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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Thursdays on road not so impossible in NFL

Jameis Winston and the Bucs have to deal with what's seen as one of the NFL's more difficult scheduling challenges: the quick turnaround to a Thursday road game.

JIM DAMASKE | Times

Jameis Winston and the Bucs have to deal with what's seen as one of the NFL's more difficult scheduling challenges: the quick turnaround to a Thursday road game.

14

December

The Bucs are coping with the disappointment of a 24-17 home loss to the Saints, but they now have to deal with what's seen as one of the NFL's more difficult scheduling challenges: the quick turnaround to not only a Thursday night game, but on the road as well.

This is the fourth year the NFL has had Thursday night games every week, and if you look at the trends over those four years, you find something surprising: playing on the road on a Thursday, with limited prep and recovery time, isn't a bad thing somehow.

NFL road teams have won 43 percent of games overall in that span, but if you look at only Thursday road teams, they're 31-36 overall, which works out to 46 percent. Take away the Week 1 Thursday games -- where the shorter prep time is almost negligible -- and they're actually 31-33, which works out to 48 percent, again much better than road teams in general.

We'll understand if your frame of reference for a Thursday road game is ... the Bucs' last such game, which saw them trailing 56-0 to Atlanta for the franchise's greatest deficit at any point in its 40-year history on the way to a 56-14 loss. The Bucs have been a Thursday road team just one other time since 2012, winning 36-17 at the Vikings in 2012.

Thursday road teams on a short week are 8-7 this year -- 7-6 if you take out the afternoon Thanksgiving games -- but if there's a reason for concern this week, it's that St. Louis is markedly better at home than they are on the road.

The Rams (5-8) are 4-3 at home this year, but 1-5 on the road -- they joins the Dolphins and Broncos as teams with three more home wins than road wins. Only the Redskins -- 5-2 at home, 1-5 on the road -- have a greater disparity between their success at home and on the road. The Bucs, meanwhile, have a better record on the road (3-3) than at home (3-4), so that shouldn't slow them down too much.

[Last modified: Monday, December 14, 2015 1:14pm]

    

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