The Cowboys and Texans had to play an extra period in order to defeat the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars respectively. It took Dallas more than 12 minutes to defeat the Browns 23-20. Houston almost played the full 15 minute overtime as well before beating Jacksonville 43-37. Both the Cowboys and Texans had to come from behind to force overtime and almost played to ties.
Dallas and Houston could not afford to play overtime games Sunday, because they will both be playing their next games on short weeks. The Cowboys will play their annual Thanksgiving Day game against the Washington Redskins at 4:00. Houston will travel to play the Detroit Lions in the annual game played in Michigan at 12:30. This means that Dallas and Houston will only have three days to get ready after playing an overtime game.
The Cowboys may fare better than the Texans in that they are playing at home. The Redskins played Sunday, as well, and will have to travel to Dallas. This means that Washington will have a short work week too. The Texans not only played an overtime game, but will have a short week of practice, will travel to Detroit and must play the early game. Houston looked leg weary at the end of the Jacksonville game. Will three days be enough for them to recover, before playing the Lions?
The Cowboys and Texans situations are a perfect example of why the NFL overtime should not last more than one quarter. There are those who do not like tie games and want overtime to be played until someone wins. Dallas and Houston are already at a disadvantage having played an extra 12 minutes. They would have been almost non competitive if they had played two overtimes.
This is in no way trying to find an excuse for if the Cowboys or Texans lose. It is simply making the case that playing an overtime period does have an effect on teams in their next game. The St. Louis Rams played to a 24-24 tie with the San Francisco 49ers one week ago. On Sunday, the Rams looked like a team out of gas and lost at home to the New York Jets. If St. Louis could not recover after a full week, how will Dallas and Houston do it in half of a week?
In the NFL you make your own bed. If the Cowboys could not beat a 3-7 Browns team at home in regulation then they must suffer the consequences of the short week. The same goes for the Texans.
By extending themselves to overtime Sunday, Dallas and Houston may pay the price on Thanksgiving Day.