Two weeks ago, we were in full collective-bargaining-agreement panic mode over the fact that only three of the first 12 teams to have bye weeks had won after their week off. After all, the new CBA mandates that teams get four consecutive days off during bye weeks, and teams seemed to be struggling following byes. Controversy!
But we’re back on track. After post-bye teams went 3-9 in Weeks 6 and 7, they’ve gone 9-3 in Weeks 8 and 9. That means teams are now 12-12 with two weeks to prepare. By comparison, teams were 20-12 in the same situations in 2010, when they had no specific restrictions on how much they could practice during the bye. If recent trends continue, they’ll be 18-14 in 2011.
What a lot of people aren’t realizing is that many coaches already gave their players four or more consecutive days off during the fortnight between games with byes in play.
The slow start from post-bye teams can probably be chalked up as a coincidence. After all, only four of those 12 teams were favored to win anyway — and while two of those favorites lost, they were San Diego against the Jets and Tennessee against the Texans (both very small faves). Plus, the underdog Chiefs won in Oakland following their bye.
By comparison, during the last two weeks, nine of the 12 teams coming off byes were Vegas favorites, and the Bears and Jets won following byes despite being underdogs. In fact, the only team that has truly laid an egg as a big favorite coming off a bye were the Raiders, who were upset at home by the Broncos. But even in that game, Oakland was getting acclimated to life with Carson Palmer and didn’t have top offensive weapon Darren McFadden.
So it’s probably safe too say that new rules aren’t killing teams on bye weeks. Although it’ll still be worth keeping an eye on the Panthers, Lions, Jaguars and Vikings in Week 10 and the Texans, Colts Saints and Steelers in Week 12.