Is playing on Thursday (cough… or Wednesday) in Week 1 an advantage in Week 2?

This year, the Giants and Cowboys will be playing in the NFL’s feature opening Thursday night game, which is actually being played on Wednesday this year.  I’ve always thought that to be an advantage for both teams, since they’d have a few extra days to prepare for their next opponent the following week. 

The NFL has played an opening night Thursday game since 2002, so I figured I’d go back and confirm my thinking by showing that teams that played on Thursday Week 1 had stellar records in Week 2.  Ehhh… Not so much.  Apparently, teams that play Week 1 on Thursday night have a combined record of 8-12 in Week 2.  To me, that’s extra surprising, since the teams that get to play in the Thursday opener are generally good… or in the Cowboys case this season… popular.

Year Teams playing on Thurs Week 1 Result the next week
2011 Packers W
2011 Saints W
2010 Saints W
2010 Vikings L
2009 Steelers L
2009 Titans L
2008 Giants W
2008 Redskins W
2007 Colts W
2007 Saints L
2006 Steelers L
2006 Dolphins L
2005 Patriots L
2005 Raiders L
2004 Patriots L
2004 Colts L
2003 Redskins W
2003 Jets L
2002 Giants W
2002 49ers L


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  5. brisulph says:

    Still shocked it was no the Pack coming to town opening night.

  6. Steve D. says:

    Sucks for Dallas to get the opening game against the Giants. The Superbowl winner has one every opener since they started doing the Thursday night thing. I am happy the Eagles didn’t get stuck with this game.

  7. SteamboatJackson says:

    There is only so much film study of preseason that will help you gameplan against a team in the regular season. Sure, you can rely on expected schemes, player types, previous season film, etc. but team play come September does not always meet expectations (eg eagles).

  8. DerfDiggy says:

    Its pretty crappy that the NFL continues to put the Boys in ratings gathering opening games. NY on the 9/11 anniversary? SB champions in NY on a Wednesday.

    Crappy crappy scheduling.

  9. Shutdown says:

    Giants not even as poplar as the Jets ,so they get The Cowboys to boost the ratings on the boring Chumps i mean champs.

    1. Andy says:

      a)poplar is a tree
      b)giants are more popular and poplar than jets
      c)you said chumps, but meant champs!! i see what you did there

  10. says:

    Sample size of twenty!!

    1. Technically, the NFL is nothing but small sample sizes. By similar logic, you can look at the 0-16 Lions and say “Sample size of 16!”

      1. says:

        I agree which is why you see more of a reliance on scouting and tape in the NFL than statistical methods. I’m just saying that with the extra three days of preparation, you certainly expect an advantage. But how much? Probably only a few percentage points I think most people would say. That’s significant, but you won’t even see it manifest probably in a healthy sample size because of the surrounding noise. As a result, I don’t really see find such methods useful unless they’re just for fun or descriptive purposes.

  11. Will says:

    But this game’s on wednesday! So it’s an even bigger advantage!

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