April 16, 2008

IF ANYTHING...:

Steelers, AFC North face tremendous challenges (John Clayton, 4/16/08, ESPN.com)

The Patriots, for example, play one of the 10 easiest schedules in NFL history, a .387 magic-carpet ride that should allow them to win at least 14 games in 2008. Only five times do they face a team that finished 2007 with a .500-or-better record. The Patriots and teams in the AFC East play the NFC West and the AFC West, divisions that produced only two winning teams and six other teams with combined records of 31-65.

The difference in schedule difficulty between the Patriots and the Steelers would make it almost impossible for the Steelers to keep up with the Patriots in a battle for home-field advantage. If the best the Steelers could hope for is a .600 record against winning teams, which is no easy feat, the Steelers would have three more losses than the Patriots just because of the schedule.

Imagine spotting Bill Belichick and the Patriots three games in a 16-game race.

The schedule for the Patriots is incredibly easy. They start the season with four games against losing teams and have a bye week. They should go into an Oct. 12 Sunday night game against the Chargers with a 4-0 record. Their next game against a winning team is Nov. 2 on Sunday night against the Colts.


...the Patriots have a better chance of going undefeated this season than they did last.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 16, 2008 8:24 AM
Comments

As a Steeler fan, I cringe when I see their schedule. But the Browns are being hyped way too much. And the Ravens may not even win 5 games this year. And Cincy is more likely to win 4 than 9 or 10, I think.

However, the Pats may win 14 or 15, and then lose again in the post-season. Their defense is brittle, and their O-line is suddenly vulnerable. They can rack up the wins, but the team the Pats resemble most now is the Atlanta Braves (good players, good organization, poor management and execution at playoff time). The Braves got to the point where they didn't have the heart to win in the post-season. The Pats are on that road now, too.

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 17, 2008 9:15 AM
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