Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Strength of Schedule:
Expectations v. Reality

Each summer the National Football League releases a memo showing each team's strength of schedule based upon the aggregated won-loss record of their opponents from the previous season. The offseason in the NFL stretches out seemingly forever, so when that particular release comes out all media outlets, both traditional (e.g. newspapers and magazines) and otherwise (e.g. blogs) are quick to share it with football fans starved for news. But just how accurate a predictor is that information of how difficult, or easy, the next season's schedule will be? We decided to compare the preseason numbers and what actually came to pass during the regular season. We've ordered the teams by their current position in the NFL draft:

TeamPreseasonActual
Miami.469.539
St. Louis.508.512
Atlanta.508.512
Oakland.516.516
Kansas City.527.516
N.Y. Jets.465.523
San Francisco (pick to N.E.).477.465
Baltimore.523.516
Cincinnati.543.461
New Orleans.539.480
Buffalo.477.516
Denver.516.516
Carolina.504.523
Chicago.445.543
Detroit.473.543
Arizona.500.434
Minnesota.457.504
Houston.523.516
Philadelphia.520.563
Tampa Bay.539.469
Washington.516.555
Cleveland (pick to Dallas).512.430
Steelers.531.453
Tennessee.527.500
Seattle.457.414
Jacksonville.488.516
San Diego.488.500
Dallas.504.496
Indianapolis (pick to S.F.).484.516
Green Bay.449.469
N.Y. Giants.543.516

One need only look at the teams in the AFC South and North in order to see the impact of a good, or bad, season on the strength of schedule of other teams in a division. Houston had their best season ever, and the actual strength of schedule exceeded the preseason number. Meanwhile, Baltimore and Cincinnati go into the tank in 2007, and the Steelers strength of schedule plummets (despite the improvement by Cleveland).

Oh, and for those who are wondering about New England (not included on our list because they do not have a first round pick that is, technically speaking, their own), their preseason strength of schedule was .473, while their actual strength of season in 2007 was .469.

Labels: ,

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home