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Strength of schedule

A hard schedule stacks the deck against Bengals

At 3-3, the Bengals are in sole possession of last place in the AFC North, and I don’t think they’re going to be able to pull things together. They’ve got numerous issues to resolve, and they’re also going to be fighting the uphill climb of a difficult schedule.

Based on current win-loss records, Cincinnati has the most difficult remaining schedule in the league. Its final 11 games are against teams that are a combined 46-27. That includes games at San Francisco, Baltimore, Jacksonville and Kansas City, as well as another game against Cleveland. (Not to imply that the two remaining games against the Steelers and a game against Buffalo are cupcakes, either.)

If you’re looking for borderline teams that might be able to ride easier schedules to playoff berths, consider instead the Falcons and Texans.

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE, WINS (Weeks 8-18)
TeamWLPct
Atlanta2343.348
Detroit2641.388
Houston2842.400
Indianapolis2737.422
New Orleans2939.426
Tampa Bay3141.431
Chicago2937.439
Green Bay3340.452
Minnesota3136.463
Kansas City3235.478
Pittsburgh3437.479
Carolina3437.479
LA Chargers3639.480
Cleveland3537.486
NY Jets3737.500
LA Rams3333.500
Jacksonville3131.500
New England3433.507
Denver3432.515
NY Giants3532.522
Philadelphia3532.522
Miami3531.530
Las Vegas3731.544
Dallas4134.547
Tennessee3932.549
Baltimore3629.554
Buffalo3629.554
San Francisco3729.561
Seattle4231.575
Washington3828.576
Arizona4026.606
Cincinnati4627.630

If we consider points rather than wins – looking at the quality of defenses – things still don’t look good for Cincinnati.

If we take the average points allowed by each defense, then look at the next six games for each team (Weeks 8-13 for some, and Weeks 8-14 for others), Cincinnati again finishes with the toughest degree of difficulty, with their next six against teams currently averaging (collectively) about 18 points per game.

The Eagles also have a difficult upcoming schedule, but they’ve at least shown some ability to overcome that kind of obstacle.

If you’re looking for a team with a friendly schedule coming up, go instead with the Patriots, Saints or Texans. With New England and New Orleans, of course, they’ve had offensive issues (though the Patriots flashed some on Sunday). The Texans, meanwhile, are a team where I’m buying shares.

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE, POINTS (next 6 G)
TeamAvg
New England25.5
New Orleans24.6
Houston24.6
Dallas23.8
Detroit23.8
Minnesota23.3
Chicago23.3
Kansas City23.3
Tennessee22.8
NY Jets22.7
NY Giants22.3
Washington22.2
Indianapolis22.1
Baltimore22.0
Cleveland22.0
Miami21.6
Las Vegas21.6
LA Chargers21.6
Tampa Bay21.5
Pittsburgh21.4
Carolina21.1
Green Bay20.9
Buffalo20.7
Atlanta20.4
San Francisco19.8
Denver19.6
LA Rams19.6
Jacksonville19.2
Seattle18.8
Arizona18.7
Philadelphia18.0
Cincinnati17.9

—Ian Allan

Fantasy Index