What in tarnation? This is the short version of the schedule analysis since the short version always comes first.
Some interesting things on the schedule. To save front page space, I'm just gonna do the whole thing after the jump. Let's go!
Here's the schedule:
Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 9, at Kansas City, 1:00 PM
Week 2: Monday, Sept. 17, Denver, 8:30 PM
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 23, at San Diego, 4:05 PM
Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 30, Carolina, 1:00 PM
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 7, at Washington, 1:00 PM
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 14, Oakland, 1:00 PM
Week 7: BYE
Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 28, at Philadelphia, 1:00 PM
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 4, Dallas, 8:20 PM
Week 10: Sunday, Nov. 11, at New Orleans, 1:00 PM
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 18, Arizona, 1:00 PM
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 25, at Tampa Bay, 1:00 PM
Week 13: Thursday, Nov. 29, New Orleans, 8:20 PM
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 9, at Carolina, 1:00 PM
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 16, NY Giants, 1:00 PM
Week 16: Saturday, Dec. 22, at Detroit, 8:30 PM
Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 30, Tampa Bay, 1:00 PM
Taken right from espn.com.
First thing that sticks out to me is that Pre-Bye is a lot softer than Post-Bye in terms of difficulty. I'm not sold on the Panthers (yet) and Washington/Oakland, while respectable teams, should be taken care of without too much difficulty. Chiefs have too many issues and it'll be interesting to see how Peyton performs. I'd be afraid if we got him in Week 12, but Week 2? I like our chances, especially in the Doom Dome.
Speaking of the Doom Dome, how about the amount of teams that won't have a lot of fans in the Dome this year? The Cowboys are either love/hate and I think most of Atlanta hates them now so we should be good. Then we have 'Zona, Oakland, Denver, and our division rivals which we should automatically insta-hate. Keep driving up those ticket prices, Delta, that'll teach 'em!
I worry about Week 17. We might have another let-down in the playoffs unless the Bucs are good, but they could be 4th best in a division full of 10 game winners, so that will remain to be seen.
I like that we get New Orleans 2 on a Thursday night. I think some of their preparation will suffer since they won't have supergenius Sean Payton to help Brees (or somebody) study for us. Round 1 is only 18 days prior to round 2, so any bad blood is going to be flowing extra hard if there was any in round 1.
Philly/Dallas/NO is a tough three-week stretch, but I like that we're playing them away first. Any momentum we can get against them will be a positive, especially if we meet in the playoffs.
We get the Champs late in the season, could be a springboard to head into Detroit, where they may be riddled with injuries. Detroit has had injury issues in the past, and it could haunt them when we come to town.
That's the short version of the schedule analysis. More to come in the days that follow!