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View Full Version : Is having a difficult schedule really that advantageous?


chad72
04-16-2008, 10:59 AM
While having a difficult schedule gets you good games before the playoffs, it also has a lot of drawbacks, starting with injuries, especially in our division playing physical defenses like the Jags, Titans, and Texans too. The Pats proved that they are a good team by beating the Cowboys, Colts, Giants, and Steelers last year though the rest of their schedule was not up to par with that of the Colts.

Doesn't having an easier schedule for a quality team like the Colts actually help by keeping them more healthy and enabling them to save the best for the elite teams during the regular season and the best health for the playoffs? We all know health matters a lot in the playoffs. The playoffs, everyone starts at 0-0 anyway, whether you play a tough or easier schedule. Winning in the playoffs, IMO, is not aided by the difficulty of your schedule but depends purely on how well you are prepared for close game situations and the physicality of playoff football with good health. The Pats had enough close games in the regular season though they went 16-0, you can have an easy schedule on paper that can produce close games as well.

For some reason, I cannot buy into the fact that having a difficult schedule is going to make you better for playoff football. In the playoffs, it is still who plays the best for 60 min. and good teams find a way to step it up. Health, more than anything, is important for playoff football and having a difficult schedule facing more physical defenses actually reduces your chances for good health entering the playoffs, IMO.


Your thoughts??

Geo
04-16-2008, 11:15 AM
I think having to win close, tough games in the season can help prepare you to win potentially close, tough games in the playoffs. Is it right or wrong? Who can say really.

Did those close games in the 2006 season manifest in the playoff game at Baltimore or 2006 AFCCG against the Pats? I can remember watching the 2005 game against the Chargers when the undefeated streak ended, and during that game I thought the Colts looked unprepared to make great decisions under physical duress, because of how they dominated their opponents before hand. And maybe we saw it in the Steelers playoff game a few weeks later, although it's hard to judge how things were exactly given the situation with Coach Dungy's son and how that potentially derailed the team, but certainly the Colts showed similar signs of not consistently making great decisions and execution under duress and pressure that's almost choking. They did in 2006, in near-choking pressure, they performed except for maybe a drive in Dallas and a drive in Tennessee.

2007? Well, the Colts took care of business in a lot of games, and then games became closer as the injuries mounted. One could point to the game in San Diego, but injuries at receiver and special teams might be more apt to blame. Close wins over Kansas City and Oakland might have been a sign of worry, early struggles against the Panthers and Falcons, but the team eventually got it together in those games and won them in the end.

Did the Colts offense being very sharp late in the year against Jacksonville to win the game, as Garrard and their offense moved the ball well, and later Houston help them prepare to attack the Chargers pass defense (which they did very well but miscues cost them 3 field goals)? Could be.

chad72
04-16-2008, 12:00 PM
We had 2 one point wins against the Titans and Bills in 2006. We beat Denver by 3 at Denver, the Pats by 7 at NE, the Jags by 7 at home, at NY over Giants by 5 (Manning bowl), at NY over Jets by 3, closed the season against Miami winning by 5. We lost 2 games by FGs at Tenn and Houston and 1 game at Dallas by 7. We were in almost every game that we won or lost except for the Jags game blowout where we never showed up.

I think close games are more important than a difficult schedule on paper.

Another thing that happened that I do not remember happening any other time except our SB winning season - 8-0 at home. Correct me if I am wrong, I think that was the first time we went 8-0 at home in the Manning era. And we won the SB.

So, I think we have the secret formula:) , go 8-0 at home, win most of your games by 7 points or less (if that happens, the Cardiac Colts will give us fans heart attacks) and every game you lose, lose by 7 pts or less as well (maybe throw in a blowout, that is OK), be disrespected though you have some momentum going into the playoffs, and no first round bye (most likely to happen with NE and SD schedules this year).

Geo
04-16-2008, 12:10 PM
More than just the close scores was how the offense produced drives late in the game, many times game-winning or game-tying drives. And they had the pressure around their necks of having to perform because of the awful run defense, and they executed in the face of that pressure. And there were times when the defense had to hold on and make one final stop.

I think the experience of last year could have a similar effect as 2005 did for the 2006 team, to fuel that fire to win a championship.

tylerb929
04-16-2008, 05:50 PM
More importantly, a tough schedule means we will more than likely have to actually play to win in week 16 and 17, and we all know that the Colts can collect some rust when they take those weeks off.

Crickett
04-16-2008, 05:59 PM
While having a difficult schedule gets you good games before the playoffs, it also has a lot of drawbacks, starting with injuries, especially in our division playing physical defenses like the Jags, Titans, and Texans too. The Pats proved that they are a good team by beating the Cowboys, Colts, Giants, and Steelers last year though the rest of their schedule was not up to par with that of the Colts.

Doesn't having an easier schedule for a quality team like the Colts actually help by keeping them more healthy and enabling them to save the best for the elite teams during the regular season and the best health for the playoffs? We all know health matters a lot in the playoffs. The playoffs, everyone starts at 0-0 anyway, whether you play a tough or easier schedule. Winning in the playoffs, IMO, is not aided by the difficulty of your schedule but depends purely on how well you are prepared for close game situations and the physicality of playoff football with good health. The Pats had enough close games in the regular season though they went 16-0, you can have an easy schedule on paper that can produce close games as well.

For some reason, I cannot buy into the fact that having a difficult schedule is going to make you better for playoff football. In the playoffs, it is still who plays the best for 60 min. and good teams find a way to step it up. Health, more than anything, is important for playoff football and having a difficult schedule facing more physical defenses actually reduces your chances for good health entering the playoffs, IMO.


