One of the issues with the strength of the schedule is that it’s based on last year. Teams change, so it doesn’t really make sense to calculate schedule difficulty above what they used to be.
The Titans, for example, went 12-5 last year, but that’s not an opponent that people fear. They could easily be a sub-500 team. The Falcons, meanwhile, finished last year 7-10, which seems optimistic about how their season is likely to go. Everyone would love to play Atlanta every week.
It therefore makes more sense to work through the predicted over-under winning totals that are published by the various sportsbooks. You take those numbers, plug them into the 2022 timeline, and see what comes out.
For this forecast, I took projected over-under totals for each team and then smoothed them to ensure the right balance between wins and losses. (Betting totals tend to run high, and there were a few teams I thought were looking anyway.) No one has released anything for Cleveland as of Deshaun Watson’s situation is up in the air. For the Browns, I went into the first half of the season with 6.5 wins and 9.5 wins in the second half.
|New York Giants||7.5|
If I fit these over-unders into the schedule (and also omit week 18 which is not used by most fantasy leagues) I get the Lions, Giants and Commanders playing the simplest schedules. And those numbers suggest the Rams, Raiders, Titans and Kansas City will be playing the toughest schedules.
If you’re a D’Andre Swift (pictured) fan, this could be interpreted as good news, with a softer schedule perhaps helping the Lions.
Four teams are in bold. These are the teams whose schedules have become the most difficult (compared to traditional methods). Black dot teams are the ones whose schedules have gotten easier. (The Rams rank last using both methods, but not as far here.)
|SCHEDULE STRENGTH (Over-Under)|
|New York Giants||128||144||0||.471|
|• San Francisco||136||135||1||.502|
|• LA Rams||149||122||1||.550|
– Ian Alan