There are many ways to gain an advantage over your opponent in the NFL. A lot of them are in your control, but some are not. Among them is the rest that you get from one game to the next.
The New England Patriots haven’t been getting any help in this department recently. There is an interesting schedule anomaly that has been happening since their bye week that has given their opponent more rest than them over the past month or so.
Let’s take us back to that Week 10 bye. Also, just as a note, the days off between games do not count the day of either game, so a Sunday game followed by another Sunday game would be six days of rest.
- New England Patriots: 13 days of rest
- New York Jets: 13 days of rest
The Patriots were coming off of their bye week, which would normally give them an advantage over the team that they are playing the following week. This time, however, they played a Jets team also coming off its bye, which means they didn’t have any type of advantage in rest. Not a huge deal, but an opportunity to gain an advantage lost because of the scheduling.
- New England Patriots: 3 days of rest
- Minnesota Vikings: 3 days of rest
Both the Patriots and Vikings had a short week before playing on Thanksgiving night. Nothing to see here, just something guys have to deal with in the NFL.
- New England Patriots: 6 days of rest
- Buffalo Bills: 6 days of rest
The Patriots followed up a Thursday night game with another Thursday night game. This would typically give them an advantage over their opponent, since they would be dealing with a short week while the Patriots would have a normal week of rest. The Bills also played on Thanksgiving, though, which meant they both got a full week of rest before their meeting.
Of course, this could be applied the other way around as well but from a Patriots perspective they did not get any potential scheduling help here again.
- New England Patriots: 10 days of rest
- Arizona Cardinals: 14 days of rest
One of the benefits of having a Thursday game is that you have a mini-bye afterwards, with an extra few days off before the next contest. The Cardinals, however, actually had their bye last week, so they still came into the game on Monday night with more rest than the Patriots.
The Patriots weren’t at too big a disadvantage here despite also having to travel, but scheduling luck was not on their side either.
- New England Patriots: 5 days of rest
- Las Vegas Raiders: 9 days of rest
The Patriots are entering Week 15 off their Monday night game in Arizona, and now are playing on Sunday in Las Vegas. The Raiders played last Thursday night meaning that they themselves are coming off a mini-bye while New England is looking at a short week.
Does all of this mean much? Probably not. Is it a legitimate excuse for the Patriots in the second half of the season? I don’t believe so.
However, a team that is not super talented and has been hovering around being competitive all year could use all the advantages it can get no matter how small they might be. The schedule-makers certainly didn’t give them a chance to gain any of those in this most important stretch of the season.
New England not being able to take advantage of the parity in the league this year is on them, but a little help from the league in the schedule department wouldn’t have been a bad thing either. Alas... Maybe next year.