Ravens, Eagles will play four games in 17 days this season

On Thursday’s Pro Football Talk, I pointed out the disconnect between safety and having every team play once this year on a Thursday, after playing on a Sunday.

Jason Whitlock of FOXSports.com took that inconsistency to the next level (or two) on Friday, with a scathing rebuke of the league’s decision to play Thursday Night Football.

Whitlock points out that the Ravens are in the midst of a season-opening stretch of four games in 17 days.  We checked the schedule for every team; the Eagles will do it, too, from November 26 (a Monday nighter against Carolina) through December 13 (a Thursday night game against the Bengals).

The Ravens actually have a bit of an advantage, since the Thursday night game, the Monday night game, and one of the Sunday games in between will be played at home.  So the Ravens will have to travel only once, up I-95 to Philly.

The Eagles start their stretch on the Monday after Thanksgiving, and while the Monday and Thursday games will be played at home, the Eagles will go to Dallas and Tampa in between.

Regardless, Thursday Night Football is here to stay.  While Whitlock suggests that a “smart lawyer” will attack the league at some point, the reality is that the smart lawyers from the NFL and NFLPA who hammered out the labor deal agreed to it.  So it’s too late for the players to complain, and they definitely can’t sue (unless they want to sue the union, too).

Still, Whitlock’s broader point is a very good one.  “What’s more dangerous,” he writes, “deeds or tough talk, a brutal schedule or a bounty system that rewards you for what you were going to do anyway?”

We’re glad someone else finally sees the largely-ignored debate lurking at the heart of the bounty case.  If the allegations are true, Saints players were being offered money to do something they already were going to try to do anyway:  Knock opponents out of the game with clean, legal hits.  But now there’s a second debate that largely will be ignored — whether it makes sense to make every team play a game on three days’ rest, and whether it’s fair to have two of them play 25 percent of a four-month schedule in a 17-day window.

51 responses to “Ravens, Eagles will play four games in 17 days this season

  1. This reminds me of when Hurricane Ike hit Houston and they moved the Ravens and Texans bye week to week 2. The Ravens made the playoffs,but you could tell guys were worn down after playing 18 weeks straight.

  2. The year Ike hit Oakland,Houston,and Baltimore all played each other. They should’ve had Houston go to Baltimore week 2,Baltimore go to Oakland,and Oakland go to Houston. No one loses a home game(owners still get $$) and no one had to play 18 weeks straight.

  3. Why not play Thursday night games the week following a team’s bye week? That still gives the NFL 12 or so Thursday games.

  4. I’m sorry, but the bounty system does not reward you for something you are doing anyway. It rewards you for intentionally injuring somebody.

    Should you be playing at maximum intensity every play? Yes. Is it possible somebody gets injured because you are playing with so much intensity? Yeah, absolutely. Should you be gunning for a player’s knees when the chance arises? No.

  5. While I understand how a team could potentially underperform with such a schedule, I fail to see how this is a safety or “danger” issue. It might be a competitive one, but that’s about it. And I’m an Eagles fan.

  6. This isn’t a new problem even though it might be getting more widespread via Thursday night games for everyone. Last season GB played 3 games in 11 days.

  7. Meh, this seems like a bit of a reach. NFL teams commonly play 4 games in 20-22 day windows. This fact should have been noted in the article, otherwise its pretty misleading. It’s somewhat counter-intuitive, since you might think teams play 4 games in 28 days — but that is not the case.


  8. So for all teams that have a Thursday night game, assuming the 3 previous games are Sunday night games, they have
    Game 1 (Sunday), then 6 days rest
    Game 2 (Sunday), then 6 days rest
    Game 3 (Sunday), then 3 days rest,
    Game 4 (Thursday)
    So that’s 15 days of rest total between game 1 and game 4.

