The Apple Report: Breaking Down The NFL Schedule

In depth look at the NFL Schedule

The Apple Report: Analyzing The NFL Schedule


I was sitting at my all too enthralling job on Thursday, when the word came out that the new NFL schedule had been announced. I scanned the internet and found a glutton of articles all pertaining to the 17 weeks of pure heaven that is the NATIONAL…FOOTBALL… LEAGUE….DA DA DA DUM.


It was beautiful. The articles brought tears of joy to my eyes. The weekly schedule, Nationally-televised schedule, team-by-team schedule, Monday Night schedule…they all threatened to pull my focus completely from the mundane world that is my day job. All I wanted to do was research and write the damn article. But I couldn't. Every time I started, the eerie footsteps of my boss drew toward my door dooming my goal.


Alas, I couldn't even begin to look at the schedule until Sunday because the parental units traveled from the Burgh to visit Apple. I spent most of my time with them in their hotel in Times Square. I spent the weekend watching "The Full Monty" on Broadway (Best Damn Musical I Have Ever Seen), "The Rookie" (Best Baseball Movie Since "Field Of Dreams.") and the Final Four (Maryland will win).


Finally, while the parents and sister slept Saturday night, I got the chance to review the schedule in-depth. I subsequently passed out in the middle of week 9. I woke up on the Denver team schedule. Ironically, I had drooled all over the Cowboys first three weeks, which completely blurred out the words. I printed out a new Dallas schedule and went to bed.


I awoke Sunday morning, bid the Ma, Pa and Sis Apple goodbye. And while they trekked through villainous Eagle Country to the safe haven of Stiller Country, I began my work.


I'll start with the Steelers first. I mean, come on, you didn't think I'd keep you waiting did I?


So how does the schedule look? Well, I think the Steelers got off on easy street compared to some other playoff teams. I mean how can you come off a 13-3 record and still get to play Houston, Carolina and Atlanta all at home?


But, it's never that easy is it? The schedule has its obstacles and the first two games present a very difficult (granted winnable) opening.. Sure, we may be destined to lose the opening game at New England. Not only does Cowher never have the troops ready to play opening week, but the Patriots are unveiling their new stadium. But, on the other hand the game is on National Television, where Cowher always has the troops ready. The best symbol of this game is attune to making crepes: you either succeed like a champ or you fail miserably. There is no in between.


Then we travel home to play the Oakland Raiders. This game will be fierce and will also be on National Television.


As I said before, both games are winnable, but it will still be way to early to gauge what type of team we've got. The mid-season stretch from Oct. 27 – Dec. 1 will truly determine the fate of the Black and Gold.


Oct 27

at Baltimore

1:00 PM

Nov 3

at Cleveland

1:00 PM

Nov 10


1:00 PM

Nov 17

at Tennessee

1:00 PM

Nov 24


1:00 PM

Dec 1

at Jacksonville

1:00 PM



This is a really tough stretch and anyone who thinks otherwise needs a reality check. Jacksonville, Baltimore and even Tennessee may not be what they used to be, but they will all have major scores to settle. We also have to play at Cleveland where we barely made it out alive last year. Granted we have a breather at home against Atlanta and Cincy, but I didn't say this part of the schedule was murder, just very tough.


There is no reason to fret, however, if the Steelers can come out of that stretch at least 7 – 5, then things are looking very bright indeed. We finish out the season downhill with Houston, Carolina and Baltimore all at home. Throw in a winnable Monday Night match-up at Tampa and we've got the looks of a 10 – 12 win season.


My early predictions (subject to change as always) are:


Wins (11): Oakland, at Cleveland, Baltimore (2), Atlanta, Houston, Carolina, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, at Jacksonville at New Orleans.


Losses (5): at New England, Cleveland, at Cincinnati, at Tennessee, at Tampa


Looking at the NFL schedule further, there are a plethora of great match-ups that I won't miss unless the Girl Apple has got better reasons. To help you generate your own list when negotiating the football season with your woman (or man), I've got a few rules.

  1. If Houston, Carolina, Atlanta or Arizona are playing immediately disqualify the match.
  2. Playoff rematches should be give serious consideration.
  3. Championship and Super Bowl rematches are automatic.
  4. If a team has purged due to Salary Cap issues, don't bother (i.e. Jacksonville, Baltimore).
  5. Old-Time rivalries are great to watch when given a chance.
  6. Less consideration should always be given to teams coming off of disappointing years. (NY Giants, Tennessee, Minnesota)
  7. Teams with major coaching changes are must watches (Oakland, Tampa, Indianapolis)
  8. Never, ever, ever pick a St. Louis game at home when they are playing any non-playoff team from the previous year.
  9. Perennial rematches are usually automatic, but not always automatic.
  10. Don't be afraid of 1:00 games with 3rd-4th team announcers. They can sometimes get a jewel of game by the stupidity of the television networks. (I call this the NY Jets Rule because CBS intended on giving the Jets so much undeserved national exposure)


Apple's List

Week 1: Pittsburgh at New England – AFC Championship Rematch


Week 2: Oakland at Pittsburgh – Old-time Rivalry between playoff-caliber teams


Week 3: St. Louis at Tampa Bay – Every year this game is a classic


Week 4: Tennessee at Oakland – We'll know by now if last year was an aberration for the Titans


Week 5: Green Bay at Chicago – Another great Old-time Rivalry


Week 6: Green Bay at New England – Last year, The Pack trounced the previous defending champs. Can they do it again?


Week 7: Tampa Bay at Philadelphia – Playoff rematch


Week 8: NY Giants at Philadelphia – Played to two great games last year.


Week 9: Pittsburgh at Cleveland – Yet another classic rivalry. Should go a long way in determining the AFC North champ


Week 10: Miami at NY Jets – Will Miami ever beat Gang Green again?


Week 11: Chicago at St. Louis – The playoff game we all thought we'd see


Week 12: St. Louis at Washington – Big Steve came to the NFL because he watched the Rams with envy


Week 13: St. Louis at Philadelphia – NFC Championship Rematch


Week 14: San Francisco at Dallas – Used to be the marquee game of the year and is always fun to watch. Plays Dave Campo's boys have a ton of heart.


Week 15: Oakland at Miami – Should be a game with playoff implications


Week 16 Denver at Oakland – Al Davis got his revenge last year, will it continue?


Week 17: St. Louis at San Francisco – What a way to end the season on Monday Night


In some final thoughts while looking at the Team by Team schedule, Carolina and Kansas City seem like the abused step-children of the NFL. The Panthers won 1 game last year yet they play at Cleveland, at Pittsburgh, Chicago, and at Green Bay while getting Tampa and New Orleans twice. This may not seem like much, but 4 playoff-caliber teams in the non-division schedule following a 1-win season is pure murder.


Kansas City, which by far has the hardest schedule, has to deal with their division rivals twice (Oakland and Denver) and still must play, at Cleveland, at New England, at NY Jets, Miami, at Seattle, at San Francisco and St. Louis. Wow, it's going to suck to be a Chiefs fan next year.



Go Steelers!!!!


Written By

Still Apple

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