13 Apr 2005
Here you go, the 2005 schedule has officially been announced. I mentioned when this was first posted that the league had set things up so the Steelers would need to beat the Patriots in order to match their regular season record of 18 straight victories. It turns out this is slightly wrong. New England travels to Pittsburgh in Week 3, which would represent Pittsburgh's 17th straight regular season win, one short of the record. Then the Steelers get a bye and, assuming they are 3-0, would try to tie the record in San Diego on Monday Night Football.
Other interesting tidbits: Christmas is a Sunday, so most of the Week 16 games are played on Saturday. Then the following week, the NFL plays like usual on Sunday, even though that's January 1. Are the Bowl people okay with this?
According to our current numbers, the easiest schedule (based just on opponent projections) belongs to Detroit, so the league is nicely screwing them a little by giving them the Week 3 bye and sending them to chilly Pittsburgh in the last week of the season. In other late-season choke news, Minnesota plays in Baltimore on Christmas Night. The hardest projected schedule belongs to the Patriots -- actually, since the AFC East and AFC West play each other, the hardest projected schedules pretty much all belong to teams in these two divisions.
After three NFL seasons of kicking off from the 35-yard line, what has been the impact on touchbacks, returns, field position, scoring and injuries? Also, is this rule responsible for a record number of big comebacks?