"You know, I'm no art critic, but I know what I hate. And I don't hate this."
-C. Montgomery Burns, American tycoon
First 4 games? Could easily come out at 3-1. I think Kansas City is pretty safely better than we are, but the other 3 teams in that stretch are beatable.
Next 4 games? B-R-U-T-A-L. Chicago, Dallas, Philly, San Diego? Can't imagine that there are many teams that have a stretch that looks as nasty as that one.
After that? It's anybody's guess. In today's NFL, anyone can contend for a playoff spot in any season, and the release of the schedule today gives me no reason to believe otherwise. The Vikings could go 10-6. They could also go 4-12. They could also end up anywhere in-between. They're not going to go 13-3 or anything. . .but the good news is that nobody else in the NFC North is going 13-3 this year, either.
But I look at the schedule, and here's what I like about what I see.
-No December trip to Soldier Field.
-No December trip to Lambeau Field.
-One. . .POSSIBLY two. . .games all season that weather should play any sort of a factor in. The definite one is against Denver in the regular season finale, and the "possibly" one would be at the Giants in Week 12.
-The 2006 defensive passer rating allowed rankings of the 4 teams we play before the bye week? In order. . .27th, 31st, 18th, and 8th. The 8th belongs to Green Bay. . .who, as I'm sure you're already aware, sucks. We have a young QB and young WRs that are going to need to build some confidence. Looks like they got a pretty good list of teams to do it against.
But, yeah. . .that's what I see at this point. I don't know if this schedule has made me more optimistic or not. . .but I know I certainly don't feel LESS optimistic now than I did yesterday, that's for sure.
Update [2007-4-11 21:30:21 by Gonzo]:
Dwayne Jarrett went to San Diego with pick #30 in the SBNation Mock Draft. So, since the Jarrett was the runaway leader in the previous poll, I've re-done the poll without him. So. . .vote again!