    Eagles and Ravens have:
    Game 1 (Monday), then 5 days rest
    Game 2 (Sunday), then 6 days rest
    Game 3 (Sunday), then 3 days rest
    Game 4 (Thursday)
    That’s 14 days of rest total between game 1 and game 4.
    That’s not really much of a difference, so that’s not really a huge disadvantage for those 2 teams.

    All teams that have a Thursday night game are stuck with one short week of rest, but they’re compensated with a long week of rest (9 days) afterwards, so it’s hard to argue that it’s much less safe.

  9. The players are going to do what they always do… They will knowingly take on the “risk” of the vigorous schedule in exchange for the money, then once they are done playing they will all of the sudden claim they are all victims of the wreckless NFL that should have known better and line up 300 ridiculous lawsuits…. Bunch of bull…

  10. What about not having to practice with pads or as much, Florio? I was under the impression that the players bargained for less intense, frequent and full contact practices. So a three day break between games is like having a week two years ago…. just saying.

  11. Which is worse?

    Doing it in the beginning of the season? Which means you’re probably going to play the rest of the season more beat up than you normally would. Maybe the bye will help.

    Doing it later in the season? After your body has already taken a beating of having played almost 3/4 of an NFL schedule.

    Which would you rather do?

  12. Way to make something out of nothing. A team who plays a Monday night game followed by 3 Sunday games plays 4 games in 21 days, and teams who play 4 games on consecutive Sunday’s do it in 22 days. This is not THAT different from playing 4 in 17 days, not to mention the Thursday night game is essentially followed by a short bye week for extra rest.

  13. And then both teams will get an extra three days of rest between the conclusion of the 17-game stretch, and the game that immediately follows. Which is an important point that seems to be glossed over here.

    Going forward, if every single decision the NFL makes is measured by what is/isn’t the MARGINALLY safer thing to do. The logical conclusion will be no football at all. This isn’t tiddly winks.

  14. I’m sorry, but the bounty system does not reward you for something you are doing anyway. It rewards you for intentionally injuring somebody.

    If Roger would have proved that, then the suspensions wouldn’t have been overturned.

    Let it go. Roger lied about the bounties enough. You don’t have to do it too.

  15. Are you positive that the CBA specifically said that teams may be scheduled to play 4 games in 17 days? That wouldn’t seem to be the kind of think that would be spelled out.

  16. I don’t care if they were off for a month after the 17 day stretch. It still doesn’t make it feel better.

    Do me a favor. Bang your head against a brick wall for three hours on Monday. Then do it again on Sunday. Then again the next Sunday. Then on the following Thursday ask yourself if you’re ready to do it again or would it be better to have three extra days to recover.

    Oh, but it is really okay because after that Thursday you have a longer break.

  17. I’m probably in the minority, but I don’t like the Thursday games because they cause a glut of football over the weekend. I know, I know…I don’t have to watch, but I rather enjoyed watching and following all the games on Sunday and then finishing the week with the MNF game.

  18. What a danger to the players, and how exhausting this must be!

    Roger Goodell and his band of idiots are single handedly ruining football. They are destroying the importance of the run game by tilting the advantage towards passing with new rule changes (admittedly, I do love the passing game). He will levy a punishment on players without full proof, and the punishments are inconsistent. He speaks out of one side of his mouth about player safety, yet wants to expand the season. He is trying to make the NATIONAL Football League INTERNATIONAL with talks of getting some stupid team in London…. like that flight won’t have an affect on the visiting teams. And lastly, this Thursday night football crap is killing the die hard fans, especially on the east coast. As if going to work tired as &^$# on a Monday and Tuesday morning were not enough, now we have to be half asleep on a Friday. GET THIS GOON OUT OF THE LEAGUE OFFICE!

  19. Ridiculous!!!! I have never seen the NFL in such TURMOIL since Roger Goodell has been at the helm, time for the owners to find better leadership.

  20. But wait. For Roger Goodell health and safety is paramount. I mean didn’t we all see the league fined a player $15,000 for a block in the back just last week. They really care about health. THis has to be an oversight because Goodell really cares about safety. He isn’t just a moron who knows nothing except how to try to maximize profits.

