FOXBORO, Mass. -- The New England Patriots and New York Giants both must deal with the unenviable position of having a Thursday night game just a few days after playing on a Sunday afternoon.
These players have less time to study and watch film on their Week 6 opponent, but the most challenging aspect of the quick turnaround is preparing physically for another hard-fought game so soon after the previous matchup.
It's a dynamic that Patriots captain Matthew Slater doesn't endorse from a player safety perspective.
"You could be 22 years old -- it's (still) tough. Player safety, player health? This doesn't fit into that as far as I'm concerned," Slater said after Tuesday's practice.
"I know we've had a lot of discussions about it as a union. I know it's a good product as far as the consumers are concerned, and the fans enjoy these Thursday night products. But I think when you talk about the rigors of playing in an NFL game, and then what it takes to recover and be able to do it again the following week, to do a Sunday-to-Thursday turnaround is tough. It doesn't fit under the umbrella of player safety as far as I'm concerned. But you guys know that -- I've said that every year."
The Patriots traveled down to Tampa Bay to play the Buccaneers on Thursday night a few years ago, but this week's game will be played at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. How much of an advantage do the Patriots have (outside of the normal benefits of being at home) in playing at their own stadium in this Thursday night scenario?
"It certainly gives you a couple extra hours of rest," Slater said. You get on a plane and there's dehydration, joints swelling up or what have you. I think it's nicer to play these games at home when you have the opportunity to do so. But I think it's equally challenging for both teams."
Thursday's game will be the Patriots' third in 12 days. The good news for the Patriots is they'll have plenty of time after playing the Giants to rest and recover for their Week 7 matchup. New England's next game isn't until Monday night in New York versus the rival Jets.
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