Almost every time I read a prediction or expectation about our schedule this season, it is assumed we will sweep the Jets and the Bills. And I love this idea, who doesn't want us to sweep them? But, no one predicts a split with either team or a sweep of us by either of them. Why? Grant it, the Jets look more vulnerable than they have in quite a while, but what makes us so superior to the Bills that we think we ought to sweep them without question?
For a historical view, since 1970, we have swept BOTH the Jets and the Bills in the following seasons: 2003, 1996, 1984, 1982, 1975-77, 1972-3, 1970. TEN times since 1970 (once in the last decade) this feat has been completed by our 'Phins.
Now, I know historical data as far as rivalries goes has little to do with actual game day performance, but this data also reveals that while sweeping the Jets and the Bills in the same season used to be quite common for us (8 times from 1970 to 1984), it has only been accomplished TWICE in the last 29 seasons.
Our seasonal results the last two times we swept both teams: In 1996, we finished 8-8 (4th place AFE) without a playoff game. In 2003, we finished 10-6 (2nd place AFE) without a playoff game.
Should we sweep the Jets? I know what you're saying, yes, they suck with Sancheeze or Gino Sauce! My guts says yes, too, because they seemingly have more issues than we do and do not have a lot of playmakers on either side of the ball. I feel pretty comfortable with the idea of sweeping the Jets, but the caveat is they are the hated Jests, a divisional rival, and anything can happen in those games. So, my comfort level drops with that information. I give us a 51% chance of sweeping the Jets this year (though, on paper, it should be more like 75%).
Should we sweep the Bills? I'm not so sure about this one. The Bills, to me, are not in as bad shape as the Jets and do have playmakers on both sides of the ball. Like the Jets, they are a divisional rival and we tend to have odd games against them. I give us a 25% chance of sweeping the Bills. I think a split with the Bills is likely to happen.
When we become more dominant, I will feel more comfortable raising those percentages. We're not dominant, yet.
What say you?