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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Patriots, Packers have easiest paths to Super Bowl XLVII

The NFL released team schedules on Tuesday and according to the strength of schedule for all 32 teams, the New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers will have the two easiest schedules for the 2012 season.

Strength of schedule really doesn’t mean so much in terms of a team’s chances of making it to the Super Bowl since it is only an indicator of how many wins a team’s combined opponents had during the regular season of the previous year. The 2009 season was proof of that.

In 2009 the New Orleans Saints had the eighth toughest schedule in the league while the Indianapolis Colts had the thirteenth toughest. The Saints went on to beat the Colts in that year’s Super Bowl.

In 2010 the Pittsburgh Steelers had the 21st hardest schedule while the Packers were tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for the 22nd toughest. The Packers would go on to win the championship that year.

And of course last season the Patriots were tied for the 15th toughest schedule with two other teams and the New York Giants were tied with three other teams for the 19th hardest. The Giants just barely qualified for the playoffs then went on a tear that ended in their second title in five years.

It is a little unusual though, to see the two teams that led each conference the previous year usually two teams as good as the Packers and Patriots don’t wind up with the easiest schedules. In 2010 and 2011 the team with the easiest schedule was the Arizona Cardinals. In 2009 it was the Chicago Bears.

And the last thing anyone wants to see is Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers get anything easy. The Patriots have only missed the playoffs twice in the past ten years and haven’t had a losing season since 2000.

While the Packers haven’t been as consistent as long as the Patriots have, they have been extremely potent offensively since Rodgers took over at quarterback. They have made the playoffs the past three years and nearly went undefeated in the regular season last year.

So if those teams can continue their torrid play in 2012 then it is possible that they could meet in the Super Bowl. Sounds just like what the schedule-makers had in mind.

Roosevelt Hall is an NFL Blogger for The Sport Mentalist and an NBA Blogger for The Sport Mentalist 2. He is also a Sports Reporter for Pro Sports Lives. He can be contacted at and be sure to follow him on Twitter @sportmentalist.

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