  21. Whitlock is a little late to the party. Teams have routinely been playing 4 games in 18 days (Monday, Sunday, Sunday Thursday) with the advent of Thursday night football. To be consistent he should take issue with every Thursday game – and that includes the Thanksgiving games. You know, the ones that existed before Goodell apparently ruined your lives.

    And the players agreed to this because the NFL is now holding a television package worth a half billion to 1.2 billion per season. The players won’t complain when ABC or whoever shells out for the Thursday night package.

    Bring on the 18 game regular season.

  22. I doubt it is possible ,but wouldn’t it suck for players had a Thursday night game,then their very next game was a Monday night game ?


    I’m not sure you’re proving your point. There would be a 10 day break between those games.

  23. lilrob10201 says:
    Sep 15, 2012 10:26 AM
    I doubt it is possible ,but wouldn’t it suck for players had a Thursday night game,then their very next game was a Monday night game ?


    It wouldn’t be possible, as the Thursday night games start the football week, and monday night games end the week. Can’t have two games in the same week.

    I must agree with most people here though. A normal schedule has you playing 4 games in 20-22 days, so a 17 day span isn’t that bad. Also, they have a lot less contact at practice now, so they can take the brunt of the extra 3 days. Really not a big deal, but here comes PFT misleading everyone again…

  24. From a definitional standpoint, any effort to put a kinder, gentler face on a bounty program by couching it in terms of “clean, legal hits” is, I think, asking us to make an unrealistic assumption. Are we to assume, for example, that none of these “clean, legal hits” ever involve twisting an opponent’s facemask, piling on, chop blocks, or any form of unnecessary roughness (e.g., roughing the passer, illegal crackbacks, blindside or peel-back blocks, etc.)? My guess is that any study of past instances of “cart-offs” and “knockouts” would show that a sizable number—though certainly not all—resulted from what officiating crews and/or the league concluded were illegal hits.

  25. Florio, you are kidding right? Are you really going to blur the lines with those last two paragraphs? Are you so lost in your own cesspool of questionable integrity that you are now willing to imply that the bounty system is just a reward for something the players would do anyway. You are a joke. This has never been about that. The issue with the bounty is derived from motivating injuries…rewarding players for injuries to opposing player….re-inforcing that it’s permissible to celebrate when other players are injured. I understand that it’s a physical game and I sincerely hope that it remains such. But it is hypocritical of you to hold players to a standard of civility off the field (Police Blotter) and ask them to be animals on the field. If you are going to chose to blur the lines for on-field standards then you should do the same for off the field issues as well.

  26. Why can’t they coordinate the Bye weeks with the Thursday night scheduling? I know it won’t work for the first couple or last couple of weeks in the season when no teams are on bye, but for the majority of the season, you could:

    Play game 1 on Sunday followed by 10 days rest
    Play game 2 on Thursday followed by 9 days rest then play game 3 on Sunday.

    Seems to make a lot of sense to me – but one problem is it would be a clear disadvantage for those teams having to play Thursday game without benefit of Bye in beginning and end of season…

  27. Four games in 17 days? Poor babies? Give me a brake!

    On Oct. 8, 2005 the Northwestern College of Minnesota football team played not one, but TWO football games on that day.

    They out-scored their opponents 106-14 and tallied over 1,000 yards on offense:

    12 p.m. | Northwestern def. Trinity Bible, 59-0

    7 p.m. | Northwestern def. Macalester, 47-17

    Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik played both ways, center and mike, throughout his illustrious career. And he was never out with an injury!

  28. Is the league hypocritical for trying to convince players and the public that they are concerned with player safety while at the same time trying to shove an 18 game schedule down everyone’s throats and playing Thursday night games every week? Of course! but then everything the league (owners) do today is in the name of greed and trying to bleed every last dime they can out of the product and the public.

