We’re in desperate need of some actual football. Thank goodness it’s less than a month away.
How am I so sure that we need actual football to sink our teeth into? According to a report from Friday, the NFL owners have proposed a rule that would expand the regular season to 18 games but limit the number that each player could play to 16. That’s insane.
The can of worms associated with this has so many things spilling out of it that it’s almost an avalanche. How would this work with quarterbacks? Would you have to have two? What about injuries? Suspensions? How would records be broken and chased? The confusion this could cause is endless.
18-game regular seasons have been floated for some time, as has this little wrinkle; however, considering it was actually proposed raises all of these questions about the potential scenario, far more than there are answers.
Which games on the schedule would you “rest” starters against?
I’ve always wondered where the NFL would get two more games for each team if they ultimately did expand the regular season, but that’s a problem for a different day. For the purposes of this conversation let’s stay looking at the current 16-game schedule, namely the one that Dallas will play in 2019.
Ideally you would want to have your team lock up whatever they could as quickly as possible and that would help you decide which games to “rest” your star players in, but this isn’t always the case. Often times division races go down to the last week which makes for a lot of fun (and stress), but you have to win enough games to get to that point. This would be more difficult if you were managing your entire team knowing that each legitimate player would have to miss at least two games.
Looking at this season’s 16-game schedule, which two games would you want to “rest” starters against if you had to? Again, I realize that this proposed rule involves an 18-game season, but looking at who the Cowboys are playing this very next year it’s difficult to choose two games to roll the junior varsity out against.
- Week 1: New York Giants
- Week 2: At Washington Redskins
- Week 3: Miami Dolphins
- Week 4: At New Orleans Saints
- Week 5: Green Bay Packers
- Week 6: At New York Jets
- Week 7: Philadelphia Eagles
- Week 9: At New York Giants
- Week 10: Minnesota Vikings
- Week 11: At Detroit Lions
- Week 12: At New England Patriots
- Week 13: Buffalo Bills
- Week 14: At Chicago Bears
- Week 15: Los Angeles Rams
- Week 16: At Philadelphia Eagles
- Week 17: Washington Redskins
Looking at those games, especially in the sequence that they are in, which two would you be comfortable resting your stars against? There are cases to be made for Miami and Detroit, but you have to consider the ramifications of the schedule and the way the games are laid out.
For instance, the Cowboys visit New England on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and they play Buffalo on Turkey Day. You could make an argument that you’re better-served punting the New England game and giving your players enough rest for the quick turnaround, or you can even make the case that you go all out against the Pats and hope that your B Team can get it done against the Bills.
The thing is, you could get creative with which starters you rested in particular games
If this hypothetical rule were to truly come to pass then the only contingency here would be that players could play 16 games maximum, but you could structure that however you wanted.
You could theoretically play a game with Dak Prescott in while taking Ezekiel Elliott out so as to maximize the caliber of starters across 18 games. Of course, so much of this would depend on who you were playing, health at the given time, and if you were still in the playoff hunt. This is a gigantic can of worms.
Obviously so much of this would change based on the state of the league at any given week, but the wrinkles are fascinating to consider. Without knowing who the extra two teams would be for an 18-game regular season schedule, which are the two teams you would be comfortable “resting” starters against? Or how would you structure things to make it work to the team’s greatest strengths across 18 total games? Make your case.