Falcons at severe rest disadvantage when it comes their schedule


The Falcons‘ schedule has been released, and it seems to be one of the easier ones in the league. The club draws the AFC South and NFC North, along with other fourth-place finishers. Those are two of the worst divisions in football, and the Falcons find themselves in the definitive worst division.

However, nobody knows just how much an offseason has improved a club. There are likely a lot of teams licking their chops at the thought of the 7-10 Falcons led by a third-rounder in Desmond Ridder. What really makes a difference isn’t who a team plays but when they play them.

Don’t believe me?

The Falcons beat the 49ers last season, who made it all the way to the NFC Conference Championship. Nobody would argue Atlanta was the superior team over the course of the entire season, but it was when the two met that was important.

The Niners were missing their two best players and a third elite player — Trent Williams, Nick Bosa, and Arik Armstead — along with a couple of other starters, while the Falcons were healthy.

It was such a strange matchup. Marcus Mariota earned NFC Player of the Week honors in what was by far his best performance as a member of the Falcons. Atlanta won the contest 28-14.

It’s not about who a team plays but when they play them, and the Falcons are at a rest disadvantage this upcoming campaign.

Warren Sharp, our residential football nerd, took a look at a handful of variables to distinguish which clubs had the most and least rest:

  •  Net rest edges
  • Opponent’s days to prepare for your game
  • More or less rest than opponent
  • Short week road games
  • Games off road Sunday night or Monday night
  • Negated bye weeks
  • 4 games separated by 17 days

The Falcons have the fourth-worst rest disadvantage in the NFL this year, but it’s not because the club will be playing a ton of games on short rest or travel. It is because Atlanta is playing exactly zero games with a rest advantage, which is unusual. The Falcons Week 11 bye week is also negated by their Week 12 opponent having a substantial rest edge the same week.

Still, I have to remind fans and people like Warren Sharp that football isn’t played on paper. Numbers cannot account for a man’s will. This should always be taken with a grain of salt.

Photographer: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire


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