2001: MNF teams doing ok the week following
Despite typical trends that teams are ill-prepared to play the week following a Monday Night Football game, teams aren't doing as bad as expected in 2001. Is this a new trend? Another sign of parity? Luck of the draw?
In 2001, teams that play on Monday Night Football are a combined 7-4 the following week. MNF winners are 4-1 the following week while MNF losers have managed to play .500 ball at 3-3. These figures are somewhat surprising but they are tempered by the strength of schedule. The MNF winners collected a 4-1 record the following week by playing teams with a collective 11-15 record (Arizona, Carolina, NYG, Oakland). The one loss came against 5-1 Oakland, the only "following week" opponent with a winning record! The MNF losers collected a 3-3 record the following week by playing teams with a collective 5-28 record.
The most surprising stat is that following a MNF game, teams (winners and losers) have faced opponents with a collective, putrid 16-43 record! Carolina (1-6) had the lucky draw of playing 3 opponents coming off a MNF game (GB, SF, Washington) yet they lost all three contests. What an embarrassment!!
The test this week for Pittsburgh is facing a 4-3 Baltimore team with a strong defense while trying to overcome the team's historically bad performance following MNF games. Coupled this with the fact that no Raven can remember the last time a team had a 100 yard rusher against them and Pittsburgh faces an steep uphill battle.
The x-factors in Pittsburgh's favor are Baltimore lack of the swagger and the Stillers' ability to come together so cohesively this year. The game should be close so the team might just find a way to squeak out a close win against a solid opponent; something they were unable to do the previous few years.
Oh yeah, there's one more x-factor - home field advantage. Hey all you Stillers fan going to the game....be loud! Real loud!!! The Black 'n Gold desperately needs home field advantage this week.