The Atlanta Falcons lost to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, in a match which saw the defensive line get manhandled, the offense convert on third down just twice and the defense fail to get off the field on multiple third downs of their own.
This loss will be a tough pill for Atlanta to swallow, as they now fall to 6-4 after starting the season 4-1. However, the good news is that they’ll have an extra week to get right, due to their week 11 bye.
Every NFL team gets one bye week in the regular season, but not all bye weeks are created equal. It’s typically considered to be more of an advantage if a team has a late bye week—past the halfway mark of the season—as opposed to an early one—some teams have it as early as week 4.
This theoretical advantage is due to the fact that the team can use that late week off as a sort of pit stop before sprinting to the end of the season. Every team is banged up at this point in the season, and the full week off plays a vital role in recovery.
The Falcons were without three key players in the game against Philadelphia: running back Tevin Coleman, cornerback Desmond Trufant and tight end Jacob Tamme.
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Coleman, who has missed the past three games due to an injured hamstring should be back and very close to 100 percent next week. Trufant should also be close to full health after missing the game against Philadelphia due to an injured shoulder. Unfortunately, Jacob Tamme might be done for the season.
There were also reports that star wide receiver Julio Jones was only playing at around 75-80% against the Eagles due to the numerous bumps and bruises that have accumulated throughout his body over the course of a grueling season. Having him at full health will be a massive benefit.
Going even beyond the physical advantages of having a late week off, the mental break from football for a few days can also prove to be essential. Playing a rough sport like football can be as mentally draining as it is physically. Taking a few days off to get the mind right is often necessary, especially following a rough road defeat.
Atlanta’s schedule after the bye week is: at home versus Arizona, then they host Kansas City, visit Los Angeles, host San Francisco, travel to Carolina, and close the dome down versus New Orleans. That’s four of the last six games at home—including three-of-four right after the week off. Two games against heated division rivals will cap the season off. And the Falcons should be healthy and refreshed for the playoff run due to the opportune timing of the bye week.