Pack the RVs, start scheming for ways to get out of family events and get ready to plot your team's destiny - NFL schedule day is here. Which teams got a raw deal from the schedule gods and which teams have a favorable path in 2008?
1. Pittsburgh Steelers - Pittsburgh's '08 opponents have the highest cumulative winning percentage and the Steelers got no favors from the schedule-makers. Look at this stretch from Week 10 through Week 14: Indy, San Diego, Cincy on Thursday night, at Patriots, Cowboys. How do you keep your head up through that stretch?
2. Dallas Cowboys - Think the Cowboys will get some attention this year? They already have T.O., may get Pacman Jones and have at least five primetime games. That means they should face a lot of fired-up teams. They start with a trip to Cleveland, a Monday-nighter against Philly and a Sunday night game at Green Bay.
3. Indianapolis Colts - The Colts face their nemesis, the Patriots, on a short week after facing rival Tennessee the week before on Monday night in Week 8. After New England in Week 9, Indy heads out to Pittsburgh in Week 10 and San Diego in Week 12. Yikes. Say good-bye to homefield advantage.
1. San Diego Chargers - You'd think a West Coast team going to London would have a major problem, but the NFL helped the Chargers out. They play on the East Coast at Buffalo in Week 7 before taking off for Wembley to take on the Saints. And New Orleans loses the home game. Then San Diego gets a bye and hosts the Chiefs in Week 10. The Chargers can afford to be a little jet-lagged and still beat Kansas City. Maybe this trip will help them bond, like the Super Bowl champion Giants did last year.
2. Green Bay Packers - Assuming Aaron Rodgers is really the starting quarterback (I have to see it to believe it), the Packers don't want him starting the season against the league's toughest defenses. Green Bay starts at home against Minnesota, heads to Detroit and then hosts the Cowboys (a team Rogers already fared well against). Rodgers will have a chance to get his feet underneath him before a tough trip to Seattle in Week 6 and some other tough matchups later in the season.
3. New England Patriots - The Patriots have the easiest strength of schedule and a seemingly brutal West Coast schedule may have worked out better than it could have. They head out to San Francisco and San Diego in Week 5 and Week 6, and then go to Seattle and Oakland in Week 14 and 15. That allows Bill Belichick to stay over between either sets of those games and save one or two cross-country trips, which is huge for all those old legs on that defense. Might not happen, but it's an option for Belichick. Overall, the Pats have two scary road games on their schedule - at San Diego in Week 6 and at Indy in Week 9. Other than that, not many potential losses jump out on their schedule.
What is your reaction to the 2008 NFL schedules?