NFL Strength of Schedule

Brees

Yesterday, I posted an update to the NFL simulation.  Along with the projected wins for each team, I noted that the Saints had the easiest schedule among other things.  This resulted in some feedback and questions from fans asking how easy their team’s schedule was down the stretch.

So I dove back into the numbers and determined the strength of schedule for all 32 NFL teams and ranked them.  Here’s how it works:

I calculated the probability of each team to win each game for the rest of the season.  I then made all teams a .500 team and looked at their projected win percentage over the rest of the season.  So this isn’t displaying each team’s projected winning percentage, it’s calculating how an 8-8 team would do against each team’s remaining schedule.  Clear as mud, right?  Here are the results:

TEAMAvg Team Win %Home GamesRoad Games
Saints56.55%TEN, CAR, DET, JAXWAS, HOU, TB, ATL
Jaguars54.05%TEN, SD, IND, ATLNYJ, BAL, TEN, NO, HOU
Falcons54.02%IND, MIN, CAR, NOSF, TB, CAR, JAX
Bengals53.18%CLE, HOU, STL, PIT, BALARI, CLE, SF, DEN
Eagles52.75%MIA, TB, BUF, ARI, WASDAL, DET, NE, NYG
Bears52.29%DEN, SF, WAS, DETSD, STL, GB, MIN, TB
Colts52.20%DEN, TB, HOU, TENATL, PIT, JAX, MIA
Bucs52.05%NYG, DAL, ATL, NO, CHIPHI, IND, STL, CAR
Chiefs51.98%BUF, SD, CLE, OAKDEN, SD, OAK, BAL
Rams51.91%CHI, ARI, DET, TBMIN, BAL, CIN, SEA, SF
Lions50.96%OAK, PHI, GB, SFGB, STL, NO, CHI
Ravens50.94%JAX, STL, SEA, KC, PITCLE, MIA, CIN
Jets50.25%JAX, BUF, MIA, TEN, NEHOU, NYG, DAL, BUF
Titans49.22%CAR, OAK, JAX, HOUNO, JAX, NYJ, NE, IND
Chargers48.99%CHI, KC, DEN, MIAJAX, KC, OAK, DEN
Steelers48.70%OAK, CLE, IND, DENSEA, CIN, BAL, CLE
Broncos48.59%KC, NE, OAK, CIN, SDIND, CHI, SD, PIT
Patriots48.33%WAS, BUF, PHI, TENNYG, DEN, HOU, NYJ, MIA
Seahawks48.25%ARI, SF, PIT, CLE, STLMIN, BAL, ARI
49ers48.05%ATL, ARI, CIN, STLSEA, CHI, CLE, DET
Packers47.96%DET, CHI, CAL, MINCAR, MIN, DET, OAK, ARI
Raiders47.81%MIN, KC, GB, SDPIT, DET, TEN, DEN, KC
Texans47.33%NYJ, NO, NE, JAXCIN, BUF, IND, TEN, JAX
Panthers47.04%GB, WAS, ATL, TBTEN, DAL, NO, NYG, ATL
Cowboys46.41%PHI, CAR, NYJ, WASTB, MIA, WAS, GB, BUF
Dolphins45.59%DAL, BAL, NYG, IND, NEBUF, PHI, NYJ, SD
Browns45.30%BAL, CIN, SF, PITCIN, PIT, SEA, KC
Cardinals43.75%CIN, MIN, GB, SEASEA, SF, STL, PHI
Vikings43.16%STL, GB, SEA, CHI, NYGOAK, ATL, ARI, GB
Bills42.78%MIA, HOU, DAL, NYJNYJ, NE, KC, PHI, WAS
Giants42.52%NE, NYJ, CAR, PHITB, WAS, MIA, MIN
Redskins42.42%NO, NYG, DAL, BUFNE, CAR, CHI, PHI, DAL

The Saints have the easiest schedule remaining of all teams.  They still have one game each against their three division rivals, but the rest is filled with the Titans, Lions, Jaguars, Redskins, and Texans.  The problem for the Saints is the team directly above them in the standings, the Falcons, have the 3rd easiest schedule.

In yesterday’s post, I had the Vikings with the toughest schedule, but with this method the Redskins claim the dubious honor. Washington’s tough trail begins with a road game in Foxboro on Sunday.  Washington also has some bad scheduling luck as they will presumably face the Cowboys twice with Tony Romo starting rather than the teams that lucked out by facing Brandon Weeden or Matt Cassel.

The update doesn’t let Minnesota completely off the hook.  They still play the Packers twice, along with road games against the Raiders, Falcons, and Cardinals.  The Vikings could be battling the Rams for the final playoff spot in the NFC, so Sunday’s head-to-head tiebreaker could wind up making the difference once the dust settles in Week 17.

The Bengals are already 8-0 and have a great slate set up in front of them.  Home games against the Browns, Texans, Rams, and Steelers all figure to see the Bengals as legitimate favorites although St. Louis and Pittsburgh aren’t automatic by any means.  The most likely spots for Cincinnati to falter will be in Week 11 at Arizona and Week 16 at Denver on Monday Night Football.

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