Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Schedule Breakdown - 4th Quarter

by: Chris Sullivan

I mentioned yesterday that one of the better ways to break down the schedule is to do it quarter-by-quarter. Here's the last bit:

Sun, Dec. 13 - at Houston Texans, 10 AM
Sun, Dec. 20 - vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1:15 PM
Sun, Dec. 27 - at Green Bay Packers, 10 AM
Sun, Jan. 3 - vs. Tennessee Titans, 1:15 PM

Based on the teams we're playing here, this could actually turn out to be the toughest leg of our schedule. Playing in Houston at 10 AM is very difficult and it was at this point last year that I believe the disappointing Texans were sort of hitting their stride. We could win over this likely-mediocre team, but I can't work on that assumption. 7-6

Tampa Bay at home should be a victory as the team is clearly in a rebuilding year and most of their new key cogs are going to take a year or two to learn Raheem Morris' new systems. How can Tampa not play a Tampa 2? We're going to find out. Hawks win, unless we stink or they're surprisingly good. 8-6

At Green Bay in the winter -- didn't we do this a couple years ago? Well, yes, but they were a much different team and so were we. This is Aaron Rodger's make-or-break season, methinks, and we'll have to assess this one later on. Based on a) the weather, b) the start time, and c) the weather I say the Hawks lose, but that's also to build drama! 8-7.

Week 17 is the home closer against the Tennessee Titans. I like the Titans, but they have lost a lot of important players this season, chief among them Albert Haynesworth. That's not a guy you replace in the draft, and they haven't found anyone close to him in free agency. The Titans will fall off considerably from last year, but assuming they've got a quarterback (a big assumption to make) they should still be in the 9-6/10-5 range and likely have a wild card berth wrapped up, barring a super-parity situation like we saw last year. I think the Hawks win in that scenario because the Hawks have more on the line. A 9-7 season in the NFC West is a playoff berth.

Now, of course, I think there's a very good chance that things don't go this way. In fact, if they do, I'll probably pee myself. Realistically, with this schedule I put the Hawks at somewhere between 7-9 and 11-5. The NFL is impossible to predict (as we learned last year), so I'll just keep hoping for some surprises. Speculation is fun, and its nice to not be obsessed with the draft.

Where do you guys peg the Hawks, given the schedule? ~END~