Monday, January 12, 2009

The year in review, at a glance

I had an idea while spending more than three hours to drive about 100 miles through the snow from Toronto to Buffalo Saturday night after covering the lacrosse game there. Heck, you gotta think about something while crawling along the QEW at 30 miles per hour.

Start with the premise that a 16-game schedule isn't the best way of determining a team's relative strength, because it's such a small sample size. Let's take a look at the Bills' season in order of the records of the teams they played, and how they did against them:

Denver - 8-8
San Diego - 8-8
Jacksonville - 5-11
Oakland - 5-11
Seattle - 4-12
St. Louis - 2-14
Kansas City - 2-14
Combined: 34-78

New England - 11-5
New England - 11-5
Miami - 11-5
Miami - 11-5
Arizona - 9-7
N.Y. Jets - 9-7
N.Y. Jets - 9-7
San Francisco - 7-9
Cleveland - 4-12

Combined: 86-62

The divisional rivals get counted twice because they played them twice. What jumps off the page when you look at the Bills' season this way?

Yes, they didn't beat a team that had a winning record all year. They also played six, count them, six teams that lost at least 10 games each. And San Francisco wasn't exactly a powerhouse either.

As 7-9 seasons go, and the Bills have gotten really good at that particular record (three in a row), this looks like a terribly soft one. You play teams that lose 10 times, you ought to win about all of them. Heck, you beat those six teams, split the rest, and finish 10-6. That might not be a playoff team, at least this year, but it looks like a good-sized step forward.

In other words, the Bills had what has to be considered a terribly weak schedule in 2008, and they didn't capitalize on it. They can't be that lucky in scheduling next year, in all probability. If you are counting on improvement in 2009, it seems like Buffalo is going to have to be a much better team just to tread water at 7-9 again.


Becky said...

Beating someone in our division would be a step in the right direction. Failure to do so this past season earned them extra demerits.

Glenn Locke, The Tall Thin Guy said...

Should we have hope, or be pissed, that the Dolphins and Jets were the 2 worst teams in the league last year, and beat the Bills twice each this year and were much better teams.

I'm guessing they go 7-9 next year.