As most of you know, I am trying to become a baseball fan this year but my first and truest love will always be football. Therefore there are a few events throughout the NFL offseason that I will not be distracted from by baseball or any other sport. A few of these events are the NFL Combine, the NFL Draft, the first weekend of free agency and a few others. One of these other events is the day that I get to find out when my Colts get their BYE week, who they will be playing in which weeks, and when they play at home and on the road against each of their divisional opponents. In short the NFL will announce the 2009 NFL schedule tomorrow at 7 PM ET.
This is a big deal to me. I already know who their opponents will be in their 16 games next season, but I don’t know when and where they will be playing each of these opponents. Well I actually do know where, but I don’t know how many home road games they will have in a row, or if they will have their first three divisional games on the road, if they’ll be down the stretch or if they’ll be intermixed. This also means I can starts analyzing our first matchup of the season and come up with a few trillion statistical reasons on why and how the Colts will win that first game. Granted I can come up with quite a few without even knowing who that opponent is.
I was going to just simply let everyone know that the schedule is going to be released tomorrow and why I’m so excited about it and simply because writing about football gives me an inexplicable thrill that no other sport does. It’s weird. I know. Instead I shall take this opportunity to explain some of the finer points of NFL scheduling that many people may not know.
Every year each NFL team plays 16 games (this is subject to change here in the next few years) 8 of these games are home games and 8 are away games. These are the things that are pretty common knowledge, what you might not know is that the 16 game break down looks like this:
- 6 divisional games (one home and one away against each of the other three teams in your division)
- 4 games against a division within your conference (one against each team in that division, two will be home, two away)
- 4 games against a division not in your conference (one against each team in that division, two will be home, two away)
- 2 games against one random team in each of the other two divisions in your conference (one home and one away. A lot of times these games are used for teams that have a rivalry but wouldn’t have been scheduled to play each other otherwise.)
For those of you who just read through that and said to yourself “and that was supposed to mean something to me?” have no fear. Simply chalk it up to my inability to explain things clearly. I’ll go ahead and explain by example what exactly I mean. I’ll just pick a random team to use in my example. Hmmm, how about the Colts? Good choice, Weller. Okay, so here’s what the 2009 opponents look like for my Colts:
- 6 divisional games – The Colts play in the AFC South, which means the other three teams in their division are the Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans. Thus, the Colts will play each of those teams twice, once at home and once on the road.
- 4 games against a division within the conference – The Colts are in the American Football Conference (AFC) and in 2009 they will be playing against the AFC East, which contains the Buffalo Bills (in Buffalo), Miami Dolphins (in Miami), new england cheatriots (in Indianapolis), and New York Jets (in Indianapolis).
- 4 games against a division not in your conference – The other conference is the National Football Conference (NFC) and in 2009 the Colts will play the NFC West, which contains the Arizona Cardinals (in Arizona), San Francisco 49ers (in Indianapolis), Seattle Seahawks (in Indianapolis), and Bryan’s St. Louis Rams (in St. Louis) which I think we might need to take a little road trip for.
- 2 games against random teams in your conference – In 2009 the Colts will play against the Denver Broncos (in Indianapolis) from the AFC West and the Baltimore Ravens (in Baltimore) from the NFC North.
So here is what the breakdown looks like for the Colts:
new england cheatriots
New York Jets
San Francisco 49ers
St. Louis Rams
So at this point you might be asking yourself why I care so much about when the Colts play each of these teams if I already know who and where we play our 16 games. Well I can tell you this much, I hope that the we play the Bills and Ravens in our first two games of the season, or at least really early in the season. It would be hard opening with back-to-back road games but both of those teams play outdoors and if we play them late in the season you can bet on it being cold. The Colts prefer warm weather. Houston and St. Louis play in domes and so does Arizona kind of. Jacksonville and Miami will both be warm and that only leaves the away game against the Titans, which as long as it’s not too late in the season should probably have good weather.
This also means all but one of our games is in either Eastern Time or Central time, the game in Arizona being Mountain Time. This is important because it’s difficult for teams to go from Eastern Time to Pacific Time and vice versa. The game I’m worried about the most is easily the game in Baltimore. I know what you’re thinking. How could I not be worried about the game against the cheaters? While I do expect that to be a great game, and a classic battle of good vs evil, if the weather is bad in Baltimore that’s much more worisome to me.
So for one of those meaningless predictions, I have to Colts going 13-3 next season. This could change based on what I find out tomorrow but that’s what I have at this point. Let me know what you think: