The San Francisco 49ers are a mess, everything is on fire, Blaine Gabbert is starting at quarterback and folks can't sell their tickets for even paltry sums of money. It's a disaster, and we're right in the middle of it. That isn't to say that some things can't go right or that it's all over forever and we should just back up and all become fans of some other team or anything ... in fact, it gets a little easier from here on out, did you know that?
The fine folks at Football Outsiders ranked the remaining strength of schedule for teams over the final nine weeks of the season, and it was written in this here article at ESPN, though it requires an Insider subscription.
They base their rankings on DVOA ratings, and they also factor in the team's split of home and away games. They estimate how many games a "perfectly average team" (0.0 DVOA) would be expected to win against each remaining game on the schedule. The odds range from 17 percent -- playing the New England Patriots on the road -- and 79 percent .... playing the 49ers at home.
Yep, the 49ers are at that point. They're at that end of the scale, and it's not at all surprising.
So when they rank the hardest remaining schedules, the Cleveland Browns come out on top, with an average team winning 43.2 percent of their remaining games. The easiest remaining schedule belongs to the New Orleans Saints, with a 57.2 percentage for average teams.
The 49ers aren't listed among the easiest schedules. The lowest team on that list is the Indianapolis Colts boasting a percentage of 53.2 percent. But they also list there teams which are getting a definite break as far as the schedule is concerned, and that's where the 49ers come in. The 49ers are going from 43.6 percent to 49.5 percent on the list, which given the highest percentage is 57.2, that seems like a fairly significant jump.
To explain this again, that means their definition of a perfectly average team would only win 43.6 percent of the games the 49ers have played thus far, but would win 49.5 percent of the games remaining on the schedule.
Hey ... we should take what we can get, yeah?
As far as games remaining on the schedule, the 49ers have some winnable games against the Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions. Then there's games against the NFC West again, which could go either way. A match against the Bengals looks to be the toughest game remaining on the schedule.