On second thought, maybe the whole “Eagles facing 4 teams after their BYE” thing isn’t THAT big a deal

I hate you, math.

Yesterday, I tore into the NFL for scheduling the Eagles against 4 teams coming off their BYE week.  In my opinion, the BYE week can be a major advantage.  Your team gets much needed rest, it’s a time for ailing players to get healthy, and your coaching staff gets 7 extra days of film study and whatnot to prepare for the next team.  As an Eagles fan, I think of the week after the BYE as money in the bank.  After all, in Andy Reid’s tenure the Eagles are 13-0 in the week following a BYE.  However, since the BYE was introduced, according to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 52.6% of the teams have followed up the BYE week with a with a win. They do far less with the extra week than the Eagles seem to do.

The Eagles, as I already mentioned, play 4 teams after their BYE this year.  In one of those games, they too have a BYE, which basically cancels that game out, leaving 3.

Now, let’s pretend that every team in the league is exactly the same, and everyone finishes 8-8 every year.  Hang in here with me for a second, while I math you to death.

If you look at every NFL game in a 16-week schedule, with the average number of wins per season being 8 (and therefore 0.5 wins per game), You would project 6.5 wins for the Eagles’ 13 non-BYE-affected games.  (0.5 * 13 = 6.5)

Are you with me so far?  Good?  Good.  OK, now… since the league has a winning percentage of .526 for teams coming off a BYE, we’ll use that figure for the remaining 3 games on the Eagles’ schedule.  (0.526 * 3 = 1.578).

So, we would add the 6.5 with the 1.578, and we get 8.078 wins for the Eagles’ opponents this year.  Flip it around, and the Eagles projected win total would be 7.922.

It is still a disadvantage, and one that absolutely should not exist, but not nearly as bad as I would have thought.

The much bigger gripe, and a very fair one, is that the Eagles essentially don’t get a true game after a BYE this year, since the team they play after their BYE (the Falcons) also have a BYE the previous week.

25 Comments

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  6. deg0ey says:

    Something that I found interesting: The Giants have the most difficult schedule in the league next season (based on opponents win/loss record in 2011) but they’re the only team in the division whose opponents averaged fewer wins last season than they had themselves :p

  7. D3Keith says:

    One thing I was thinking, and you kind of alluded to, is that teams don’t tend to use their byes except to send their players away for a week, so the advantages are in recuperation and self-scouting/advance scouting. Most teams still try to stay on the same game-week routine when they get back from bye, and get maybe an extra practice or two in late in the week.

    Not sure that proves or negates anything, just food for thought.

    My opinion is that teams mostly focus on themselves, so the short week (missed prep time) hurts more than the other team getting extra time off, unless it’s late in the year and that team is banged up and can get its questionable guys back to 100%. The times that the Eagles don’t really lose any of their prep time, I’m less ticked off by those.

    Another optimist’s viewpoint: at least by the 5th time, the Eagles will be used to it!

    Also if they make the playoffs but don’t get a bye, they will again be playing a team with more advantage in rest.

  8. ATLeagle says:

    I choose a different math to look at… the fact that over time, across teams and coaches, the winning percentage should be .500, but it is .526. This is a slight advantage to the team with the rest, not huge, but it is there. I dont know the stats rules off the top of my head on which way to multiply that out, or if you just add the .26 up for the mulitple times the Eagles have this disadvantage, but worst case that will be a 1 game swing this year. One game can be a big deal in the NFL, but I always look at game day as you have to beat the other team by enough to take the refs out of the equation… if you cant beat the competition’s records by enough to take this one game out, then you are playing a risk with luck and chance to get to the playoffs.

    The other way to look at it is Andy’s ridiculous 1.000 record after a bye ( and compare that to the league history .526 ) . It is so long that I have honestly worried for a few years about return to the mean. This is Andy’s best strength however, and it does mitigate a great skill and advantage for the team.

