Head coach Joe Judge has turned the first-place New York Giants into one of the hottest teams in the NFL. They've won four straight games and are coming off a massive 17-12 road upset over the Seattle Seahawks. Surprisingly, one of the biggest changes Judge has made to the organization this season is the team's travel schedule, which now allows players to get more sleep.
Rather than head home at the conclusion of a road game, the team stays one more night at a hotel and departs the next day.
If they are playing during the day on Sunday, the team leaves New Jersey in the early morning the day before the game, rather than the afternoon prior to the matchup. So, for most games, the team heads to the opposing city on Saturday morning and back to MetLife Stadium on Monday afternoon.
According to Giants.com, this new schedule alters a travel plan that had been in place since 2004, when Tom Coughlin took over as head coach. It ultimately allows the team to rest after road games, rather than immediately have to travel.
Judge explained his reasoning for the change via the team website:
"What we found last time that helped more than anything, instead of taking kind of almost that red-eye-type of flight coming back — you are worn down, you're tired, you get a short night of sleep Sunday into Monday, you're tired on Monday, and it catches up to you on Tuesday. All of the sudden, by the time you hit Thursday, you get that reciprocal wear-and-tear on your body where it sets you back a little bit."
The head coach also highlighted how it helps the team function the next day.
"We saw with this, getting a good night's sleep on Sunday, waking up fresh on Monday. Everyone got home by, call it, 8 o'clock," he said. "We're actually going to get home a little bit earlier this time. We're going to leave a little earlier. We'll get everyone home, get a good night's sleep. Wake up fresh on Tuesday and get rolling forward."
The new travel schedule was first tested in Week 4 during a trip to face the Los Angeles Rams, and was kept in place after Giants players "liked it a lot," Judge said. It's continued, including after the team's win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. The team stayed in Seattle instead of hoping on a flight back to the east coast and landing at 4:30 a.m., according to NBC Sports.
It has all paid dividends as New York sits at 5-7 and are in a close battle with the 5-7 Washington Football Team -- who are coming off an upset win themselves -- atop the NFC East.