Today, Football Numbers takes a closer look at the 2014 NFL schedule. Follow the column on Twitter @nflnumbers.
The combined number of victories between the Patriots, Broncos, 49ers, and Chiefs last season. The San Diego Chargers play each of these teams in their final four games of 2014, hitting the road for the San Francisco and Kansas City games. If San Diego scrapes its way to the playoffs this season, they surely will have earned it. To make matters worse, the Chargers will have to face both Denver and Kansas City earlier in the season. Those six brutal matchups might be too much for Ron Burgundy’s team to overcome.
The number of times the Denver Broncos face a 2013 playoff team in the regular season. This includes a much-hyped Week 3 Super Bowl rematch in Seattle. The Denver faithful may not like to admit it, but the Broncos will only go as far as Peyton Manning’s arm will take them. Sure, the Broncos’ brass did some nifty work in the offseason by bolstering the defense with the additions of DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, and T.J. Ward, but expect age to finally catch-up to Manning in 2014, especially in these nine games (Peyton Manning’s Sports Injury Alert Profile).
The number of times the St. Louis Rams encounter 2013 playoffs teams in Weeks 5-12. The only time the Rams don’t face a playoff team is when they travel to Arizona, who won ten games last year and narrowly missed the playoffs. If the Rams want to have any hope of reaching the postseason, they must take care of business and win their first three games: Minnesota, at Tampa Bay, Dallas. An early Week 4 bye could bode well for the Rams, giving the team time to rest before this tough eight-game stretch.
The combined number of victories between the Jaguars, Texans, and Browns last season. The Baltimore Ravens play each of these teams in the final three weeks of the regular season. With an easier slate of games in Weeks 15-17 than any other team in the league, the Ravens are definitely a playoff contender in 2014.
The number of days that the New England Patriots go without stepping on a plane, from mid-October to mid-December. After travelling to Buffalo in Week 6, the Patriots hunker down for a three-game home stand, playing the Jets, Bears, and Broncos before their bye in Week 10. But the Pats better not get too comfy in Foxboro, as they hit the road in Week 11 for a huge AFC power matchup against the Colts.
The number of 2013 playoff teams that the Cleveland Browns face before Thanksgiving—New Orleans and Cincinnati. Even if the Browns stumble to a losing record as their Week 4 bye rolls around, they should be able to string together some wins in Weeks 7-9. They play the lowly Jaguars, Raiders, and Buccaneers in that span. Expect the Browns to hover around .500 in 2014.
The number of decibels produced by Seahawks fans at CenturyLink Field on December 2nd, 2013. This eclipsed the 137.5 decibels recorded at the Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium earlier in the season. When the Seahawks travel to Kansas City in Week 11, you can bet that the Chiefs faithful will be trying to regain their reputation as the loudest fan base in the NFL.
The number of Super Bowl XLVIII teams that the Oakland Raiders play in consecutive weeks at the beginning of November. That’s right, the Raiders must play the Seahawks and the Broncos in back-to-back weeks. Think this is the year that Oakland hits their stride in midseason and contends for the playoffs? Think again.
The number of times in a 17-day span that we get to see the 49ers and Seahawks play each other. The league’s best rivalry kicks off on Thanksgiving in Seattle, and then resumes a little over two weeks later in San Francisco. In between these two showdowns, the 49ers cross the Bay to play the Raiders, and the Seahawks travel to Philadelphia.
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