Initial impressions on the 2010 schedule

Here’s a quick first-take on the 2010 NFL schedule. I went back and looked at this same article from last year, and the first impressions in 2009 were pretty good. After the draft, I will break down the schedule and project its strength for this coming season, break down the playoff weeks, etc.

ARI – They really have only one game that I’d consider brutal against the run or the pass (Min, vs. run), so as usual the schedule does the Cards some favors. About half of their games are against below-average teams, and that should help them run the ball more frequently and effectively, so good news for RB Chris Wells’ potential to break out.

ATL – It’s definitely better than last year’s, so that’s good. It’s looking especially favorable late in the season against the run, so that’s potentially good news for RB Michael Turner. Overall, I’d say it’s a little better than above average, which is nice to know because last year’s was tough and that was possibly a factor in their disappointing season.

His schedule looked pretty tough going into last year, and that probably didn't help Falcon RB Michael Turner. It's looking better in 2010

BAL – Once again the schedule looks pretty good, especially for the run. They do get the Jets once and Pittsburgh twice, but otherwise nothing too scary and some nice matchups mixed in. The pass looks a little tougher, but it doesn’t look particularly prohibitive.

BUF – When you get arguably the three best run defenses in the league four times total, that’s not good. But there are some solid matchups in there for them. A big key is how Miami does against the run, since they may slip up and Buffalo gets them twice. Other than the Jets twice, the schedule against the pass looks decent.

CAR – Their schedule looks a little better than last year, when it looked tough. There are a lot of matchups that look about average now, so the schedule is decent both for the run and the pass.

CHI – There are definitely some good matchups for the run with this schedule, but they also have some tough ones, as many as five against top-5 run defenses. That’s not great news for RB Matt Forte, who will split time this year with Chester Taylor. Minnesota and the NY Jets Weeks 15-16 is a concern for their RBs, for sure. It is a little better against the pass.

CIN – Playing the Steelers and Ravens twice is always tough, and they also get the Jets, so that’s scary. There are some good matchups here, but not much in terms of matchups that appear very favorable.

CLE – They get Baltimore and Pittsburgh twice, plus the Jets, so that’s no good. TB, KC, and Buf are nice, but overall there’s not a lot to get excited about with this team given their tougher schedule and lame personnel.

DAL – They’re playing a ton of teams that should be good, so I can’t say their schedule is great. But the schedule doesn’t look brutal, either, and it seems to get easier in the second half of the season.

DEN – Overall, the schedule looks pretty damn good for the Broncos. They have Bal and NYJ, but also easier matchups in the second half of the season against teams like Oak, KC, Stl, Oak, and KC again. Thank you, weak AFC West.

DET –Three matchups that look good in Stl, Buf, and TB, but five that look tough and a lot of solid Ds like NE, Phi, NYG, etc. Overall, this looks below-average.

GB – There are more tough matchups than easy ones, so while most of the schedule doesn’t look scary, it leans to the tougher side. But it’s not a huge issue for this excellent offense if the OL holds up.

HOU – Last year it was favorable and that likely helped their offense. And while this year’s schedule doesn’t look really tough, it doesn’t look great, either. The good news is it looks easier for the pass than the run, and this team is keyed by the pass.

IND – If Washington and Dallas aren’t as good as I think they’ll be against the run (at least top-10), then the schedule is going to be void of a single great run defense, so that’s good. It looks even better for the pass, so the Colts are looking good here.

JAC – Same thing here as Indy with Dallas and Washington. If those two Ds aren’t all that great, then the schedule is going to be pretty good overall for the Jags. Not a ton of cake matchups, but few really tough ones.

KC – Here’s where playing in a shaky division with a last-place schedule comes in handy. There is not one really tough matchup on the schedule on paper right now, and a good number of favorable ones. Oh, and since they’re playing the worst division in the NFC this year (West), things are really looking up for this team schedule-wise.

MIA – This is not a good schedule. It’s just below-average for the pass, but with five matchups against the three best run defenses in the league, it’s got some serious rough patches. The good news is their schedule down the stretch does look good, with games against Oak, Cle, Buf, and Det from Weeks 11-16 (NYJ are in there Week 14).

MIN – Despite having a 1st place schedule, nothing stands out here as being overly challenging, both for the run and the pass. Playing the Jets is tough all around, but again things don’t look very prohibitive overall schedule-wise.

