Woody Paige: Broncos face a brutal schedule in 2012
By Woody Paige - The Denver Post - Posted: 02/10/2012 01:00:00 AM MST
Ringo Starr had it rationally, if not grammatically, right. It don't come easy.
Based on their opponents' records and accomplishments, the Broncos will have the second-toughest NFL schedule in 2012.
The Giants have the hardest schedule — slightly.
Both the Broncos and the Giants will play seven teams that reached the playoffs this past season. Five of those teams won their divisions.
A convincing argument could be made, sitting here in February, that the Broncos' schedule is more difficult than the Giants'. The Broncos have to play the other Super Bowl team, the Patriots — in Foxborough, Mass., where the Broncos were beaten like a borrowed donkey in a second-round playoff game.
The Giants aren't scheduled to meet the Patriots again, unless it's in the Super Bowl. But, since 2005, the Super Bowl champions haven't won a playoff game the next season (0-4), and twice the Steelers didn't even get to the postseason.
The Giants' adversaries in 2012 (including home-and-home games with the Eagles, the Redskins and the Cowboys) compiled a cumulative 140-116 record in 2011. The Giants will play 11 games against teams that finished .500 or better.
The Broncos' opponents were a shade behind, with a 139-117 record overall. The Broncos' schedule also includes 11 games with teams that were at least 8-8.
It will be suggested that the Giants (9-7) compete in a stronger division — the NFC East — and I wouldn't disagree. But the Eagles and the Cowboys lagged at 8-8, and Mike Shanahan's Redskins crawled in at 5-11. Three of the AFC West teams — the Broncos, the Chargers and the Raiders — tied at 8-8, and the Chiefs, with that victory in Denver the final Sunday, were only a game back at 7-9.
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