Note to NFL schedulers - you have approximately 8 bye weeks to work into your schedule throughout the course of the season and yet you somehow seem to insist on getting them out of the way far too early in the schedule, leaving beat up teams to play crappy football later in the season.
How about this suggestion/recommendation, especially in light of the Thursday games that come up for Thanksgiving and other times throughout the season (not sure how many of them we're gonna get, but a few it seems) -- how about using your brains when planning out the bye weeks and scheduling a bye week in the week prior to the Thursday game if possible.
Example: we know (thanks to the lunacy of never moving the games away from Detroit, who doesn't deserve to host another Thanksgiving Day game until they actually *win* one) that Detroit and Dallas will get a Thursday game for Thanksgiving Day. Their opponents will too (d'uh!). That being the case, how about we make sure that the weekend prior to Thanksgiving Day is the bye week for those teams and their opponents?!
If the NFL insists on continuing a night game for Thanksgiving Day, then same deal, schedule the teams involved in that game for a bye week on the Sunday before.
In theory, the teams would have the extra time to prepare for the game, would be more rested and healed up if they're battling injuries, and would produce a better game all around for everyone to see. Given that the Thanksgiving Day game is in the schedule as week 12, the bye week would be coming in week 11 for most teams. Not a bad place to be if you've got guys that have been playing hurt. It may suck a little for the teams that are involved to have to wait while every other team in the league has their bye weeks earlier, but then they don't get the nice break before and after the Thanksgiving Day games that the teams playing on that day would.
It just seems stupid not to give teams more down time before those games. They wind up playing tired, lethargic, and many times pathetic games. Instead of seeing the best the NFL has to offer, we get treated to blowouts, or games that are played by people that would rather be home with their families and don't even care.
Finally, an old rant for me -- how about really making those games valuable -- move them around each year. Let the winning team host the game the following year. If Detroit wins, great, they can host the game the next year. If they lose, they lose out on the late season bye week, the extra rest, and the right to host the game and be on national TV the next year. Same for Dallas, and same for someone else for the night game.
Do as Lamar Hunt (owner of the Kansas City Chiefs) has suggested for so long, and as others like me have suggested too -- move the games around and give all teams a chance to host those prestigious games. Put pride on the line and make it count, similar to what MLB has done with winning the all-star games, so that winning this year means next year you host the game. We'd get better product for it, and have better games to watch while enjoying our turkey.