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Tom Jones' Two Cents

Sports analysis, perspective and more.

The new schedule is here! The new schedule is here!



Jerk The NFL schedule is out. Came out Tuesday. So let's quickly decide how tough each schedule is because ... well, that's the type of thing we do here. Anyway, here's a quick glance at each team's schedule.

Arizona: One of these seasons the Cards are going to be good. This year? Well, maybe not. Not with the Cowboys, Giants and Patriots on the schedule, plus tough road games against Washington and Philadelphia. At least they get the Cowboys and Giants at home.

Atlanta: Not that it matters who they play because the Falcons are a bad bunch. Still, the schedule looks hard. Sort of. Road games at Green Bay, Philly, San Diego and Minnesota. Then again, also should have a chance to win a few with Chiefs, Raiders and Rams on the schedule.

Baltimore: A tough road, with the emphasis on the word "road.'' The Ravens must travel to better-than-you-think Houston, Indianapolis, New York to face the defending-champion Giants and Dallas. And, of course, division rivals Cleveland and Pittsburgh. They close with a difficult patch: Redskins, Steelers (both at home), at Dallas, home against Jacksonville.

Buffalo: If Bills can get through first two weeks (Seattle, at Jacksonville), it settles down. Throw out two division games against New England and the only really tough games are home against San Diego (and that game comes after a bye week) and a trip to Denver on Dec. 21. They close at home against Pats. Yuck!

Carolina: Travel to San Diego in Week 1 -- not exactly the place to get off to a quick start. And the final five (road games at Green Bay, the Giants and New Orleans; home games against the Bucs and Broncos) not exactly the recipe for a fast finish.

Chicago: Tough opener (at Indy), but not so bad after that except the usual black-and-blue showdowns with division rivals such as the Packers and Vikings. Bears play three of their final four at home so they can make up some ground late in the season.

Cincinnati: Bengels can't afford slow start because they play the Ravens, Titans, Giants, Browns and Cowboys in the first five games. The second half does them no favors either with games against Jacksonville, Philly and Washington and trips to Pittsburgh, Indy and Cleveland.

Cleveland: Browns open with two home games, but look who they're against -- Dallas and Pittsburgh. Road sked is a killer, including games at Washington, Jacksonville, Tennessee and Philly. They better have a playoff spot wrapped up by the last week because finale is at Pittsburgh, where the Browns usually struggle.

Dallas: Besides playing in a tough nut of a division, the Cowboys have to work extra hard outside the division. They must play at some of the toughest stadiums in football: Cleveland, Green Bay and Pittsburgh.

Detroit: The Lions non-division schedule looks fairly easy. They have to go to Indy, but the toughest game after that is against the Bucs at that's a home game. But Lions fans better hope they don't need the last game. The finale is at Green Bay and Lambeau isn't all that fun in late December.

Denver: Despite games at New England and Cleveland, non-division road trips are very winnable -- at Atlanta, the Jets and Carolina. Toughest non-division games after that are against Bucs and Jags on back-to-back weeks in October, but at least both are at home.

Green Bay: Losing Brett Favre was bad enough. Now the Packers have to fight a tough schedule. Road games at Tampa Bay, Seattle and Tennessee. Tough home games against Dallas and Indianapolis. Not going to be easy to repeat as division champs.

Houston: Three of the Texans' first four on the road and all three are dicey -- Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Jacksonville. They also have to travel to Cleveland in late November and Green Bay in early December. Texans better bring their long-johns.

Indianapolis: The road portion of the non-division schedule is brutal -- games at Minnesota, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, San Diego and Cleveland. At least they get the Patriots at home.

Jacksonville: If Jags can get through first half of season, they'll be fine. They have to go to Indy and Tennessee in the first half, then get to host those teams in the second half. In the first half they also have to go to Denver and host Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Second half is cake compared to the first half, but still no picnic with games against Indy, Green Bay and a season finale at Baltimore.

Kansas City: Geez, this is a last-place schedule with the Jets, Falcons, Panthers and Dolphins. They'll get thumped in Week 1 at New England, but then toughest non-division games are both at home -- Bucs and Saints.

Miami: When you're the Dolphins, EVERY game is tough. But they do get a last-place schedule and the toughest games outside of the two against the Pats are home against San Diego and at Denver.

