The Hardest Opponent

In the off-season, NFL players train to get ready for the season. They run, lift weights and do all kinds of things to make sure they are in tip-top shape for the grind that is the NFL season. As the season goes along, teams suffer loses. It's gonna happen. There's some tough teams in the NFL. But to me, it seems like the biggest opponent so far isn't a team.

The bye week has been a killer this year. It seems like teams that come out of the bye week have typically come out looking a little lost. An example of that is the Tennessee Titans this past Sunday. Sure, they lost to the Texans 41-7. But looking deeper into that loss, it seemed like a lot of the timing was off and it also seemed like some guys missed the week of work. Now, it is up to the players to get up for games, but byes seem to throw that rhythm off just a little bit.

NFL players, like most people, are creatures of habit. They do certain things at certain times. Each player has a particular routine as to how he gets ready for the game. It may be listening to music. It could be going to sleep. The point is, there's a routine that is followed that allows these players to go out and perform at their best week after week. When that routine is disturbed by the bye week, it seems like some teams can withstand that more than others.

My advice to coaches is schedule a scrimmage during the bye week. Keep things as normal and routine as possible. Anything to keep the rhythm of your team going. If you don't, you could be headed for a major letdown on Sunday. Nine of the 12 teams that have had byes so far have lost coming out of the bye. So, for the San Francisco 49ers, New England Patriots, New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, I hope you prepared. If you're not, you could be on the bad end of a real terrible loss. The bye week doesn't play and it continues to be the hardest opponent for each team in the NFL.

9 Responses

  1. Dallah Smith

    Bye we can be a trap the great systems through great coachn allows the bye week jus for healing mind n body while til preparing for the next part of the season GREATNESS IS ONLY LED BY MENTAL GREATNESS

  2. Derrel "Jazz" Johnson

    Great topic, but I feel it is a bit misleading. Sure, teams with the bye are 3-9, but two of the nine teams, the Miami Dolphins and St. Louis Rams, have lost every game this season, bye or not. The San Diego Chargers lost to the New York Jets after a bye week, but I would credit the Jets more. I certainly don’t expect the bye teams to continue winning at a .250 clip, but if the New England Patriots lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, that is a legitimate loss, but would make this record 3-10.

    • The teams coming out of the bye week bear watching. Its a trend right now that needs to be paid attention to due to the unusual circumstances going into this year.

  3. JLew

    Do you think the sloppiness out of bye week is reflection of new CBA rules? I believe they can only have one practice during bye week now. Would have to look it up but your right it is an ugly trend.

    • The new rules state that the players have to have 4 consecutive days off during the bye week. Maybe a coincidence. Maybe not. I think so. That and the fact that there really wasn’t an off-season filled with OTA’s for teams either.

  4. Hopefully my Giants won’t falter this week against the Dolphins

  5. Great point Mike, I never thought of it that way and didnt really notcie the issues teams are having until you wrote this piece. nice!

  6. Great post Mike, it is certainly tough to play after a bye week. Getting from resting to playing is tough. The Titans really blew it this week, didn’t they? I guess we will also have to see is the Niners will take a hit to their “precious” 5-1 record, eh? Nice post!

  7. Ken

    Didnt they change the contact rules for Bye weeks or something or the days off with this new agreement?

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