  9. AustonianAggie says:

    That is a lame scheduling trick. It’s about on par with week 3 BYEs, the 3rd of 3 straight away games, and to be honest the travel team disadvantage for Thursday Away games

  10. Immynimmy says:

    “The Eagles get royally screwed by the NFL schedule makers”

    *less than 24 hours later*

    “On second thought, maybe the whole “Eagles facing 4 teams after their BYE” thing isn’t THAT big a deal”

    LOL!

    1. Got my site hits, then flip-flopped!

      1. Steve says:

        You’re a devious one Jimmy Bama.

  11. Tom says:

    JK – nfl.com shows teams all-time records after their bye week trough 2010. Add in last year and you get

    Pittsburgh: 14-9
    Atlanta: 13-10
    Detroit: 10-13
    Washington: 11-12

    Detroit and Wash lost last year after their byes.

    Also, the Giants are awful after a bye (8-15 even after a win last year), while the Cowboys are historically pretty good (16-7) but did get beat last year.

    I think we Philly fans just assume everybody wins the week after a bye like we do…

  12. blains2000 says:

    Or you could look at it this way. In the 22 years of the bye week the 32 NFL teams have played 704 games after a bye. With a .526 winning percentage that makes the record of teams coming off their bye to be 370 – 334 or 36 games over .500. But in that article it also pointed out the records of Philadelphia (18-4), Minnesota (17-5), Denver and Dallas (16-6) as being the best after the bye. That’s 46 games over .500 for those 4 teams combined.

    That means that the other 28 teams combined are 10 games UNDER .500 after their bye.

    1. RogerPodacter says:

      so in total, each of the 28 teams is less than one game under 500 after the bye. sounds like we might as well just call it even.

    2. Yeah, but you could also take out the four worst teams after the BYE, and it would slant heavily the other way, I’m sure.

      1. blains2000 says:

        Maybe, but a) the Eagles won’t be playing any of the 4 teams with the best after bye records and 2) it probably slants closer to .500 since none of the remaining teams are more than 9 games over .500 after the bye in their history.

        1. I think that getting overly worried about specific teams’ records isn’t important. Should we really much stock in (for example) the Lions’ all-time record after a bye, when well over 90% of their roster weren’t Lions as recently as 5 years ago?

  13. Peter says:

    FWIW, it’s a bye, not a BYE.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bye_%28sports%29

    Any chance you could dig up stats on how the Eagles have done facing teams coming off a bye? I assume having an extra week of prep helps more for some teams than it does for others, it’d be interesting to know where we fall. Still, I think you’re right that we shouldn’t be too worried.

    1. Ha, I’m not sure if wikipedia is the authority on the BYE/bye debate, but your point is noted.

    2. D3Keith says:

      Dag. I always thought it was an acronym for Bring Yo’ own Eggs.

  14. DCeaglesfan says:

    Jimmy,

    I think it was super cool that Danny G gave you that shout-out this morning. I don’t read him every day, so I don’t know if that was the first time or not, but I still think it was cool. You should try to get his job. I think you would be better at it.

    1. I’m a Danny fan. Good writer, fair, balanced, answers reader questions on Twitter all day, and yes, he has linked to me before, so I like that of course. I’ve met him several times (camp, press box). Good guy. He’s not going anywhere, and I don’t think he should.

      But I appreciate the compliment.

      1. DCeaglesfan says:

        Jimmy,

        I definitely didn’t mean to imply that Danny G was a bad journalist – although I certainly understand that it seems that way after re-reading my comment. I think he does a solid job. Plus, he graduated from my alma mater, which helps. But I think you would be better.

        One thing I think you do better than Danny G is the links – I love how you offer commentary on them, while Danny G does not. However, I understand that he is under more pressure to be neutral, because of his high-profile position.

  15. Jay Walker (GIB) says:

    My personal gripe with the deal is about just how lopsided it is. As i posted on BGN, the Eagles willbe -31 days to prepare for their opponents, than they do for the Eagles. So take a team like the Redskins whose schedule is yielding them many games with more days to prepare than their oppnents. Theyre a +8. So thats a 39 day difference. Thats big, especially considering the relatively short 140 long regular season.

    I am not making excuses. I am not writing off the eagles in 2012. But its a circumstance that i do think is worth mentioning….

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