We’ve known for a while against whom the Packers would play in 2012. Last night we learned on exactly what day and at exactly what time. Yet last evening, today, and certain to continue, the talk is all about strength of schedule.
The Pack’s strength of schedule was never in doubt, heading into last night’s great reveal. The NFC North, the NFC West, the AFC South, the Saints and Giants to round it out – of each of these we were aware, and none was going to be able to improve on its 2011 tally. Granted, the order of strength is a marginally interesting examination, but all-in-all, strength of schedule is the most misleading statistic of any sport’s pre-season.
If there’s one thing we ought to have learned, especially in the NFL, strength of one’s schedule is a weekly analysis, applicable only to that week’s opponent. From 4-12 to the post-season (Bengals), division champs to the cellar (Indianpolis, Kansas City), from the bottom to the top (Houston), the NFL stakes it reputation on the adage “any given Sunday.” It’s why we keep coming back for more in the midst of rebuilding…why we pick nits in the midst of a 15-1 campaign. We understand how fleeting success (and failure) can be in today’s professional football.
Strength of schedule, at this point, carries foreshadowing potential, but it’s based on old data. This season’s injuries, winning streaks, losing streaks, short weeks, bye weeks, travel – none of these factors into the 120-136 2011 combined record by which all are attempting to project wins and losses for the 2012 Packers.
I’m all for the week-by-week projections. It’s fun. I’m not stomping out fun. I simply object to the presentation of evidence that is as old as September, 2011.