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Cardinals vs. Rams: The numbers slightly hurt

The Arizona Cardinals face a difficult game and the odds are stacked against them.

The immediate reaction to playing on Thursday night is the tremendous advantage the home team has in the game. The road team played Sunday, prepares for three days and flies out Wednesday night. The home team appears to be in a much better position since they’ve eliminated the hassles of travel from their preparations.

The stats back it up, but only on a minimal basis. This year, the road team is 6-8 when playing Thursday on a short week. Since it favors the home team, there is an advantage but at only one road win from being an even split, the advantage is not overwhelming.

Logic would dictate it doesn’t matter if your’e home or away for Thursday night football, but it would matter where you were the weekend before. If your Sunday game is at home, the coaches can get to their facility immediately Sunday night and begin preparing for the Thursday night game. It has to be much more efficient to put together the game plan in your office than on a plane coming home from your Sunday game. Right?

The NFL agrees so they’ve made a schedule stipulation. If you’re the Thursday road team, you played at home the Sunday before so you could immediately get started on your game preparations. The home team receives no such guarantee. You might be home the week before or on the road. The catch is, teams coming from a road game the week before DO get the benefit of Thursday Night Football. Unfortunately for Arizona, the advantage is to the Rams.

Try to explain the logic of this, if your Thursday night home game follows a home game the previous Sunday, teams are only 2-3. However, if the home team for Thursday night is coming back from the road the previous Sunday, their record is 6-3.

The Rams are coming off of their second shutout in a row. Their pass rush has come together and they’re not turning the ball over at the same rate as earlier in the year. Plus, they’re hosting Thursday night football following a road game. The numbers say Rams win.

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