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Old 04-20-2017, 10:16 PM
 
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Pats play five of their final six games inside the division.

Falcons also play five of their final six games inside the division including their final four all inside the division.

Of course it follows that some of the other AFC East and NFC South teams would also likely play a lot of division games to end the season.

Bills 4 of final 5
Dolphins 4 of final 6
And oddly enough the Jets have only one divisional game in their final seven games.

Saints 4 of final 5
Bucs 4 of final 6 including final 3 all inside division

I'm inclined to think that the Bills, Dolphins, Saints and Bucs back loaded schedule has nothing to do with those individual teams and everything to do with the Pats and Falcons. Just not sure why the NFL decided to back load the schedules so much. Is their wish to keep the Pats and Falcons from mathematically clinching the division for as long as possible? Is this a one year thing or will we see this more now with the reigning conference champions? Last year Denver and Carolina only played 3 of their final 6 and 2 of their final 6 inside the division respectively.

We've seen more divisional games back loaded into schedules in the recent years but usually it's maybe a rare three straight to end the season or four of a teams final five. But four straight and five of their final six? I'm not sure we have ever seen that.
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Old 04-21-2017, 10:15 PM
 
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I'm the only one who finds this interesting?

Anyone know if a team has ever played four straight divisional games to end the season? Or five out of six?
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Old 04-22-2017, 08:34 AM
 
Location: Two Rivers, Wisconsin
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To end the season last year Packers had 6 out of 7 games within the NFC and 3 divisional games in a row to end the year.

More than 3 seems unusual to me. Packers last game is at Ford Field again, the week before Vikings come to Lambeau, Bears aren't included in their final 3, Panthers are this time. I don't think Bears will be division contenders.
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Old 04-23-2017, 06:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill the Butcher View Post
I'm the only one who finds this interesting?

Anyone know if a team has ever played four straight divisional games to end the season? Or five out of six?
I think it is an interesting scheduling quirk that I haven't seen mentioned before, more attention seems to be paid to the Pats playing 5 of 6 games on the road from Nov 12 to December 17...just one home game

That being said, Pats still have to be the favorites to represent the AFC again in the Super Bowl and I don't think the fact that so many divisional games remain to be played will make much difference on when they clinch the AFC East....looking at the schedule I can't see Pats being worse than 9-1 when they hit those last 6 games...win the first 2 of the divisional games that follow and they probably still clinch well before Christmas
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Old 04-23-2017, 09:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by bluedevilz View Post
I think it is an interesting scheduling quirk that I haven't seen mentioned before, more attention seems to be paid to the Pats playing 5 of 6 games on the road from Nov 12 to December 17...just one home game

That being said, Pats still have to be the favorites to represent the AFC again in the Super Bowl and I don't think the fact that so many divisional games remain to be played will make much difference on when they clinch the AFC East....looking at the schedule I can't see Pats being worse than 9-1 when they hit those last 6 games...win the first 2 of the divisional games that follow and they probably still clinch well before Christmas
I agree with you that the Pats will clinch the AFC East as usual but i disagree with your thinking that the six consecutive AFC games (five in the division) to end the season will not have an effect on when that will happen. It will certainly keep a Miami or Buffalo alive for at least one more week even if only mathematically.
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Old 04-24-2017, 06:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Bill the Butcher View Post
I agree with you that the Pats will clinch the AFC East as usual but i disagree with your thinking that the six consecutive AFC games (five in the division) to end the season will not have an effect on when that will happen. It will certainly keep a Miami or Buffalo alive for at least one more week even if only mathematically.
Only if Miami and/or Buffalo are reasonably successful during the first 10 games of the season as I expect the Pats will be....

Division games are important as tie breakers but Conference Champs are decided on total W-L record not divisional record. Taking into account that the divisional teams are likely the weakest teams on the Pats schedule and I don't see it making a difference

Its just as likely to lead to the Pats clinching earlier in the season, I really don't see how it keeps Miami or Buffalo alive longer unless they both run the table in the first 10 games
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Old 05-29-2017, 07:32 AM
 
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C'mon, this is the Jets, Dolphins, and Bills being mentioned.
Patriots will clinch the AFC East by week 10. Those last few weeks of divisional play, Patriots will simply be securing the 1 seed, and getting key players rest.
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Old 05-29-2017, 02:49 PM
 
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I don't know when the Pats will clinch but I'm almost certain that the fact that so many divisional and even conference games are back loaded on the Pats schedule, it will mean clinching later. Now yes, it might mean the difference of week 13 as opposed to week 12. But it is a difference nonetheless. I'm just curious if the NFL did this intentionally or not.

The odds of the Pats winning the games against those teams don't change. But the games still have to be played before any team can be eliminated officially. Sooner Pats can hold all the divisional and head to head tiebreakers against the Bills, Jets and Dolphins the sooner they can clinch.
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Old 05-31-2017, 05:50 PM
 
Location: East Texas, with the Clan of the Cave Bear
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I think the whole of the NFL scheduling is quite quirky ... sometimes even seems rigged. Why does Dallas open with the NY Gnats 4 outta the last 5 years? (I know why but how about some variation)

The Pats schedule is always rigged ... they are in and play the AFC East which is the most powder-puff division in the League. That's almost 6 guaranteed victories every year.
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Old 11-20-2017, 05:04 PM
 
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Interesting to revisit this thread from before the season...

It looks like the schedule quirk for the Patriots and Falcons has worked out quite differently...

Despite the AFC East "looking strong" for the first 6 weeks of the season, end results look to be same as they ever were...

The back loading of divisional games for the Patriots will likely have no effect on when the Pats clinch the division...

Odds are good the Pats will clinch week 13 if they win against the Dolphins and Bills and the Bills lose at KC next week...those all seem like pretty likely outcomes.

For comparison, Pats didn't clinch until week 15 last season despite a similar record (14-2) because the Dolphins had a good record...

Doesn't matter when the Divisional games are if all your Divisional opponents are sub .500 and you are winning at a .800 clip....

This was my point before the season as I didn't expect any of the other AFC East teams to be very good and that has turned out to be true...

The Falcons however could definitely benefit since they have been scuffling along they now have a chance to control their own destiny if they can win all their divisional games it will put them right back in the mix...

Will be interesting to see if the NFL does this to the next 2 Conference Champs next season.
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