Is The Bye Still A Huge Advantage In The NFL?

Remember waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back when Dennis Green was still coaching the Vikings? (Heck, can you believe it's a decade since that was the case?) I remember that whenever the Vikings had their bye week, the experts would always make a big deal about how Denny's teams always won after their bye. For the most part, it was true. In Green's ten seasons as the Minnesota Vikings' head coach, his team was 9-2 coming off of a bye in the regular season.

(Yes, I know that nine and two add up to 11, not ten. In 1993, Green's second season in Minnesota, apparently they had two bye weeks. Not quite sure why, but that's what the archives show.)

What got me thinking about this is someone mentioning somewhere (can't remember exactly where, or I'd link to it) that the teams that had their byes in Week 9. . .the Carolina Panthers, the Detroit Lions, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and your Minnesota Vikings. . .had a combined record of 1-3 coming off of their bye. Now, the Jaguars played the Indianapolis Colts, the league's last winless team and an outfit that, by some accounts, has already stopped trying. The other three teams lost by a combined score of 112-23, which just doesn't seem right somehow.

So, I looked back through the schedule for the season thus far and found out that the bye might not be quite the advantage that it may have been at one point in time. After the jump, we'll look at this a little more.

This season, 28 of the 32 NFL teams have had their bye weeks, and the last four (the Houston Texans, the Indianapolis Colts, the New Orleans Saints, and the Pittsburgh Steelers) are having theirs this week. The record of teams coming off of their byes, to this point, is 13-15, broken down thusly.

Week 5 byes - Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Miami Dolphins, St. Louis Rams, Washington Redskins
Week 6 results (record for those six teams: 1-5)
Baltimore Ravens 29, Houston Texans 14
Oakland Raiders 24, Cleveland Browns 17
New England Patriots 20, Dallas Cowboys 16
Green Bay Packers 24, St. Louis Rams 3
Philadelphia Eagles 20, Washington Redskins 13
New York Jets 24, Miami Dolphins 6

Week 6 byes - Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans
Week 7 results (record for those six teams: 2-4)
Pittsburgh Steelers 32, Arizona Cardinals 20
Denver Broncos 18, Miami Dolphins 15
Kansas City Chiefs 28, Oakland Raiders 0
New York Jets 27, San Diego Chargers 21
Cleveland Browns 6, Seattle Seahawks 3
Houston Texans 41, Tennessee Titans 7

Week 7 byes - Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, New England Patriots, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers
Week 8 results (record for those six teams: 5-1)
Buffalo Bills 23, Washington Redskins 0
Cincinnati Bengals 34, Seattle Seahawks 12
Pittsburgh Steelers 25, New England Patriots 17
New York Giants 20, Miami Dolphins 17
Philadelphia Eagles 34, Dallas Cowboys 7
San Francisco 49ers 20, Cleveland Browns 10

Week 8 byes - Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 9 results (record for those six teams: 4-2)
Atlanta Falcons 31, Indianapolis Colts 7
Chicago Bears 30, Philadelphia Eagles 24
Green Bay Packers 45, San Diego Chargers 38
New York Jets 27, Buffalo Bills 11
Denver Broncos 38, Oakland Raiders 24
New Orleans Saints 27, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16

Week 9 byes - Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings
Week 10 results (record for those four teams: 1-3)
Tennessee Titans 30, Carolina Panthers 3
Chicago Bears 37, Detroit Lions 13
Jacksonville Jaguars 17, Indianapolis Colts 3
Green Bay Packers 45, Minnesota Vikings 7

I'm not sure why things are happening the way they are for bye teams. Is conditioning such in the NFL today that a week of "rest" just doesn't mean as much as it used to? Are some teams studying and game planning during their byes rather than taking a week completely away from football? It's not just "bad teams" getting beaten after their byes. . .there are some pretty solid teams on the list of those that have lost following their bye week, like the Lions and the Patriots.

Do you folks think that this is an aberration of some sort? Or is there something to teams coming off of their bye weeks not having the same level of success as they might have in the past?

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