The Kansas City Chiefs’ 31-17 defeat of the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 12 was the beginning of a curious scheduling streak: in each of six consecutive contests, the Chiefs would have less rest time between games than each opponent will have.
For the coming “Sunday Night Football” matchup with the Green Bay Packers, Kansas City is coming off a game in Sunday’s late-afternoon window — while the Packers played in the early game on Thanksgiving Day.
Then in Week 14, the Buffalo Bills will visit Kansas City following their bye week.
Even after the Chiefs’ Week 15 meeting with the New England Patriots has been flexed from “Monday Night Football,” the rest deficit will remain; in the previous week, Bill Belichick’s squad will have played on Thursday night.
Before facing the Chiefs at Arrowhead on Christmas Day — a Monday — the Raiders will have played in Week 15’s Thursday night contest. That Monday afternoon game will then give Kansas City a day less rest than the Cincinnati Bengals will enjoy in Week 17.
Speaking before Wednesday’s practice, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid confirmed the issue of rest is on his staff’s radar. According to Reid, Dr. Shaun Tyrance — the team’s vice president of player services and assessment — is on the case.
“Dr. T harps on the guys about sleep patterns — and all this stuff,” explained Reid. “We just talked about it yesterday. He presented to the guys yesterday about sleep patterns. He’s always keeping that information available for the guys in case those kinds of things happen. When you’ve been a good football team, you’re going to have those kinds of schedules.
“Like this game here is a Sunday night game — so by the time you get back, that week is a little bit shorter than what it possibly would have been. It starts in training camp [by] preparing yourself: make sure you take care of your body, make sure you get your sleep — all of those things. Then it should work out okay for you.”
Speaking after Reid, quarterback Patrick Mahomes praised his wife for having their small children on an optimal sleep schedule.
“Brittany crushes the sleep,” declared Mahomes. “The kids have been sleeping for like 12 hours since they were three months old. I’ve been lucky — because I know other parents who haven’t been so fortunate — so that doesn’t bother me at all. It’s cool to hear Dr. T talk about the sleep — and how much benefit you can get from sleep.”
But it wasn’t news to the league’s reigning MVP.
“I’ve been big on sleep for a while,” he continued. “I’m one of those night owls. I like to stay up late, so I’ve tried to force myself to go to sleep — and I track it with the WHOOP [sleep tracker watch] and everything like that, [where] you can see the recovery scores. Rest is rest.”
Safety Justin Reid appeared grateful that this disadvantage in rest times is coming late in the season, when the Chiefs have already transitioned to more of a management practice schedule.
“To me, it’s mental,” Reid said in the locker room on Wednesday. “I think you prepare the same way. We’re late in the season now... Coach Reid typically likes for us to be professionals — and take more [of the] onus on ourselves.
“[We’re] watching more tape as it is now, anyway. It’s just about guys being pros. It’s about leaders leading: setting an example and showing the young guys how to do that — and how to watch film and be prepared to play.”