansas City, with Stidham coming off the bench in the third quarter.

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