Tonawanda News


December 13, 2013

Bills unhappy facing so many rested opponents

Tonawanda News — ORCHARD PARK — The Bills aren't impressed with the NFL schedule-maker, who is being blamed for providing Buffalo's opponents too many breaks — the extended kind.

The Bills' slate this season has them facing a league-high six teams coming off either bye weeks or nine-day layoffs. That includes the New York Jets twice, as well as Buffalo's opponent on Sunday: Jacksonville (4-9) has been off since Dec. 5.

Coach Doug Marrone called that a disadvantage because "the one thing that helps you the most is rest."

Bills president Russ Brandon has expressed his concerns to the NFL.

"We certainly have talked to the league about this because it's a little bit disappointing," Brandon said during his weekly radio show on Buffalo's WGR-AM last month.

The Bills couldn't even entirely take advantage of their own bye week on Nov. 24.

They returned the following week to face Atlanta, which was coming off a nine-day rest. And the warm-weather Falcons, who won 34-31 in overtime, also benefited from getting to play indoors in the Bills' annual "home" game in Toronto, and avoid the wintry conditions at Buffalo.

The Bills (4-9) are 2-3 so far in games against teams that have enjoyed extended rests. And they were 1-3 last year, the first season in which the NFL instituted a rule to have each of its 32 teams play on Thursday.

The overall NFL results, however, have been mixed, failing to entirely support the Bills' claim of the more-rested opponent getting an edge. Since the start of 2012, teams facing rested opponents have gone a combined 62-64-2, according to STATS.

The Eagles led the league last season with six opponents coming off breaks, and went 1-5. And yet the Seahawks last season went 4-1, while the Falcons were 4-0.

In the NFL's defense, it's difficult to create a schedule that's fair to every team, league spokesman Brian McCarthy wrote in an email.

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