Originally Posted by Cedric
Peyton and the Colts have had possibly the easiest schedule I could ever remember. Add in the misery of the pass defenses of the squads they have played and it's even more clear. The ONE good defense he went against (Jacksonville) he went 13-28 with no touchdowns and one interception at HOME. Carson went 22-33 with two touchdowns and no interceptions @ Jacksonville.
Ravens? Steelers? They've got pretty good defenses.
What was the net result of that Bengals game against Jacksonville? Oh yeah, they lost. What's Herman Edwards always say - "You play to win the game"?
Peyton Manning used put up all kinds of gaudy numbers back when he had to score 40 every game to win because the Colts defense stunk. It was fun to watch but it they couldn't get to the Super Bowl doing that. Now that Manning has a defense that can contribute, he can take advantage of teams dropping eight and daring the Colts to run on them. Edgerrin James, in a contract year, has to be delighted with how things worked out.
Don't get me wrong - the Bengals are a good team right now, and if they keep that nucleus of offense together, eventually Marvin Lewis will turn the defense around, and Bengals fans will be celebrating a great team in a couple years. The Bengals remind me of where the Colts were in 2002 - which isn't a bad place to be.
IIRC when it comes to the schedule, it's relatively set based on performance the previous year - if you're a first place team, you play the other first place teams in your conference (Pittsburgh, New England, San Diego), a selected opposite conference (NFC West), and home/away against your own division. Second place teams get second place teams, etc.
For reference, the Bengals got the NFC North. While that's a tougher division now, the Bengals got Chicago and Minnesota early in the year before those teams got going, when the talk around the NFL was about how the NFC North looked to be the worst divison in the NFL.
The Colts have played all the AFC playoff contenders save Denver & Kansas City and they'll play the top team in the NFC in a few weeks. And the Colts played the entire AFC North and went 4-0 against them, also.