2013 NFL Strength of Schedule – Broncos Get Easiest, Panthers Get Toughest

It’s always interesting to see how the system of scheduling in the NFL treats different teams for their success, and while it’s still way too early to actually decide who faces the toughest schedule in the 2013 season, according to last season’s record, the Carolina Panthers face the toughest schedule, while the Denver Broncos enjoy the easiest.

How does that happen? Well, division rivals come first. The Broncos finished with 13-3 record in a division that had no other team win more than 7 games. The combined record of the Chargers, Chiefs and Raiders was 13-35, giving the Broncos six games against presumably easy competition.  Being in the AFC West while also being one of the best teams in the NFL last season means that more than six months before the season actually begins, it’s possible to say the Broncos shouldn’t have too tough of a road to the playoffs.

For the Carolina Panthers? They finished 7-9 in a division that had two more 7-9 teams, not to mention the 13-3 Atlanta Falcons. Those are six games making it much harder already, and facing two double digit winning teams in Seattle and the Vikings and in general the very tough NFC West (San Francisco, Seahawks) whiel getting the AFC East in the intraconference scheduling, which means the New England Patriots.

2013 Strength of schedule
Team
SOS
Opponent record
Carolina Panthers
.543
138-116-2
Detroit Lions
.539
138-118-0
New Orleans Saints
.539
137-117-2
St. Louis Rams
.539
137-117-2
Baltimore Ravens
.535
137-119-0
Green Bay Packers
.533
136-119-1
Arizona Cardinals
.520
131-121-4
Miami Dolphins
.520
133-123-0
San Francisco 49ers
.520
132-122-2
Minnesota Vikings
.516
132-124-0
Seattle Seahawks
.516
130-122-4
Cincinnati Bengals
.508
130-126-0
Jacksonville Jaguars
.508
129-125-2
New England Patriots
.508
130-126-0
Atlanta Falcons
.504
128-126-0
Chicago Bears
.502
128-127-1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
.500
127-127-2
Washington Redskins
.498
127-128-1
New York Jets
.496
127-129-0
Philadelphia Eagles
.496
127-129-0
Cleveland Browns
.492
126-130-0
Pittsburgh Steelers
.496
126-130-0
Tennessee Titans
.488
124-130-2
New York Giants
.480
123-133-0
Dallas Cowboys
.480
121-134-1
Buffalo Bills
.473
121-135-0
Houston Texans
.473
120-134-2
Kansas City Chiefs
.473
121-135-0
Oakland Raiders
.469
120-136-0
Indianapolis Colts
.461
117-137-2
San Diego Chargers
.457
117-139-0
Denver Broncos
.430
110-146-0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How tough is it going to be for the champions? The Ravens play in the AFC North, which had only one team with a losing record last season, the always terrible Cleveland Browns. Along with playing against the AFC East and the NFC North, a division with three 10-win teams, life isn’t going to be for the defending Super Bowl champs, ranked fifth on the strength of schedule list with a .539. The Detroit Lions, St. Louis Rams and New Orleans Saints face an uphill struggle, at least according to the numbers alone, when it comes to their playoff battle.

And what about the easier routes? The Indianapolis Colts from the AFC South and a team that should continue to improve in 2013, finishing during Andrew Luck’s rookie season, are third when it comes to most comfortable schedule, paired up with teams from the AFC West next season, also meaning we have a Luck vs Manning game.

Just a reminder – the team with the toughest preseason strength of schedule, the New York Giants, who were the defending Super Bowl champions, didn’t make it into the postseason, finishing with a 9-7 record in the tough NFC East.

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