Honestly, who else deserves the weakest schedule in the NFL more than the team that just completed the first 16-0 regular season in history. I understand that the mechanics here do not involve some sort of conspiracy by the NFL to make Bill Simmons happy every weekend. The Patriots play in a division that includes the 1-15 Dolphins and 4-12 Jets, so their opponents' winning percentage is weighted down significantly. They are also scheduled to play the AFC West and NFC West this year, both of which are full of teams that had bad 2007 seasons. So add four games against the Jets and Dolphins to games against the Raiders (4-12), Chiefs (4-12), 49ers (5-11), and Rams (3-13) and fully half of the Patriots' schedule is against teams that were terrible in 2007. This isn't the fault of the Pats or anything, but it at least ought to prevent their backers in the media from whining next fall. Their weak schedule also illustrates the maxim that the NFL barely weights the schedules of its teams any more, so it attributing success to a "last-place schedule" or failure to a "first-place schedule" is a total misnomer now. Finally, the Pats' schedule as compared to that of the Colts illustrates the significant advantage that the Pats have in that their division is much weaker than the AFC South, so they start the year with a leg up in terms of getting homefield advantage in the playoffs.
And while we're on the subject of the NFL, I was decidedly unimpressed by the interview I heard with Mike Mularkey on the radio this morning. After two decades of watching Michigan football, suffice it to say that I'm not overly enthusiastic when I hear an offensive coordinator whose philosophy is based on "imposing our will on the opponent" and "being more physical." Maybe I'm reading too much into these remarks, but it seems to me to foretell a fall of lots of running between the tackles to show that our members are bigger than those of our opponents. This is all fine and good when you're Dirk Diggler (read: Michigan or USC in the 70s when they had 150 players on their rosters and could monopolize talent), but it doesn't work in college football today and it certainly doesn't work in the NFL. As Der Wife said this morning, the Falcons really don't have the big wiener.