Your thoughts??

I think you need to take a second look at the teams the Patriots played again.

Between the regular season, and the playoffs leading up to the Superbowl, how many winning teams in the NFL DIDN'T the New England Patriots beat?

Oh, and since I just saw the "our schedule", I can assume you're a Colts fan. And a homer.

Geo
04-16-2008, 06:33 PM
The Pats played more teams with losing/sub-.500 records last season (8) than the Colts did (7). But the 2007 season is over, so who really cares.

One good quirk for this season's schedule: the Colts play five 3-4 defenses on the schedule this year, with New England, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, San Diego, and Baltimore. Excellent preparation imo.

With those teams and the Minnesota Vikings, and can probably include the Packers' big defensive line rotation too, the Colts will probably have to depend on the passing game moreso than the running game. Curb expectations on Joseph Addai fantasy-wise, but this stresses the need for future HOFer Marvin Harrison to be healthy and ready to go for another title.

chad72
04-17-2008, 09:00 AM
Oh, and since I just saw the "our schedule", I can assume you're a Colts fan.

That has got to qualify as the grand statement of the obvious;) .

Like Geo said, who cares about 2007, the Pats didn't win the SB just like the Colts, and that is the only ultimate concern of us fans, no matter what the schedule.

D.Evans
04-17-2008, 09:18 AM
I dont think the schedule matters either way...if anything it is 17 weeks until we starting busting heads in the playoffs. Every year to me, it seems that serval players for us step up and show us that they can be a potential starter on any team in this league. We had the same thing happen this year in the playoffs even though we lost. If anything, we are going to work in the two-back system again as Kenton keith showed some potential last year. Having a tough schedule is always fun for us fans to watch and even more for us to brag about when we hoist up the lombardi trophy

Dam8610
04-18-2008, 04:45 PM
I think having to win close, tough games in the season can help prepare you to win potentially close, tough games in the playoffs. Is it right or wrong? Who can say really.

One need only look at the 2005 Colts (IMO the best Colts team talent wise of the past few years, championship team included) to see the answer to that question. The 05 team STOMPED the competition the first 14 weeks and became the only team in NFL history to win their first 13 games by 7+ points. Then the postseason rolled around, and, while I think rust played a HUGE factor, that team got into a close game, and wound up losing to a team they'd rolled over a few weeks before (thanks Vandershank).

Did those close games in the 2006 season manifest in the playoff game at Baltimore or 2006 AFCCG against the Pats?

The absence of Vandershank and presence of 4 manifested in Baltimore. The better quarterback (along with the future DPOY) manifested in the AFC Championship Game.

I can remember watching the 2005 game against the Chargers when the undefeated streak ended, and during that game I thought the Colts looked unprepared to make great decisions under physical duress, because of how they dominated their opponents before hand. And maybe we saw it in the Steelers playoff game a few weeks later, although it's hard to judge how things were exactly given the situation with Coach Dungy's son and how that potentially derailed the team, but certainly the Colts showed similar signs of not consistently making great decisions and execution under duress and pressure that's almost choking.

I don't think judging that team on the Chargers game even then would be a fair assessment as they had 3 starters on defense (Corey Simon, Bob Sanders, and I think Cato June, someone correct me if I'm wrong on that last one) that in a postseason game would've played sitting on the sidelines with minor injuries. They wound up making bad offensive playcalling decisions throughout the Steelers game (seriously, NO short dumpoffs facing zone blitz after zone blitz?), but even with that, the rust on both sides of the ball, and the potential emotional effects of Coach Dungy's situation, the Colts were still only a Vandershank (yes, it's a noun AND a verb) away from the AFC Championship Game against the Broncos, who, as we all know, the Colts OWN.

They did in 2006, in near-choking pressure, they performed except for maybe a drive in Dallas and a drive in Tennessee.

Both defensive situations, and as we all know, the defense was the main problem for most of that season. Peyton might've had his best year in 2006 though, and IMO should've won MVP that year.

2007? Well, the Colts took care of business in a lot of games, and then games became closer as the injuries mounted. One could point to the game in San Diego, but injuries at receiver and special teams might be more apt to blame.

WR? Missing Freeney and having a hobbled Mathis were 95-100% of why the Colts lost in the postseason. Yes, they had key redzone turnovers, but both Philip Rivers and Billy Volek consistently had 5-6 (if not more) seconds to throw in that game, and the one time Rivers saw an all-out blitz, he rushed his throw resulting in an incompletion (which begs the question, why didn't the Colts blitz more in the game?). Tomlinson was held in check when he was in, and all-in-all, the Chargers run game was shut down. With the 24 points the offense put up (WITH 2 or 3 redzone turnovers), that would've been enough if the defense could've gotten to the QB.

Close wins over Kansas City and Oakland might have been a sign of worry, early struggles against the Panthers and Falcons, but the team eventually got it together in those games and won them in the end.

The KC game is the type of close fought battle a championship team wins. If anything, that game should've been seen as a good sign. I don't remember ever being worried against the Raiders, Panthers, or Falcons (yes, even when it was 14-0 Falcons). You could even throw the Broncos game in the "bad start" category.

Dam8610
04-18-2008, 05:13 PM
I dont think the schedule matters either way...if anything it is 17 weeks until we starting busting heads in the playoffs.

Seeing this statement over and over just makes me think how spoiled we as fans have been over the past few years. I just hope it continues.