Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Strength of schedule: New York Giants
By Dan Graziano ESPN.com
If you assume that every team in the NFL will be exactly as good in 2014 as it was in 2013, the New York Giants will face the sixth-easiest schedule in the league next year. The combined 2013 winning percentages of the teams on the Giants' 2014 schedule was .465.
Only the Ravens, Jaguars, Texans, Titans and Colts face a 2014 schedule with a lower 2013 winning percentage.
Only four of the 13 teams on the Giants' 2014 schedule made the playoffs in 2013 -- the Eagles, the 49ers, the Colts and the Super Bowl champion Seahawks. And only one other, the Cardinals, finished with a winning record. Moreover, of that group of five, the only ones they have to play on the road are the Eagles (a division foe they face once at home and once on the road) and the Seahawks. The games against San Francisco, Indianapolis and Arizona all will be at MetLife Stadium.
I personally disdain this method of determining strength of schedule, because there's no way to know which teams will be good and which will not. Had we engaged in this exercise a year ago, teams scheduled to face the Falcons, Texans and Redskins would have been deemed to have tough schedules, while teams scheduled to face the Eagles, Panthers and Chiefs would have been deemed to have easier ones.
The reasons to like the Giants' 2014 schedule have less to do with the names of the teams they're going to face than with the fact that far-away teams like the 49ers, Cardinals and Texans have to come to New Jersey while the Giants only have the one long, cross-country trip to Seattle. Travel schedules, bye-week placement and prime-time games are things we can legitimately examine, whereas we have no way of knowing which teams will give other teams the tougher time next season.