From the FanPosts -Joel
We are in the dead spot of the NFL calendar. OTAs and Mini Camps are over and Training Camps cannot get here soon enough. What else is there to do besides attempt to throw the football around with my daughters in the back yard? They can catch the ball now but they both still throw like girls. Well I figured that I would look that the AFC West teams and their 2013 schedules. I will even give my predictions for final standings (for what my expert analysis is worth).
- The 2012 Denver Broncos finished 1st in the AFC West with a record of 13-3 (6-0 within the AFC West). Denver finished 7-1 at Home, 6-2 on the Road finishing with a Conference record of 10-2.
- In 2013 Denver enjoys the easiest path to the playoffs, coming in at the #32 easiest schedule. Denver will face opponents that collectively went 110-146-0 in 2012 for a Strength of Schedule (hereby refereed to as SoS) of 0.430.
So how does a team like Denver that went 13-3 for the best record in all of the AFC go on to obtain the easiest schedule for the following year? No conspiracy here, Denver shares 8 of the same opponents that the rest of the AFC West plays in addition to the other AFC West teams.
In-fact, based on the 2012 Regular Season results, Denver has a harder schedule than the rest of the AFC West. So what gives, how do they boast a SoS of 0.430 for 2013? Well that is because they play the rest of the AFC West.
Collectively the AFC West went 26-38 and Denver recorded HALF of those wins in 2013. That means that Denver won the same amount of games as the rest of the AFC West combined. They accomplished this feat while outscoring the other AFC West teams by at least 131 points and by allowing 61 points less than any other AFC West team.
Lets take a look at the 2013 Denver Broncos' schedule a little closer. I won't bore anyone with a complete listing of each opponent that Denver plays in 2013, if you want to know look it up. I will however highlight what I believe are key points in their schedule and then some "Schedule Details and Random Thoughts" about the schedule overall.
Denver will host the Superbowl Champions (which is a crime if you ask me, by winning the Superbowl a team deserves to open a new season at HOME) to open the 2013 NFL schedule. Peyton Manning will take on his little brother Eli Manning at Eli's house in Week 2. Peyton Manning also then returns to Indianapolis in Week 7. Week 8 will have Denver hosting RGIII and the Washington Redskins.
Denver's toughest stretch is after they return from a Week 9 BYE. Denver will have 3 AFC West contests and play a game in Foxborourgh against the Patriots (Week 12) within a months time. A back-to-back road trip in Houston and Oakland will finish Denver's regular season schedule in 2013.
SoS Home: 0.352/Away: 0.508
5 of the 8 Home games come before their Week 9 BYE
Not only does Denver enjoy the easiest SoS overall, but they also have the (by far) easiest SoS during Home games in 2013 out of AFC West teams. Also by playing 5 of their 8 Home games before their Week 9 BYE, Denver could potentially roll through the first half of their season. This would allow them to heal and rest during their BYE, being better physically and mentally prepared for a tougher 2nd half of the season.
It would be hard to imagine that this team won't run through the Regular Season and right into the Playoffs. There are some hard spots on their schedule and three of their four toughest non divisional games are on the road. Again, they should make the playoffs but a rough 2nd half of the schedule might force them to rest starters in Week 17.
- The 2012 Kansas City Chiefs finished 4th in the AFC West with a record of 2-14 (0-6 within the AFC West). Kansas City finished 1-7 at Home, 1-7 on the Road finishing with a Conference record of 0-12.
- In 2013 Kansas City will face opponents that held a collective record of 121-135-0 in 2012 for a SoS of 0.473. Kansas City's schedule puts them at the #5 easiest path to the playoffs.
How will Kansas City fair in 2013? Well they will go 16-0 of course (19-0 if you count the playoffs). Alright, I guess I will actually take a look at the facts, here they are.
2-14 was how Kansas City finished in 2012 (you all remember that still right?). Kansas City only scored 211 points last year, which would place them right around dead last in the NFL. They allowed a total of 425 points in 2012, which is only worse than 6 other teams in the NFL. Those stats would put a frown on any NFL fan base, but when you slap that fan base in the face with the knowledge that their team put up those stats while also sending 6 players to the Pro Bowl is just hard to take.
