Sunday's game against the Raiders marks the third straight week that the Patriots will face a team that has 10 days to prepare for the matchup because they played a Thursday night game the week before.
Is this an unfair disadvantage created by the NFL's schedule-maker?
Teams playing on Thursday night this season are 10-4 the following week, so the extra rest and preparation time does seem to help.
Yet specific to the Patriots, one aspect to keep in mind is that the club requested to play its West Coast games back-to-back if possible. The NFL granted that request, pairing up their road games against the 49ers/Chargers in October and the Seahawks/Raiders in December. In doing so, the Patriots (2-1 on the West Coast) ended up with the current scheduling quirk of facing three teams in a row coming off Thursday night games.
Contrast that to the Jets, whose four West Coast games were scheduled for Sept. 22 (at San Diego), Oct. 19 (at Oakland), Dec. 7 (at San Francisco) and Dec. 21 (at Seattle), requiring them to make four back-and-forth cross-country trips (unlike the Patriots, who stayed on the West Coast both times). The Jets are 0-3 on their trips to the West Coast at this point, and that upcoming game in Seattle is looming large for their playoff hopes.
So, in the end, the Patriots' preference to play back-to-back games on the West Coast seems to trump the disadvantage of facing three straight clubs with extra time to prepare.