Tampa Bay @ Minnesota (-6.5)
Ryan: These Thursday night games have been absolutely brutal this season. The players’ bodies go through immense attrition during an NFL Sunday and four days is just not enough time to recuperate.
On top of the sloppy play and increased injury risk, there is immense and unfair home field advantage. Per Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Since the NFL Network began airing games on Thursday nights six years ago, road teams traveling on a short week are 20-35, including the traditional Thanksgiving games on Fox and CBS. That gives the home team a .636 winning percentage compared to .568 for all other home teams the past six years.
Not counting the season opener, which obviously wasn’t preceded by games on Sunday, road teams traveling on a short week to play a Thursday night game are 1-5 this season. That’s in step with last year’s 2-7 mark.
Shouldn’t these games be reserved for teams coming off a bye? To accomplish this, the NFL should extend the season by one week and give each team two byes instead of one. One more week of the NFL season, players get more time off to recover from injuries, and the Thursday primetime games become more watchable? Who says no to this scenario?
I’d think that this line is a point or two too high if it were for Sunday. However, considering that it’s Thursday Night, Vikings cover.
Asif: Yucky. I guess it’s cool that there are more primetime games this year, but the downside is thoroughly uninteresting matchups like this one. Vikings cover.