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Bye Week - How much advantage is there really?


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OVERALL - WINS AFTER A BYE = 52%

Playing After a Bye Week: An Advantage or Overrated?</H2>By George Bretherton

eagles75.jpgThe league's numbers are mostly inconclusive, but does anyone want to tell that to Philadelphia Coach Andy Reid? With Sunday's victory over Tampa Bay, the Eagles are 11-0 under Reid in games after having the extra week off.

Or how about Atlanta Coach Mike Smith, whose team had its best performance of the season in San Francisco on Sunday in a dominating 45-10 victory? Last week before the game, Smith talked about how the early bye week caused him to approach preparation for the 49ers "with more of a training camp mentality."

Arizona and Carolina also won on Sunday, giving teams playing after their bye week a 4-0 record this season. So is this a small piece of a larger trend? Not really. Since the N.F.L. introduced bye weeks in 1990, the overall record of teams playing after them (309-276-1, 52.7 winning percentage) suggests the advantage is modest at best.

There are two advantages that teams should have after a week off:

1) A chance to recuperate Leading to Arizona's game against Houston, Cardinals Coach Ken Whisenhunt said the bye week "was good for us because we have all of our guys healthy now and ready to go." The Cardinals' high-powered offense was at full speed for the first time this season.

2) More time for coaching adjustments That could apply to the Falcons' running game because Michael Turner (97 rushing yards, 4.4 average, 3 TDs) had his most complete game of the season on Sunday against what had been a stout 49ers defense.

For the Panthers, the week off might have been timely in that it gave them a chance to regroup. Carolina was 12-4 last season and returned 21 of 22 starters. Before the game against the Redskins, Panthers Coach John Fox said: "The reality is we're 0-3, and we haven't fixed it yet. Luckily, this bye comes at an ideal time, in my estimation. I didn't feel that six months ago, but I feel it now. New, right or indifferent, we're just not executing as well as we need to."

Whether or not the time off was a factor, the Panthers breathed new life into their season by coming back from a 15-point deficit to beat Washington, 20-17.

Under the former coach Jim Fassel, the Giants made news by going 1-6 in games after their bye weeks from 1997 to 2003. Since 1990, the Giants have been 5-15 in such games. Other teams that have struggled after an extra week off are Seattle (5-15), Houston (2-5), and Cincinnati (4-15-1).

What do you think, Fifth Down readers? Should a team like New Orleans have an advantage over the Giants this week? The other teams with bye weeks were Green Bay (vs. Detroit), San Diego (vs. Denver) and Chicago (at Atlanta).

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I wouldn't be that concerned about the bye week thing if it weren't for the fact that we face four teams IN A ROW coming off a bye week. I've never heard of a team having a stretch like that on their schedule. Facing one or two I can see, but FOUR in a row... rolleyes.gif

Yeah, but it is what it is. We just have to plan, prepare and execute for the entire game. If they go out and give their best effort every game, I feel good about our chances against any team.

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I think they are trying to over-simplify it. I think it depends on the situation. If a team is hot, dominating other teams on both sides of the ball and completely healthy, a bye week can take away a lot of their momentum. If a team is struggling, has ailing players, and is close but coming up short, a bye week can give them an opportunity to fix whatever is holding them back.

If a team sucks and is completely healthy, the bye week won't matter much.

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For the record, our bye week came at the perfect time. Our offense was having trouble getting off in the first few games and the early bye week gave us a chance to fix our glitches. Our defense was having trouble adjusting to losing our starting NT so early in the season, and the early bye week gave us time to make necessary adjustments (or so it would seem). And now coming out of the bye week, we absolutely stomped a division leader on the road giving us a ton of momentum right out of the gate.

Anybody realize we put 45 points on a team that had only given up 53 points in their other 4 games COMBINED?!?!

