When the Atlanta Falcons face the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, it will represent the third consecutive opponent the team has faced coming off of either a Thursday night game or a bye week.
That may not seem significant until you look at the fact that Atlanta went into this stretch of games 4-1, and now the Falcons are 4-3, with consecutive losses to the Seattle Seahawks and San Diego Chargers.
The Seahawks faced Atlanta right after the bye week, which gave quarterback Russell Wilson an opportunity to heal up from an ankle injury he suffered early in the season. Players were rested, and the coaching staff had additional time to game plan.
The Chargers were coming off of a Thursday night matchup against the Denver Broncos, which San Diego actually won. They had an extra few days to rest up and prepare, and also to be as healthy as possible facing the Falcons.
Now the Falcons will welcome the Packers to Atlanta, and Aaron Rodgers and company haven’t played since last Thursday night, when they beat the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football.
Thursday Night Football scheduling essentially allows a mini-bye, with more time to watch film and rest up. Especially nearing the midpoint of the season, teams that have not yet had a bye (ahem, like Atlanta) will be wearing down physically, so even those few days can make a difference.
It doesn’t seem particularly equitable that the league scheduled Atlanta these three opponents in a row, but Dan Quinn said it isn’t even on the Falcons’ radar.
“We did not address that (with the league),” Quinn said. “The things that are kind of out of our control we don’t generally get too jammed up on so that’s one for me. I’d heard that but I had forgotten about it.”
It may not be equitable, but the Falcons have no choice but to play the teams on the schedule, including teams coming off of byes or Thursday night games.