Can a weekend make a streak end?
The Tennessee Titans. losers of six straight, would like to think so. More importantly, they have a good reason to think so.
Having played Thursday night (a 30-28 loss to Indianapolis), the players had an entire weekend to rest in advance of this coming Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans (noon, LP Field).
“I think it’s important,” coach Jeff Fisher said Monday. “You see teams bounce back and take advantage of that rest.”
Indeed you do.
Obviously there is only one winner when two teams meet in a Thursday night contest, but more often than not — based on what has happened the past four weeks — both teams benefit.
Since this season’s Thursday night schedule commenced with Baltimore against Atlanta in Week 10, the participating teams have won the following week much more often than not. Additionally, there is plenty of evidence to suggest a team’s ability to score is greatly enhanced by an extended break at this time of the year.
The benefit to the Titans could be enhanced by the fact that Houston will have a shorter than normal week of preparation. The Texans played Monday night against the Ravens. Of course, that was after having played on Thursday the previous week.
“It’s just like a regular bye week,” Fisher said. "[The players]" are going to come back in and have fun, we’re going to have fun and get ready and play an opponent that shut us out three or four weeks ago.”
Houston’s opponent on Dec. 2, the Philadelphia Eagles, defeated the Dallas Cowboys 30-27 on Sunday, which made them the eighth team (out of 11) to win after having played on Thursday since the regular mid-week games began five weeks ago.
That stat is skewed slightly by the fact that one of the three teams that lost, the New York Jets, did so against a team that was equally rested. The Jets and New England Patriots played on Thanksgiving before the Patriots routed the Jets 45-3 in a Monday night contest 11 days later.
Although the New England’s offensive performance that night was exceptional, it was not the exception.
The Patriots are the only team currently averaging at least 30 points per game for the season, but all eight that won in the wake of a Thursday contest did so with at least 30 points on the board. Even one of the teams that lost, Detroit, which also played on Thanksgiving, scored 30 the following week.
Baltimore and Atlanta, the first to get the extra rest this season, went out and won 37-13 and 34-17, respectively, in their next games. Miami lost to Chicago on a Thursday night but won 33-17 its next time out. The Bears won 31-26 that same day.
Since 1997, the Titans are 2-3 all-time in games following a Thursday appearance. However, one of their defeats, a 41-14 blowout at Cincinnati, came in the highly unusual instance when they played on back-to-back Thursdays. A year ago, they lost to Houston in Week 2, when all teams are still fairly fresh, after having opened the season on a Thursday against Pittsburgh.
The last time Tennessee played on Thursday in November or later was 2008, when they whipped Detroit on Thanksgiving. The following week they thumped Cleveland 28-9
“Based on the experiences over the years, [the extra days] are very, very valuable,” Fisher said. “We were a very tired team even when we went to Detroit on Thanksgiving a couple of years ago. We bounced back and played pretty good football after that.”