Bye Bye Birdie

In 1990, the NFL introduced a bye-week to the regular season schedule, making all clubs play 16 games over the 17-week season. The bye is rotated throughout the season, giving each team a weekend off.

The extra rest has proven to be either good or bad for certain franchises and this week's matchup between Philadelphia and Atlanta is a perfect example between two teams that had last weekend off.

Since Andy Reid started his tenure with the Eagles in 1999, the head coach has used the bye-week to pad his record. Philadelphia is 19-5 straight up and 17-7 against the spread since the league went to the week of rest, and Reid has helped those numbers with an 11-3 ATS mark during his stay. Even more impressive is the Eagles' 8-3 (73%) ledger as a home favorite with an extra week to prepare, which brings us to Week 8. It just happens that the Eagles are laying nine-point favorites to the Falcons on Sunday in a home battle from Lincoln Financial Field.

Atlanta has surprised most of the pundits in the league with a solid 4-2 start behind rookie quarterback Matt Ryan. The Falcons entered their bye-week with an amazing 22-20 victory over Chicago in Week 6, which might not be a good thing considering the team was gaining momentum. Will the week off slow down the Dirty Birds and Ryan? Recent history has shown that it will, watching Atlanta post a 4-7 ATS record in its last 11 games after a bye-week.

Arizona (4-2) is another team that had Week 6 off and it definitely needed the rest after a 30-24 overtime victory over Dallas two weeks ago, plus another scheduled trip to the East Coast on tap for Sunday. The Cardinals face a solid Carolina (5-2) team that has won all four of its home games.

Ken Whisenhunt and his Arizona squad are 0-2 both SU and ATS in two cross-country trips this season and he's not the only head coach struggling with travel. Through 10 games this year, West Coast clubs are 1-9 against the spread when going from west to east with an early start time. Kickoff time for the Panthers-Cardinals matchup is set for 1:00 p.m. EDT.

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