Minnesota: Look at the glass half-full. The Vikings annual toughest game is at Green Bay and this year, the Vikings go to Lambeau in Week 1 when Aaron Rodgers will be making his first start in the post-Favre era. But look at the glass half-empty, too. Vikes have to come to Florida on back-to-back weeks in November to play Tampa Bay and Jacksonville and close out the season at home against the defending champs.

New England: The Pats won't be challenged until their fifth game (at San Diego) and if they can win that, they might cruise all the way until their eighth game at Indy. The last real hurdle is back-to-back games at home against Pittsburgh and at Seattle on Nov. 30/Dec. 7.

New Orleans: If the Saints plan is to get off to a quick start to put last season behind them, it won't be easy. First three games are home against the Bucs then at Washington and Denver. If Saints can hold up after trip to London to play the Chargers in October, the second half of the season isn't half-bad, especially with games against the Panthers and Chiefs and two against the Falcons.

NY Giants: Relatively easy start for the champs -- home games against the Redskins and Bengals sandwiched around a trip to St. Louis. It gets tougher after that ... trips to Cleveland (on a Monday night) and Pittsburgh. Overall, however, not too tough outside the division.

NY Jets: After opening against Miami, the Jets host New England then travel to San Diego. Eee, that's tough. But the rest of the games are, in theory, winnable ... well, except for the rematch with New England and a trip to Seattle on Dec. 21.

Oakland: Bad team, but at least the schedule will give the Raiders a chance. Toughest non-division road game is at Tampa Bay in season finale. Toughest game all season (Patriots) is at least at home. Raiders could load up mid-season in a five-game stretch that features Jets, Ravens, Falcons, Panthers and Dolphins.

Philadelphia: Eagles get Dallas and Pittsburgh back-to-back in Weeks 2 and 3. And last four games are downright scary if you need a couple of wins to get into the postseason -- at the Giants, home against the Browns, at the Redskins, home against the Cowboys.

Pittsburgh: Not easy, but not ridiculously bad because of where the games will be played. The Steelers do have to go to Jacksonville and New England -- two places they rarely have success. After that, however, their four toughest games (Giants, Colts, Chargers, Cowboys) are at home.

San Francisco: The 49ers get both Super Bowl teams (Pats at home; Giants on the road) and then also have to go to Dallas. But last four games are set up to make a playoff push -- Jets at home, at Miami, at St. Louis, home against the Redskins. Then again, the 49ers might be out of the hunt by then.

Tampa Bay: If you're going to play at Chicago and Denver then you want to play there early in the season, which is what the Bucs will do. Both games in first five weeks. After Oct. 26 game at Dallas, the schedule really lightens up with home games against Minnesota, New Orleans, San Diego and Oakland and road games against Kansas City, Detroit, Carolina and Atlanta. A 6-2 mark in the second half is not out of the question.

Tennessee: Titans need to build up some momentum in the first half because they don't want to have to rely on final four to make the playoffs. Titans wrap up season hosting Cleveland, at Houston, hosting Pittsburgh and then going to Indianapolis. Oh, and before that, they're the team that has to go to Detroit on Thanksgiving Day.

San Diego: Whom did the Chargers tick off in the league office? They have to travel to London to play the Saints on Oct. 26. They get the Pats and Colts at home, but must travel to Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay.

Seattle: Difficult road games at Buffalo (to open the season), in New York to play the Giants and at Tampa Bay and Dallas. Patriots and Packers come to Seattle and that sounds a whole lot better than going to New England and Green Bay in the winter. Still, not the easiest schedule in the world.

St. Louis: First four games (at Philly, home against Giants, at Seattle, home against Bills) looks like a 1-3 start and maybe even 0-4 heading into a much-needed bye week. And, next three after that? At Washington, home against Dallas, at New England. Now we're talking 1-7, maybe 0-8, in the first half. Do I need to even bother with the second half?

Washington: Weird schedule. Three of the first five and three of the final four are road games. But at least the closing stretch (at Baltimore, at Cincy, home against Philly, at San Francisco) isn't too daunting. November could make or break Skins. In that month, they play Pittsburgh, Dallas, Seattle and the Giants. Good news is only the Seattle game is on the road.

[Last modified: Monday, June 14, 2010 2:41pm]


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