This team will be better in 2013, it has to doesn't it? The off-season additions all across the organization will show in 2013. QB Alex Smith and ROT Eric Fisher are the biggest acquisitions to the KC Offense. On Defense we have seen the additions of DE Mike DeVito, LB Akeem Jordan (who will battle with Rookie Nico Johnson for the starting spot), CBs Sean Smith and Dunta Robinson. Talented depth has been added to this team and it is a welcomed sight.
The 2013 Kansas City Chiefs schedule, I believe, is a favorable one when you consider the off-season additions (both player and coaching/front office). Again, if you want to see the entire schedule in detail this isn't the place (go here). "Schedule Details and Random Thoughts" are included too.
Kansas City is on the road to start the 2013 NFL season in Jacksonville. Starting in Week 2 they play 3 straight NFC East teams (Dallas, Philadelphia and New York). Just like Denver, Kansas City enjoys a well played Week 10 BYE.
Upon returning from their BYE, Kansas City faces 5 AFC West opponents (2 Denver, 2 San Diego and 1 Oakland) from their remaining 7 games. Kansas City will also "enjoy" a rough road test in Week 14 at Washington. Kansas City finishes with 3 of 4 games on the road.
SoS Home: 0.539/Away: 0.406
5 of the 8 Home games come before their Week 10 BYE
Kansas City will face a tougher home schedule than what they will see on the road. In my mind that is a plus, as long as Arrowhead Stadium returns to it's glory days and provides the Chiefs with the home field advantage that we know can exists. Getting the job done at home will be the key for Kansas City, they don't have to go 8-0 but they do need (and should) be able to be above .500 at home in 2013.
With a later BYE week, Kansas City also (like Denver) will have 5 home games before their bye week which could help them also head into their BYE week with a favorable record. After their BYE Kansas City needs to be on their game with 4 of 7 games on the road and 5 AFC West teams. IF they play up to their potential, the Chiefs will hold their own destiny in their hands during the end of the 2013 season.
Kansas City does get hit with a rough Week 14 - 15 schedule, traveling to Washington DC to play the Redskins and then across country to play the Raiders in Oakland. No other AFC West team will travel as much in a two week period.
- The 2012 Oakland Raiders finished 3rd in the AFC West with a record of 4-12 (2-4 within the AFC West). Oakland finished 3-5 at Home, 1-7 on the Road finishing with a Conference record of 4-8.
- In 2013 Oakland will take on opponents that collectively went 120-136-0 in 2012 for a SoS of 0.469. Oakland's schedule comes in at #4 easiest overall.
In 2012 Oakland was almost statistically as bad as Kansas City. 290 points scored and 443 points given up in 2012 obviously are not good and honestly I don't see it getting better in 2013. Oakland was only better offensively than 6 teams in the NFL and only 4 teams were worse on the defensive side of the ball.
Oakland in 2013 could be as futile as Kansas City and Jacksonville were in 2012. Oakland is obviously in the early stages of a franchise in a rebuild mode. Salary cap issues and simply poor decisions have left their roster devoid of top tier talent but has not completely wrecked the roster all together. Time will tell but this could be a long season for fans of the Silver and Black (but at least the 2014 NFL Draft is coming up).
Oakland's 2013 schedule in its full can be seen here. While this team is rebuilding it could also do just enough damage that it would play spoiler to teams that look beyond them. "Schedule Details and Random Thoughts" are after the schedule highlights.
Oakland will begin its 2013 season on the road in Indianapolis facing Andrew Luck and the Colts. The first home game of the 2013 season is also more than likely their easiest home game which will be when the Jaguars come to Oakland in Week 2. Week 3-6 will see Oakland face all three of their AFC West foes before their Week 7 BYE.
A early bye doesn't make anything easier when Oakland returns to the field in Week 8 at home against the Steelers. Rough away await Oakland when they face the Giants and Texans in Week 10 and 11. Oakland's schedule does get easier during a stretch from Week 12 - 15 but it might be too late for Oakland's season. Oakland will then finish their season at home in Week 17 against a Denver Bronco team that could be resting starters.
SoS Home: 0.406/Away: 0.531
3 of the 8 Home games come before their Week 7 BYE
I really don't see much happening in favor of the Raiders in 2013. Yeah, they could take advantage of teams overlooking them and might even be competitive in certain games, but overall I see only a few probable wins. The Oakland faithful (as much as I detest their team and history) deserve a better product on the field and to that extent, I can feel their upcoming pain.
