NFL Schedule: Between the Lines
Now that the NFL schedule has been released and we've had time to digest it's contents, it's human nature to be excited for the start of the new season. While expectations should be tempered while the league and players association continue to negotiate a new deal, perhaps the NFL is supremely confident a new deal will be in place in time for week 1.
Consider the number of marquee games on the week 1 schedule: Packers vs. Saints, Steelers vs. Ravens, Falcons vs. Bears, Giants vs. Redskins, Colts vs. Texans. Moreover, 9 of the 16 games in week 1 are division match ups.
Here are some other random tidbits regarding the schedule:
- The Packers are the first team that I can recall to ever play on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years Day.
- The combined 2010 record of the teams on the Packers 2011 schedule is 130-126.
- Only 5 of the Packers 2011 opponents made the playoffs in 2010 (Saints, Bears, Falcons, Chargers, Chiefs).
- The Packers don't have to worry about the dreaded 3 game road trip.
- The Packers bye week is October 30. Happy Halloween.
- The Chicago Bears start their season with the Falcons, Saints and Packers. Ouch.
- In a sick twist of fate, the worst team in the league last season, Carolina, has the toughest schedule. The Panthers 2010 opponents were a combined 142-114 last season.
- 6 teams will be featured the maximum 5 times in prime time (Cowboys, Jets, Ravens, Steelers, Eagles, Colts).
Call it a sign of optimism, call it crazy. The NFL schedule can be looked at one of two ways: It's either a sign of league confidence, or a gross symbol of what fans stand to miss due to the lockout.