    For me though, the real issue with Thursday night games starting is September is that the quality of play on the field really suffers. Sorry but for a matchup of two supposedly top teams in the league, that Bears- Packers game on Thursday was borderline unwatchable, and I’ve noticed that a lot (not all, but more than average) of the games on Thursday nights the past few years have been ugly slopfests with more players on average getting injured.

  29. Oh I can here the ravens excuses now! After this 1-3 stretch..crying & whining! Well if their owner wasn’t crying & whining before the schedule came out this year about the ratbirds never getting any primetime games at home they wouldnt have 4 games in 17 days dumba**

  30. Why wouldn’t the players want to also sue the players’ union? That sounds like it just gives them more deep pockets and leverage to get money. What would be the harm in that to the players that wouldn’t be surpassed by the total cash injection. I’d think that would have to be worth a lot more than any negative fallout.

  31. The bounty scandal is nothing more than a PR move by the NFL since they have a civil lawsuit on their hands by former NFL players. We all watched those so called alleged games against the Cards and Vikings,
    show me the video evidence of Vilma hitting someone to injure em? You can’t.
    Makes me disgusted how many naive, ignorant people are out there that believe whatever is told to them. Grow a pair and think for yourself.

  32. steelersownyou says: Sep 15, 2012 11:39 AM
    Well if their owner wasn’t crying & whining before the schedule came out this year about the ratbirds never getting any primetime games at home they wouldnt have 4 games in 17 days dumba**

    One of the newest teams,one of the smallest regional fanbases,top 10 in NFL profitability. What a terrible owner.
    Or maybe,a shrewd businessman who knows his team puts on a show at home and he can display that show to a national audience,thereby growing his fanbase,if he gets a home Monday Night game. 44-13 -mission accomplished.

  33. ’bout time. Seems like it’s always the Cowboys that get this kind of schedule. 4 games in 18 days every year since 2009. Business as usual.

  34. Re eaglesfanintx’s idea of coordinating with the bye weeks, take it a step further: spread out the byes, so that only 2 teams a week have a bye, and those are the next Thursday opponents…rotate the bye week locations season by season, so no one has an early bye or a late bye too often….

  35. geauxjay says:Sep 15, 2012 9:57 AM

    If Roger would have proved that, then the suspensions wouldn’t have been overturned.

    Let it go. Roger lied about the bounties enough. You don’t have to do it too.

    Uhhh, the suspensions weren’t overturned. The ruling was proceedural and the Commissioner was asked to clarify the language. That’s all. The suspensions will be back on soon and upheld. Swamp people. They just don’t get it.

  36. Cry me a river…

    The United States military will defend this country 24 / 7 in other countries with very little rest and BTW not get 3 million dollars a year for doing it.

    Your welcome.

  37. Seriously some of you are unbelievable … if you think scheduling doesn’t have an effect on a football team or the standings.
    Hello … why is there on the average 6 new teams in the playoffs every year … 2 easy games against bad teams.
    How about west coast team playing the early game on the east coast … Easy bet … the east coast teams win 80% of those games. Example the Chargers only played 1 early east coast team last year … why did the Raiders play 4. I know the NFL does favorite certain teams for the TV deals but it also gives them an unfair advantage.
    I can see why you guys never win the football pools.

  38. raideralex99:
    You are absolutely right: scheduling does make a difference.
    Last season, the AFC North produced three playoff teams, but only because the AFC North teams were assigned to play teams from the NFC West and AFC South, the two weakest divisions in the league.
    The Steelers were 12-4 last season, but only defeated one (alleged) quality team all season, the Patriots, who were 13-3 without having to beat a single team with a winning record.
    The Bengals were 9-7 overall, but were only 2-4 within the division. That means they fattened up their record against the NFC West and AFC South.
    Then there were Tebow’s Broncos, who reached the playoffs without a single significant win the entire season.
    Scheduling means everything.

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