Strength of schedule can be a good tool for looking forward (helping to determine what teams might perform well in upcoming games). But it’s also useful for looking back – determining which teams maybe aren’t as bad or good as you might think.
Consider, for example, the Lions. They’re 7-7 and have been on the rise recently. They’ve done this despite being saddled with the league’s hardest schedule so far. Detroit’s opponents have gone 106-74-2 so far, winning almost 59 percent of their games. Miami has played the 2nd-hardest schedule, and its opponents have won fewer than 55 percent of their games (they’re 7 wins back).
The four teams that have played the easiest schedules (using wins and losses) are all in the West divisions – Raiders, 49ers, Seahawks, Broncos.
The Bills and Vikings also stand out as teams that have managed to win plenty of games despite playing tougher schedules.
On the chart below, I totaled up the wins and losses and feed them into the first 15 weeks of the schedule. Numbers indicate the win-loss totals of teams in other games. With Philadelphia, for example, it’s opponents are a combined 87-104-5 (1-13 against the Eagles, and 86-91-5 against other teams). I find the second number to be more meaningful. It gets you away from the dynamic of good teams seeming to be benefiting from easy schedules and vice-versa. With the Texans, for example, they appear to have played a hard schedule, if their opponents going 12-1-1 against them, but those teams otherwise have a composite losing record.
|STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE, WINS (G 1-14)|
Looking purely at points, the 49ers, Broncos and Commanders have played the easiest schedule. They’re the only teams who’s opponents have allowed an average of over 23 points per game (again, in games against other teams). That’s salt in the wound for Russell Wilson – the Broncos have sputtered despite things being set up nicely for them.
At the other end of the scale, Cincinnati, Kansas City and Miami are all in the bottom 4, down around 21 points (as the average totals allowed by opposing defenses). That’s impressive. Those offenses have been able to thrive despite being saddled with difficult schedules.
As with the wins, the point totals are calculated after removing each team’s own games. Each team has played 14 games. I’m setting those aside and looking at the 13 other games played by those 14 opponents (182 games overall).
|STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE, POINTS (G 1-14)|