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According to the Data: Are Offenses Worse in Thursday Games?

Jonathan Bales

Jonathan Bales

Jonathan Bales is the author of the Fantasy Football for Smart People book series. In addition to RotoWire, Jonathan also provides content to the New York Times, Dallas Morning News,, and NBC.

Are offenses worse in Thursday night games?

Anecdotally, it sure seems that way. Last year, in particular, it appeared as though teams playing in Thursday night games, typically coming off of only three days of rest, just couldn't muster much offense.

Such a depiction of Thursday night football fits with common sense, too; given only a few days to prepare for a defense, we'd probably expect offenses to be a little less efficient at exploiting defensive weaknesses. You could argue that defenses also have less time to prepare, but I think it makes sense that offenses would struggle more. Defense is more about reacting than being the aggressor - even "aggressive defenses" still must constantly react to what the offense throws their way - so it makes sense they'd benefit less than offenses from extra prep time.

But does all of that fit with the numbers?

Thursday Night Stats

I spent some time charting four different stats

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