I was just pouring over the #'s a bit. And looking at Net Pts is often a good indication of a teams general record. I wanted to get a sense of what this team would look like if they could simply just get back to normal on offense which I believe they can, coupled with the improvement from the defensive side of the ball that I feel they began to achieve.
A general rule of thumb for Net Pts is:
-200+ Epically awful regardless of season
-100+ is one of the worst teams that season
- 50+ below avg.
0 is around .500
+ 50+ is a good and likely playoff team
+100+ is one of the best teams that season
+200+ Epically good regardless of season
+300+ Once in a lifetime ('07 Pats)
Here's their rundown in this decade:
2000: 185 PF - 359 PA, Net Pts. -174, Record 4-12
2001: 226 PF - 309 PA, Net Pts. - 83, Record 6-10
2002: 279 PF - 456 PA, Net Pts. -177, Record 2-14
2003: 346 PF - 384 PA, Net Pts. - 38, Record 8-8 (Marvin's 1st Season)
2004: 374 PF - 372 PA, Net Pts. + 2, Record 8-8
2005: 421 PF - 350 PA, Net Pts. + 71, Record 11-5
2006: 373 PF - 331 PA, Net Pts. + 42, Record 8-8
2007: 380 PF - 385 PA, Net Pts. - 5, Record 7-9
2008: 204 PF - 364 PA, Net Pts. -160, Record 4-11-1
1st 8 games of '08 27.15 Pts. a game and a total of 217 pts.
last 8 games of '08 18.38 Pts. a game and a total of 147 pts. (x2 = 296 PA)
We seen that defense improve and the only time they gave up big points in the 2nd half of the season is when the offense couldn't move the ball (Pitt, Balt, Indy all games that were within 11 pts. at the half). Give the defense back some very important players (Rivers, Joseph, Odom, Geathers, Ndukwe) that help with a pass rush of some sort and that defense could get even better. I don't believe it's a stretch at all to believe we will finally see a sub 300 PA column and that might be being a bit pessimistic.
So if the offense can get back close to what they were, coupled with a lighter schedule and we are back in the playoffs next year IMO. Some food for thought.