NE – Playing the Jets twice and Bal and Pit isn’t great for the run and also the pass (excluding Bal), but there are some nice ones in here as well, thanks in part to the Bills, who they of course get twice. Their schedule from Week 11 on looks pretty good, too.

NO – There are some rough spots, but more favorable matchups than difficult ones based on what we know now about the defenses. There aren’t many problem spots for the pass, other than maybe Carolina twice a year (but that might not be a tough matchup this year with no pass rush).

NYG – Their schedule’s always a little tough playing in the NFC East, but otherwise it doesn’t look too bad. Take away Min against the run and other than their division opponents, the schedule looks favorable overall.

NYJ – Bal, Min, and Pit against the run is tough, but against the pass I don’t see a really tough matchup all year. And other than those three defenses, the schedule looks just fine for the Jets.

OAK – Last year, their schedule actually looked hard, and the team certainly struggled. But this year, other than Pit, things are looking up for the Raiders schedule-wise. In fact, it looks downright soft against the pass. Too bad it doesn’t look like they will be acquiring QB Ben Roethlisberger.

PHI – Minnesota in Week 16 isn’t good for the run, and Was and Dal twice is always a challenge and should be this year. The issue otherwise is that you won’t find any cake matchups other than Det. So overall, the schedule looks kind of tough for the Eagles. Certainly not terribly concerning, but it’ll be a bit of a challenge transitioning to QB Kevin Kolb (but I still like Kolb this year).

PIT – It’s not as easy as last year, but there are some nice matchups here, as is usually the case in their division (thanks, these days, to the Browns). They do have what looks like a solid schedule the second half of the season, other than Bal and NYJ Weeks 13 and 15. Their schedule against the pass the first six games is pretty good, though, which helps given their QB situation.

SD – With the Chargers in their lame AFC West division and playing the even lamer NFC West (Sea, Stl, SF), things are really looking up for the Chargers, both for the run and the pass. This is a top-5 schedule against both the run and the pass, so feel good about the San Diego players this year.

SEA – As usual, it’s looking pretty good here, especially in the second half of the season against the run. It’s above average overall.

SF – Looking pretty damn good here. In addition to the weaker NFC West, the Niners get Oak, KC, and TB. Good news for RB Frank Gore. It’s a little tougher against the pass, thanks in large part to matchups against NO and Car, but it’s still overall a favorable schedule for the 49ers, as usual.

STL – There are at least seven favorable matchups for the run this year, so that’s good stuff for RB Steven Jackson. Their schedule against the pass also looks good, thanks to that NFC and AFC West schedule. So there’s some hope here.

TB – There are some trouble spots here like Pit, Bal, and maybe Was, but overall this is a solid schedule for the Bucs against the run and the pass. They could use the help.

TEN – It’s not a great schedule against the run, but it’s not terribly difficult, either. It’s easier for the pass, which could help QB Vince Young here and there.

WAS – It’s about average for the run, but it could end up being a little tougher than expected if a few teams come on and play well. For the pass, other than maybe matchups against the Cowboys

Category: Fantasy Football

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3 Responses

  1. colorado fan says:

    John:
    Thanks, I agree overall with your analysis. I did my own rough estimates based on last year’s points against (I know defenses can change)
    It does look like the Chargers and Colts have cake schedules.
    It also looks like most of the NFC East has favorable schedules against the pass–makes me like Kolb and the Philly receivers better, same with Dallas.
    For the run, all the AFC West and the NFC West look good–playing each other.
    Can’t wait to see who San Diego picks for a RB in the draft.

  2. John Hansen says:

    A little later today we’ll plug the 2010 schedule into our SOS tool using 2009′s data, so users can manipulate the schedule in a variety of ways. Then, we’ll have our own *projected* SOS, which does not go off 2009′s numbers.

  3. colorado fan says:

    Thanks John,
    I see that the SOS tool is updated with the 2010 schedule.
    I use the SOS tool a lot. I also like to make up what I call QB pairs–that is quarterbacks whose schedule fits together well. It is nice to have a QB2 who has a good matchup for your QB1′s bye or when your QB1 plays the Jets, for example.
    That tool makes it easy to do that. I make a list of backup QB’s for each of the first string quarterbacks that I might draft–3 or 4 with good fitting matchups.

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