There is a lot of upside to playing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday night in the NFL, including playing in front of a national audience, which doesn't happen often. Players seem more fired up and they seem to play harder and faster. There is also a downside, though, which is the wear and tear and the fatigue that comes with playing after a short week's worth of rest. The Bengals played just four days ago, and statistically in the Marvin Lewis Era, the team has not been good after not getting a full seven days between games.
Let's start with Thursday Night Football. The Bengals have played three games on Thursday night since 2003 and in those three games, the team is 1-2. They first played on Thursday night in 2006, where they have their one win after four days of rest against the Ravens by a score of 13-7. Next they played on Thursday night in 2008, where they lost to the Steelers by a score of 10-27 and then they played their last Thursday night game in 2010 when they lost to the Jets by a score of 26-10.
While those three games were played after only four days of rest, the team has quite a few games after six days of rest, coming off of a Monday Night Football game or playing on Saturday night. In those games, the Bengals are 2-6, which gives the Bengals a 3-8 record in general after a short week.
Don't let this scare you, though, as the Bengals have been better over the last two seasons. Two of their three wins after a short week of rest have come in the last two seasons. They beat the Cardinals by a score of 23-16 in 2011 on a Saturday and earlier this seasons they defeated the Browns by a score of 34-27 after six days of rest coming off of a Monday night loss. So, the good news is the Bengals are trending up when playing after a short week.
Let's cross our fingers that the Bengals continue their recent winning ways and even up their Thursday Night Football record tonight against the Eagles.