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Old 01-02-2004, 04:34 AM   #1
Anthony
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Default STL's Difficulty - NYG's Opportunity

The following chart shows the 2003 winning percentage of each team's 2003 opponents, and that of the opponents each team is scheduled to play in 2004:

TEAM..................2003........2004.....Diff.
N.Y. Giants--------.555-------.480......+75
Buffalo------------.570-------.512......+58
Houston-----------.570-------.512......+58
Cleveland----------.539-------.484......+55
Atlanta------------.539-------.488......+51
Detroit------------.535-------.492......+43
Washington--------.531-------.492......+39
Jacksonville--------.543-------.516......+27
Tampa Bay--------.508-------.484......+24
Pittsburgh---------.500-------.477......+23
Arizona------------.543-------.523......+20
N.Y. Jets----------.527-------.512......+15
Denver------------.500-------.488......+12
Oakland-----------.516-------.512.......+4
Philadelphia--------.477-------.473.......+4
San Francisco------.512-------.512........0
New Orleans-------.500-------.504.......-4
San Diego---------.504-------.508.......-4
Chicago-----------.488-------.496.......-8
Dallas-------------.461-------.469.......-8
Tennessee---------.473-------.484......-11
Indianapolis--------.492-------.508......-16
Miami--------------.512-------.531......-19
Green Bay---------.488-------.508......-20
New England-------.484-------.512......-28
Minnesota---------.457-------.496......-39
Carolina-----------.445-------.492......-47
Baltimore----------.457-------.508......-51
Seattle------------.465-------.516......-51
Cincinnati----------.457-------.512......-55
Kansas City--------.418-------.488......-70
St. Louis-----------.434-------.512......-78

Last edited by Anthony; 01-02-2004 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 01-02-2004, 10:07 AM   #2
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That's all well and good, Anthony, but I think the Cowboys are a good example of why these numbers mean pretty much close to zippo.

The Cowboys played what was supposed to be one of the toughest schedules, especially considering the difference from '02 to '03. Yet, the NFC South proved to be incredibly bad, not just mediocre. The Giants, who were in '02 a pretty decent team, were not remotely good in '03. The Skins were actually worse in '03 than in '02... yadda, yadda, yadda...

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Old 01-02-2004, 10:28 AM   #3
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But what about the fact that the Seahawks took the biggest drop in schedule difficulty on last year's chart, and sure enough improved from a losing season in 2002 to a playoff season in 2003? And if I'm not mistaken, the team on the top of the chart two years ago was the Colts - and they went from 6-10 in 2001 to 10-6 in 2002.

Two items from this year's list jump off the page so to speak: The first is the huge swing in Denver's favor over Kansas City; could this put the Broncos in prime position to win the AFC West next year? And the second is the advantage that Philadelphia (and Dallas) enjoys over the leading contenders in the NFC's other three divsions - this could very well mean that if the Eagles get their hands on a speedy wide receiver and/or run-stuffing defensive tackle (and the Cowboys get some help at quarterback) this spring, the NFC East champion shapes up as a virtual lock to get home field throughout the NFC playoffs for the third straight year in 2004.

Last edited by Anthony; 01-03-2004 at 05:23 AM.
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Old 01-02-2004, 02:30 PM   #4
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The NFL is the most unpredictable sport we have right now, so who the hell knows how these teams will be next year? Free agency and coaching changes renders the last year meaningless. If you looked at the Giants schedule week 1 this year, you looked at the tough games as Tampa Bay and Buffalo, and some of the easy games as Dallas and Carolina. How did that formula work out? Another example is the week 17 game of Cleveland and Cinci. We looked at that during the summer as a game that Cleveland could secure if they were in a playoff race at the end of the year. It turned out to be the exact opposite.
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Old 01-03-2004, 05:01 AM   #5
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Here's another "handicapping tool" that may prove useful - it's the latest "salary cap standings" courtesy of ESPN's John Clayton:


Baltimore Ravens = $24.02 million surplus
Philadelphia Eagles = $22.8 million surplus
New Orleans Saints = $22.6 million surplus
Minnesota Vikings = $20.2 million surplus
Dallas Cowboys = $18.7 million surplus
St. Louis Rams = $17.6 million surplus
Arizona Cardinals = $17.1 million surplus
Detroit Lions = $14.6 million surplus
Carolina Panthers = $13 million surplus
Houston Texans = $12.1 million surplus
Seattle Seahawks = $11.6 million surplus
Jacksonville Jaguars = $10.4 million surplus
Chicago Bears = $9 million surplus
Cincinnati Bengals = $9 million surplus
Washington Redskins = $8.6 million surplus
Buffalo Bills = $7.5 million surplus
San Diego Chargers = $6.1 million surplus
Atlanta Falcons = $4.37 million surplus
New York Jets = $3.5 million surplus
Green Bay Packers = $3.4 million surplus
New York Giants = $2.7 million surplus
Indianapolis Colts = $1.8 million surplus
Oakland Raiders = $1.36 million surplus
Cleveland Browns = $1.3 million surplus
San Francisco 49ers = $793,000 surplus
New England Patriots = $399,000 deficit
Tampa Bay Buccaneers = $1.4 million deficit
Denver Broncos = $2.3 million deficit
Pittsburgh Steelers = $2.67 million deficit
Kansas City Chiefs = $8.3 million deficit
Miami Dolphins = $9.48 million deficit
Tennessee Titans = $16.4 million deficit

LEAGUE AVERAGE = $6.97 million surplus

Last edited by Anthony; 01-03-2004 at 05:19 AM.
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Old 01-03-2004, 08:56 PM   #6
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I better be seeing some major moves on the defense next year for the Vikings. IMprovement areas.... weakside linebacker, right corner, both end positions. Kenny Mixon shouldn't be starting.
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Old 01-04-2004, 10:36 AM   #7
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Two problems with the salary cap item: I don't think the league has set the cap for 2004 yet. If they did, I missed it. I don't think it gets set for another several months, though. Pretty sure that these numbers don't include the fact that contracts will begin expiring for last year players as their seasons come to completion, that is: playoff teams haven't had their due reductions for players whose contracts leave the books in February. More than likely, though, this has been done for teams whose seasons are over.

Ultimately, salary cap numbers are dismissable for many teams until the cap's been set for next season and contracts are completed, with a couple of exceptions: Arizona and Philly just plain won't spend the money they have available on the cap. End of story. Minnesota is likely of similar mind in that regard.

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Old 01-05-2004, 09:47 AM   #8
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In the link it specifically states "the $78.1 million salary cap for 2004" - so it appears that the cap has in fact been set.

And while the Eagles obviously aren't going to spend the whole $22.8 million or even close to that, surely they can't possibly be so foolish as to stand pat with what they have at wide receiver after tying the all-time record for fewest touchdown catches by a team's wide receivers in a 16-game season, which they did in 2003. As for the Cardinals, they won't even get the chance to spend much, with Eli Manning almost certain to be picked by San Diego and no free-agent quarterback out there this spring likely to command any big bucks (Peyton Manning's contract is actually up, but there is absolutely no way the Colts are going to let him leave and even Mark Brunell is likely to try and sign with a team that at least remotely resembles an immediate contender). Minnesota may be amenable to doing a little spending though; the Vikings desperately need help for their run defense (come to think of it the Eagles do too).

But even if the numbers aren't exactly accurate, they at least paint a general picture of who will have money to spend come March and who won't.

Last edited by Anthony; 01-05-2004 at 09:51 AM.
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