A couple of us got together and put together our schedule predictions for 2015. My expectation for the schedule release date is Thursday, April 23. Below are the predictions of John Hendrix from Who Dat Dish and Will Osgood of Cover 32 NFL as well as our own WhoDatTN and Patrick Elliot. We will see if we have any other brave souls out there ready to predict this season’s schedule.
There has been some research lately on disparities in the NFL schedule.
In February, a group of researchers revealed a surprising level of systemic disparity in the NFL’s yearly game schedule. They presented their paper at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, most notably identifying long-term inequities in matchups between teams with dissimilar rest, and soon found — believe it or not — that the NFL wanted to compare notes . . .
To be fair, anecdotal schedule inequities have helped evolve the NFL’s schedule release into a day of national hysteria. In 2014, for example, we saw the New Orleans Saints play four games in five weeks against teams coming off either their bye week or a Thursday night game. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had only four home games in a 13-week window, losing 10 of 12. The Baltimore Ravens, on the other hand, played only one divisional game in the strong AFC North after Week 9. They went 4-2 after that point and earned a wild-card playoff bid . . .
We typically dismiss such disparities with the expectation that they even out over time. But when the Buffalo Bills complained publicly about concerns in their 2013 schedule, Kurt and Karwan teamed with Ph.d. candidate Niraj Kumar Pandey and student Kyle Cunningham to investigate. They emerged with a startling discovery: The league’s schedule formula did not correct for the disparities, leaving some teams to absorb significantly more competitive disadvantage than others.
Well, bully for the researchers! We found data can be king when it comes to aligning facts with perception as we may well remember when researchers failed to find a correlation between the locker room hyperbole of the Saints and incidents on the field in Bountygate. Jon Vilma’s attorney used this study at trial.
2015 New Orleans Saints Schedule Prediction