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View Full Version : SI: The five hardest 2005 schedules in the NFL


|Zach|
04-13-2005, 10:14 PM
http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/writers/andrew_perloff/04/13/toughest.schedules/index.html

Andrew Perloff

In today's parity-laden NFL, strength-of-schedule statistics don't mean what they used to. You just don't know what that Week 8 contest against a team that finished 4-12 the year before really means. With turnaround teams like last season's Chargers lurking, there are no guaranteed easy matchups.

The details of the schedule itself can also make things tougher or easier. Hosting the Dolphins or visiting the Bills is a different experience in September and December.

But with a little forethought and some predictions on who will improve, a clearer picture emerges of who faces the toughest road in 2005.

1. New England Patriots

The world champs already have a target on their back, they play in the last season's toughest division and they drew a tough NFC South out-of-conference schedule. Their September slate, which includes trips to Carolina and Pittsburgh, is brutal and they haven't played well at the beginning of the last two seasons. With all these older veterans, who knows how many healthy bodies they'll have by October. Of course, Bill Belichick can pick a cornerback off the street and win with him in the lineup three days later. The team that should offer a break, the 2-14 Dolphins, actually beat them last year and now has Nick Saban, the one coach who knows Belichick better than anyone.

2. San Diego Chargers

Marty Schottenheimer gets a dose of karma for beating a group of cupcakes last year. Not only do the Chargers play both Super Bowl participants, they travel to Indy, visit divisional rival Oakland on a short week following a Monday night game against Pittsburgh, and go to New York after the Jets have a bye week, which is usually a strong game for Gang Green.

3. Denver Broncos

The Broncos have lousy luck in their non-divisional AFC games -- at Buffalo in December and a trip to young-and-improving Jacksonville -- and a potentially difficult out-of-conference schedule against the NFC East. The Cowboys and 'Skins both could bust out, and who knows what Eli Manning can do with the Giants. Denver feasted early on the AFC West last season, but suffered late losses to the Chiefs, Raiders and Chargers. All three of those teams also have a chance to be better in '05.

4. Atlanta Falcons

Michael Vick and the gang enjoy the Monday night spotlight three times, and often an inferior team can get extra fired up when it hears that silly Hank Williams Jr. song. So those three games could get tougher if Atlanta jumps out and becomes a frontrunner. The South should be the toughest NFC Division once the Panthers get healthy. The Bucs and Saints are both question marks; sweeping either of those series is difficult.

5. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins' 2005 opponents won a league-leading 54.7 percent of their games last year. That's what happens when all of your division opponents have winning records. The only reason Miami isn't higher is because its last-place record set it up for matchups with Tennessee and Cleveland. But the 'Fins still face challenging games against the four NFC South teams, and the beginning of their schedule, when Saban is still getting his feet wet, is very tough. They might not get their first win until Week 7 or beyond.

Bowser
04-13-2005, 10:19 PM
You think Vermeil is silently cursing that the Chiefs aren't on that list?


:D

Mile High Mania
04-13-2005, 10:21 PM
I know that BigChiefFan is doing that right now...

Dunit35
04-13-2005, 10:21 PM
it wouldnt surprize me a bit if the Pats fall apart this year...I'd be shocked if they did anything this year.....then everyone will realize it was his coordinaters that won the rings...

|Zach|
04-13-2005, 10:22 PM
it wouldnt surprize me a bit if the Pats fall apart this year...I'd be shocked if they did anything this year.....then everyone will realize it was his coordinaters that won the rings...
The idea that any credit could be taken away from their Superbowl's the past few years is amazing to me.

Bowser
04-13-2005, 10:22 PM
it wouldnt surprize me a bit if the Pats fall apart this year...I'd be shocked if they did anything this year.....then everyone will realize it was his coordinaters that won the rings...

Fall apart? I don't think so. Be nowhere as dominate, but still competitive? Yeah.

Nzoner
04-13-2005, 10:23 PM
You think Vermeil is silently cursing that the Chiefs aren't on that list?


:D

The Chiefs made the NFL Network list during the schedule show that was replayed tonight,as I recall they were #4,however,that was totally based on last years teams and not the predictions of who will get better as stated in this article.

|Zach|
04-13-2005, 10:24 PM
Fall apart? I don't think so. Be nowhere as dominate, but still competitive? Yeah.
I agree

Bowser
04-13-2005, 10:25 PM
The Chiefs made the NFL Network list during the schedule show that was replayed tonight,as I recall they were #4,however,that was totally based on last years teams and not the predictions of who will get better as stated in this article.

Yeah, coming out with lists like this is nearly as assinine as mock drafts. Nobody knows what is going to happen.

patteeu
04-13-2005, 10:53 PM
it wouldnt surprize me a bit if the Pats fall apart this year...I'd be shocked if they did anything this year.....then everyone will realize it was his coordinaters that won the rings...

If they fall apart this year, it will prove that they were nothing but a paper tiger all along.

Phobia
04-13-2005, 10:55 PM
If they fall apart this year, it will prove that they were nothing but a paper tiger all along.

Heh heh - yeah.

You knew the Patriots were gonna win the next couple superbowls as soon as 9/11 happened.

BigChiefFan
04-13-2005, 10:56 PM
It's impossible to gauge how difficult the schedule is without them playing the games first.

alanm
04-13-2005, 11:00 PM
Atlanta gets 3 MNF games!! WTF? Watch Vick break his leg again and the Falcons go 4-12. MNF games have been a joke lately. When are they going to go with the revised schedule like they were talking about or has that idea been shelved?

Mile High Mania
04-13-2005, 11:10 PM
I understand why they got 3 ... the NFL wants VICK on prime time as much as possible. It happens.

BigChiefFan
04-13-2005, 11:14 PM
"they drew a tough NFC South out-of-conference schedule."

Man, that is brutal. LOL. Oh who am I fooling the NFC South kicked our ass last year.

Mile High Mania
04-13-2005, 11:17 PM
I thought it was odd that to support Denver's case, they talk about the potential of Dallas and Washington to "bust out" and then you have the Giants with young Eli. Yet, they didn't mention Philly, the Pats, Ravens... kinda funny.

Phobia
04-13-2005, 11:18 PM
I thought it was odd that to support Denver's case, they talk about the potential of Dallas and Washington to "bust out" and then you have the Giants with young Eli. Yet, they didn't mention Philly, the Pats, Ravens... kinda funny.

Yeah - I thought it was kinda weak logic, too.

SBK
04-13-2005, 11:34 PM
Atlanta gets 3 MNF games!! WTF? Watch Vick break his leg again and the Falcons go 4-12. MNF games have been a joke lately. When are they going to go with the revised schedule like they were talking about or has that idea been shelved?

They're all at home too. I guess that's so the Ron Mexico and herpes chants and signs won't be seen by the rest of the nation......ROFL