2023 Schedule comments

On Thursday the NFL released the 2023 schedule. A few miscellaneous thoughts..

1. At the end of the day, does the schedule itself really matter? As a test of that, does any team look back more than a single year and say- “well, the results that year reflected a hard (/soft) schedule”.. ? No. When we are in 2026, none of us will really care about what the schedule was in 2023. All we will remember is the record, and even there, many won’t remember the results either unless it was particularly good or bad year.

2. 2022 was a soft schedule. 2023 is a hard schedule. It is what it is. That’s going to be a function of which divisions you were rotated into and out of. As an example, last season the Giants played TEN JAC HOU and IND. The Gmen could have easily (easily!) been 2-2 but they squeaked out two close wins and finished 4-0. This year they play the AFC East, and confront the brutal facts- all 4 games vs BUF MIA NYJ and NE will not be easy.

3. So much of this schedule over-analysis is Jim Fassel’s “it’s not who you play but when you play them.” The Dolphins with Tua are 23-13, and without him they are 5-9. Last season they were 1-3 without Tua, with the lone win an 11-6 victory over the QB-less Jets. Given his concussion history, the Dolphins game is going to be a lot about whether they have a QB.

4. Many people assume the Giants can beat the Jets. The Jets had an excellent defense last season that was worn down by a putrid Offense that kept the Defense on the field. The addition of Rodgers (older but still competitive) completely changes the outlook for that game. The Giants are “home” and still +1.5 point underdogs.

5. Speaking of betting lines, in the hyper competitiveness of national gambling sites, they now have lines available for every game the entire season. It’s a blizzard of betting bounties. This to me is where the information is, because we have an objective assessment driven by monetary commerce of what the true handicapped outlook is for each game. People have figured out that it’s far more agnostic and grounded to use these assessments for what each team’s (strength of) schedule is. We’ll remind the reader here that this NY Giants blog was using opposing team’s Over/Under implied strength as a method of making a preseason forecast before it became fashionable to lean on Vegas for insight. All it does is remind the Giants fan wearing blue-colored glasses that 2 teams show up each week doing whatever they can to win.

6. I like that the Giants will be able to spend the Sunday-Thursday out west and save themselves a transcontinental trip. It won’t make the game vs SF any easier, but I actually like that the Giants are only +4.5 pt dogs. I have a lot of respect for SF, so the bettors have a lot of respect for the Giants.

7. The Giants are only favored in 7 out of 17 games this season. That’s reason enough to be sober about 2023. BUT….

8. If we aggregate any game this season where the Giants are [[+4.5 dogs to -4.5 favs]], there are fully FIFTEEN games out of 17 on the schedule in that range. So what does that say? Everyone can bitch and moan all they want about a tough schedule, but I’ll take Daboll as my head coach plus Schoen as my GM (who is finally getting out of Gettleman’s cap-inflicted hell) and feel pretty good about any of those games as possible wins. Not probable. Possible. Schoen is methodically assembling a competitive roster. Daboll, Kafka, Martindale and staff make their team competitive each week. If they can address the injuries (new turf?) with a healthier roster, all 15 games are up for grabs. Given that the Giants beat teams that were ~touchdown favs last year, it also means that the 2 games they are +7 right now (at BUF, at PHL) are not completely out of reach either.

9. Play the games. The schedule is the schedule. The Giant divisional foes have 14 of the 17 overlapping games, so it’s not worth focusing too much on schedule noise.

Nothing is handed to anybody. My entire team outlook changes based on the trajectory of Evan Neal in his second season. This post wasn’t intended to be a preseason forecast. Nor is it. Training camp. Injuries. Which rookies are flashing. There are still so many cards to turn over before Sunday night vs Dallas at Met Life.

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