On the bright side the franchise as a whole looks like they have the right approach to begin to fix the mistakes from the past. Bad trades, contracts and drafting procedures will not be haunting this team for much longer. A competitive Oakland Raider team will benefit the entire AFC West and is a sight that I do want to see.
- The 2012 San Diego Chargers finished 2nd in the AFC West with a record of 7-9 (4-2 within the AFC West). San Diego finished 3-5 at Home, 4-4 on the Road finishing with a Conference record of 7-5.
- In 2013 San Diego will battle with teams that collectively went 117-139-0 in 2012 for a SoS of 0.457. This is the 2nd easiest schedule in the NFL, behind Denver by 7 games.
San Diego had to endure below average play on both sides of the ball in 2012. QB Phillip Rivers had career low statistics and has been put on the "hot seat" heading in to 2013. His offense was below average while scoring 350 points total. On the other side of the ball the Charger defense also allowed a total of 350 points in 2013 which would be slightly better than average in the NFL.
San Diego may very well be relying on Rookie players to a large extent this season. OT DJ Fluker, LB Manti Te'o and San Diego's ability to find UDFAs year in and year out will be key in 2013. The veteran presence of DE Dwight Freeney and LOT Max Starks (if healthy) will be huge for San Diego both on the field and in the locker room.
Lets look at the schedule highlights (full version here). Just like the three times above, "Schedule Details and Random Thoughts" afterwards.
San Diego gets a big test right off the bat when the Texans visit in Week 1. The next 5 of 6 games can be winnable as long as the Chargers stay healthy and execute. By and large the early schedule isn't flashy but is winnable. A Week 8 BYE will help but I would imagine that a later BYE would have been warranted.
The 2nd half of the schedule is noticeably harder. The Redskins will be another big test right out of the gate after returning from the BYE in Week 9. Back to back home games against the Bengals and Giants (Week 13 and 14) might just be the vital stretch of the 2nd half. The Chargers will face 3 straight AFC West teams (last two at home) to finish the 2013 season.
SoS Home: 0.539/Away: 0.375
3 of the 8 Home games come before their Week 8 BYE
The entire season is "up in the air" at this point. Execution in large but more importantly impact from new roster additions will tell the story for the Chargers in 2013. I do believe that Phillip Rivers returns to form for the Chargers. The team has the talent to compete for a playoff spot but it is just too soon to tell.
Out of the 5 home games in the 2nd half of the schedule, only one is a "sure thing" in my opinion. If the Chargers do what to return to the playoffs they will have to do so by winning the majority of their games on the road. That practice is obviously harder that it sounds but you can see by the SoS of Home and Away games, the Chargers have the easiest road schedule of the AFC West.
WhiskeyBravo85's BOLD 2013 Predictions:
1st Place AFC West: Denver Broncos (10-6 at worst and 13-3 at best).
- Unless there is a avalanche that hits Peyton Manning and Wes Welker while they are in the midst of a snow mobile race with Von Miller and Derek Wolf (with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Quentin Jammer and Champ Bailey officiating), I don't see another AFC West team beating Denver for the AFC West title at this time.
2nd Place AFC West: Kansas City Chiefs (7-9 at worst and 12-4 at best). **WILD CARD**
- Off-season additions will put KC back into the thick of the playoff race. And they might just finish the 2013 Regular Season holding a Wild Card spot. It will be a tough job but the roster has enough veterans (new and old to KC) to deal with new schemes on both sides of the ball. And there is still a slight chance that KC could sneak in and "steal" the AFC West title from Denver if they can execute.
3rd Place AFC West: San Diego Chargers (6-10 at worst and 9-7 at best).
- The Chargers have a chance to take a Wild Card spot, but I don't think that it is a good one. Like I said earlier, the team has talent and it will just depend on how the new additions mesh and execute. Their road schedule is vital because they will be tested time and again at home.
4th Place AFC West: Oakland Raiders (0-16 at worst and 6-10 at best).
- Rebuilding year, enough said. I don't see much coming from Oakland in 2013 but again they could play well in a few contests and possibly find a team or two "napping". This season could be a long one.