I have recently seen a few articles about NFL teams’ Strength of Schedule (SOS) for the 2013 season. Never mind that the SOS means nothing, as every season teams who performed poorly last year rebound and teams who played well fall off. And in the midst of one of these discussions I see the phrase that always tells me the writer/commentator is trying hard to sound like they know something:
“Team X has a first place schedule.”
This is normally used in an effort to make it sound like some team will have a much tougher time of it now that they have a first place schedule.
Here’s the thing: where a team finishes in the standing affects ONLY TWO GAMES on their schedule. Two games out of 16.
Each team plays their divisional rivals twice each (six games). And based on a pre-determined rotation, they also play all of the teams in one other division in their conference (four games) and all the teams in a division in the opposite conference (four games). That means that those fourteen games are all locked in and have NOTHING to do with the team’s finish the prior season. The remaining two games are played against teams in each of the other two divisions within their conference that finished in the same position in the standings.
So, when some writer or TV analyst spouts off anything about a first place schedule, just be smarter than them and know what that REALLY means. Also know that they are probably full of shit.