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I think they are trying to over-simplify it. I think it depends on the situation. If a team is hot, dominating other teams on both sides of the ball and completely healthy, a bye week can take away a lot of their momentum. If a team is struggling, has ailing players, and is close but coming up short, a bye week can give them an opportunity to fix whatever is holding them back.

If a team sucks and is completely healthy, the bye week won't matter much.

Agree big time. Apparently we treated the bye like training camp to get things worked out vs. the players going on vacation. Just depends - sometimes you need it later in the season to heal vs. earlier to work out the kinks. For the teams we'll be playing coming of a bye it could be a blessing or a curse (cold vs. hot).

Imagine if you could trade your bye with other teams... flex bye schedule

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I think they are trying to over-simplify it. I think it depends on the situation. If a team is hot, dominating other teams on both sides of the ball and completely healthy, a bye week can take away a lot of their momentum. If a team is struggling, has ailing players, and is close but coming up short, a bye week can give them an opportunity to fix whatever is holding them back.

If a team sucks and is completely healthy, the bye week won't matter much.

That's the point. There are pros and cons to playing after a bye, but the consensus is that it is an advantage. Personally, I feel that a +3% differential over ~600 games is fairly significant, but it's not enough to really get worked up about.

You are right though if you mean you can't really glean much about our prospects in those four games against teams coming off of a bye. There are two sides to every predictive model: Development and application. In this case, the sample used to create a model (600 games) is probably sufficient. However, the application is equally important, and people often get into trouble when they try to apply a model developed with an adequate sample to a small group of events (i.e., four games).

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That's the point. There are pros and cons to playing after a bye, but the consensus is that it is an advantage. Personally, I feel that a +3% differential over ~600 games is fairly significant, but it's not enough to really get worked up about.

You are right though if you mean you can't really glean much about our prospects in those four games against teams coming off of a bye. There are two sides to every predictive model: Development and application. In this case, the sample used to create a model (600 games) is probably sufficient. However, the application is equally important, and people often get into trouble when they try to apply a model developed with an adequate sample to a small group of events (i.e., four games).

I see it as a +6% advantage over the opposing team.(53% - 47%) Either way it's significant over a sample size that large. Variables like getting healthy and having it when you are struggling vs when you're rolling are there. But I think a big variable is the coaching. Andy Reid's record after the bye is undeniable.

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I see it as a +6% advantage over the opposing team.(53% - 47%) Either way it's significant over a sample size that large. Variables like getting healthy and having it when you are struggling vs when you're rolling are there. But I think a big variable is the coaching. Andy Reid's record after the bye is undeniable.

Well, it's +3% over the baseline 50%.

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I see it as no real advantage based on those numbers. Variables will occur based on many things - who your opponent is - team injury status - match up - road game vs. home game - time of year.

No way does the Bye itself lend an advantage or disadvantage.

I'll bet you could find similar stats on opening home games, home games period, games in domes, coast to coast games.

There are always going to be hills to overcome - our team just has to assess them - plan for them - prepare and then execute.

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No way does the Bye itself lend an advantage or disadvantage.

I'll bet you could find similar stats on opening home games, home games period, games in domes, coast to coast games.

So are you saying home field is not a real advantage? Cause that's what it sounds like. The bye is an advantage and it shows in the statistics. So is home field.

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I see it as no real advantage based on those numbers. Variables will occur based on many things - who your opponent is - team injury status - match up - road game vs. home game - time of year.

No way does the Bye itself lend an advantage or disadvantage.

I agree. For all the data collecting that goes on we keep getting stats based on very narrow scopes. Even if it were an 80 percent advantage who is to say we don't have variables similiar to the 20 percent that won?

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So are you saying home field is not a real advantage? Cause that's what it sounds like. The bye is an advantage and it shows in the statistics. So is home field.

I think she's saying that there are so many variables NOT taken into account in those stats that it makes that little percentage jump a non-factor.

Rookie QB on the road after a bye week...

Team with losing record after a bye week...

