When the schedule came out yesterday and even the day before when I posted the so-called strength of schedule chart, many of you wondered angrily how it is the NFL can possibly allow the New England Patriots to have the easiest schedule in the NFL.
Well, it didn't take my co-host Chris Perkins very long to have an answer.
"Look inward," he said.
What he meant is the Patriots get an easier schedule basically because they get to play the Dolphins twice a year. And the Dolphins are not a very good team.
The Dolphins, meanwhile, play a harder schedule despite finishing lower in the standings because they have to play the Patriots twice a year. And the Patriots are a very good team.
Simple as that.
Based on 2011 opponents' records, the Patriots will face teams that compiled a 116-140 record. Based on the same criteria, the Dolphins will face teams that compiled a 127-129 record in 2011.
That's an 11-game difference.
But the truth is in two of those games the Patriots line up against the 6-10 Dolphins. While in two of those games the Dolphins line up against the 13-3 Patriots.
So in those two games alone the Patriots are facing a team that adds 12 wins and 20 losses to their combined strength of schedule figure. The Dolphins in those two games face a team that adds 26 wins and only six losses to their strength of schedule figure.
So the Pats are plus-20 on Miami's strength of schedule. And the Dolphins are a minus-8 to New England's. The difference is HUGE -- a 28-game difference. That more than accounts for the 11-game gap between Miami's total opponents' records of 127-129 and New England's total opponents'' records of 226-140.
Think of it this way: The Patriots have an easier schedule because they play a poor Miami team. And the Dolphins have a harder schedule because they play the AFC Champion. And the teams play twice.