What a difference a weekend can make. Buffalo win's two (Yippeee!), Washington keeps pace, and Ottawa and Winnipeg fade as predicted. I seems that my prediction that strength of opponents schedule would not matter as much recent playing trend seems to be holding up.
So today, rather than continuing to blather on, I will update the playing trend and strength of opponent schedule figures, add two teams who seem to be fading (compared to Buffalo and Washington), and add at third layer of analysis.
Without further ado .....
First Layer: I figured up the average points earned of the remaining teams on each contender's schedule. Points are tallied for each game remaining. For example, Buffalo plays Toronto twice so Toronto's points are counted twice in the averaging. The lower the number the better.
Second Layer: I counted up how many points each team has earned in the last ten games. The higher the number the better.
Third Layer: Home vs Away ratio of games remaining. The higher the ratio the better.
Buffalo - Strength of Opponents schedule 87 pts Points earned: 16; Home:Away ratio: 2:4
Washington - Strength of Opponents schedule 85 pts Points earned: 14; Home:Away ratio: 3:3
Winnipeg - Strength of Opponents schedule 78 pts Points earned: 10; Home:Away ratio: 3:4
Ottawa - Strength of Opponents schedule 84 pts; Points earned: 10; Home:Away ratio: 2:4
Boston - Strength of Opponents schedule 86 pts; Points earned: 10; Home:Away ratio: 4:3
Florida - Strength of Opponents schedule 80 pts; Points earned: 13; Home:Away ratio: 2:5
1. Buffalo - Hottest points trend with an unfavorable Home:Away ratio; Buffalo has been playing well away from home lately, so I like the Sabre's playoff chances much better than last Friday.
2. Washington - Favorable points trend with even Home:Away ratio; the Caps should be thinking 3rd seed rather than 7th or 8th seed.
3. Winnipeg - Favorable schedule, but they have unfavorable Home:Away ratio for a team that has a very poor road record. Expect Winnipeg to continue fading into the sunset.
4. Ottawa - Unfavorable Home:Away ratio for a team that has been fair on the road; Expect Ottawa to continue to slowly fade; Looking more like Buffalo will catch them.
5. Boston - Added here because I am reading comments about Buffalo catching Boston for the division title; Boston has one game in hand, which is a disadvantage this late in the season, but a seven point lead with a favorable Home:Away ratio; The Sabre's have as much chance of catching Boston as the Bills have of signing Mario Williams ...... wait, bad analogy. I think Boston hangs on to the division title after a scare by Buffalo.
6. Florida - If I were a Panthers fan I would be nervous about Florida's chance at winning a division title despite a relatively weak schedule. This is more that off-set by a very unfavorable Home:Away ratio for a team that, overall, has not performed well on the road. I expect Washington to catch Florida for the division title, but Florida is playing well enough to squeak into the playoffs as the 7th seed.
7. Prediction for Buffalo: Passing Ottawa for the 8th seed.