The release of the 2014 NFL Schedule shows an Andrew Luck led Indianapolis Colts team has the easiest path to the Super Bowl. This path is based on opponent winning percentages.
This year the Colts have an opponent winning percentage of .430. The worse opponent percentage in the NFL, with a combined record of 110 – 146. The toughest schedule this year belongs to the Oakland Raiders with an opponent winning percentage of .578. This is attributed to having the Denver Broncos in the same division as the Raiders.
Last year before the 2013 campaign the Colts had the third easiest schedule with an opponent winning percentage of .461. Second easiest schedule went to the San Diego Chargers, while the number one easiest schedule went to the Denver Broncos. In 2013 Denver reached the Super Bowl with the easiest schedule. Like Denver the New England Patriots took advantage of this in 2012. The Patriots reached the title game with the lowest opponent winning percentage in 2012. Neither the Patriots nor Broncos won the big game in either year.
Except for the Colts, all teams in the AFC North had losing records. The Tennessee Titans finished with a 7 – 9 record. The Jacksonville Jaguars finished with the third worse record in the North, at 4 – 12. The worst record in the NFL resides in the AFC South, belonging to the Houston Texans. Houston finished out the season with only two wins. The Colts went undefeated in division play in 2013 with a 6 – 0 record. These stats are representative of the easiest path to the Super Bowl going to an Andrew Luck led team.
Luck has the ability to protect the ball. Finishing the season with only nine interceptions. Putting Luck in fourth among all quarterbacks with at least 300 passing attempts.
Andrew Luck leading the Colts to the promise land starts with General Manager Ryan Grigson. Grigson like Luck is entering his third season with the Colts. Grigson will make five draft picks in 2014, No. 59, No. 90, No. 166, No. 203, and No. 232.
The Colts schedule is set-up this year to avoid the NFC West match-ups of last year. This year being put into the NFC East. Three teams from the West finished with top ten defenses. Seattle had the number one defense and the 49ers were fifth in total defense.There is no San Francisco game or Seattle Seahawks game this year. The Arizona Cardinals, in the NFC West, finished last year with the sixth best defense. The worse team in the NFC West was a top 20 defense, the St. Louis Rams defense came in at number 15.
Instead the Colts will play some of the worse defenses in 2014. Andrew Luck will match-up against the NFC East Dallas Cowboys, who finished last in the NFL, in total yards allowed and yards per game. This is the same team that allowed 51 points to the Denver Broncos. Dallas allowed 30-plus points in two, three-game stretches last year. The Cowboys face Luck and the Colts on Dec. 21 at Cowboys Stadium.
The other NFC East team with bad numbers on defense is the Philadelphia Eagles. Luck and Colts face the Eagles with home-field advantage at Lucas Oil Field. Philly finished the 2013 season with the third worse defense allowing over 6,000 yards total. There is also the Washington Redskins who allowed the second most points in 2013.
All stats point to an Andrew Luck year in 2014. Finishing with the best record will allow for home-field advantage and a bye-week in the playoffs. The Colts season starts on the road against the AFC Champion Broncos and former Colts QB Peyton Manning on Sunday night Sept. 7.
Commentary by Daniel Gudino