Road dogs with a winning record after the bye week...

There's always factors involved that are not taken into account.

So, 56% of teams win thier games after a bye week....meaningless if you dont know the circumstances involved with the home team and the opposing team. I wouldnt expect the Rams or Bucs would be favored after thier bye regardless of home field or on the road...

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So are you saying home field is not a real advantage? Cause that's what it sounds like. The bye is an advantage and it shows in the statistics. So is home field.

I imagine it is an advantage as long as the game is close or the home team starts building momentum to overcome a deficit.

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I agree. For all the data collecting that goes on we keep getting stats based on very narrow scopes. Even if it were an 80 percent advantage who is to say we don't have variables similiar to the 20 percent that won?

I think everyone here is basically saying the same thing. The statistics say there is a statistically significant advantage to playing after a bye. However, just because the 53% win percentage is statistically significant, applying this win % to a single game would not be a very accurate predictor. Applying a significant statistic to an insignificant sample does not result a significant prediction. This is often how this type of statistic is used, but it is not correct. You could say with a great deal of confidence that in the next 600 games or so with one team coming off of a bye, that team will win approximateyl 53% of those games.

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Bottom line - it's a 33 game advantage over 19 years. Like I said - there are too many other factors involved in a win or loss to attribute it to simply coming off a bye week.

If the bye week was that big of a statistical advantage regardless of other factors, I believe we'd see more than a 33 game difference over 585 games.

I believe we have as much chance of winning those games as we would if they were not coming off a bye. I worry more about the road games, crowds and non-dome environments for this young team.

I'm really curious to see how we hold up in the cold months up north.

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I think everyone here is basically saying the same thing. The statistics say there is a statistically significant advantage to playing after a bye. However, just because the 53% win percentage is statistically significant, applying this win % to a single game would not be a very accurate predictor. Applying a significant statistic to an insignificant sample does not result a significant prediction. This is often how this type of statistic is used, but it is not correct. You could say with a great deal of confidence that in the next 600 games or so with one team coming off of a bye, that team will win approximateyl 53% of those games.

Even looking at the next 585 games I would not be confident with 33 more games in the win column. Anticipating league changes over 20ish years would create a margin of error.

Edited by Finally
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I am sensing some denial about the fact that coming off a bye week is an advantage in the NFL. The sample size is large enough that the statistics are reliable.

I have not seen anyone stating here that having a bye determines the winner of any particular game. But it is a factor and it makes a difference- just like playing at home makes a difference. If it makes you feel better, I bet homefield advantage is more beneficial than coming off a bye week.

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I am sensing some denial about the fact that coming off a bye week is an advantage in the NFL. The sample size is large enough that the statistics are reliable.

I have not seen anyone stating here that having a bye determines the winner of any particular game. But it is a factor and it makes a difference- just like playing at home makes a difference. If it makes you feel better, I bet homefield advantage is more beneficial than coming off a bye week.

No one denies that it's a fact - the numbers are there - the question is - how many other factors play into it. The same with home field advantage. Right now - it's 56.5% wins with HFA - but the number of games is substantially more so that number is huge. However, there are no other factors figured into that.

For instance - if you were Detroit this year - your chances are probably not 56.5% chance of a win at home.

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I am sensing some denial about the fact that coming off a bye week is an advantage in the NFL. The sample size is large enough that the statistics are reliable.

I have not seen anyone stating here that having a bye determines the winner of any particular game. But it is a factor and it makes a difference- just like playing at home makes a difference. If it makes you feel better, I bet homefield advantage is more beneficial than coming off a bye week.

You see an advantage what I see is an unqualified result. What are the percentages of wins/losses the week before the bye or for that matter any other week in the NFL for those 585 games taking into account some other criteria? Turf? Dome?

What are the wins/losses for teams 2 weeks after their bye? What are the wins/losses for teams coming off a win?

Edited to make it more clear.

Edited by Finally
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