The Packers’ 2022 schedule comes closest to the average difficulty level in the NFL, according to one estimate

The hand-wringing over the Green Bay Packers’ 2022 schedule, particularly the team’s negative rest and travel concerns, might be a bit of an overstatement. That’s according to a breakdown of the 2022 roster of all NFL teams as published by NFL data scientist Tom Bliss.

Bliss released the residual differential breakdown on the evening of the schedule release last weekbut today he has a more in-depth analysis of the overall difficulty of each NFL team’s schedule, one that places the Packers’ overall challenges as less significant than first thought.

Using a model that estimates the number of wins added or subtracted versus the average for numerous factors, Bliss estimated the impact of each team’s schedule on wins. This model addresses issues related to breaks, home and away games (including ‘home games’ in London) and the quality of opponents inside and outside a team’s division.

Here’s the breakdown for all 32 teams in the NFL:

As you can see, the Packers have the worst break differential in the league this year, but this model shows that breaks have very little impact on the overall difficulty of a schedule. In fact, the Packers’ minus 0.06 wins from rest is equal to or less than the travel differential of 12 different teams.

But each of these factors is dwarfed by the influence of a team’s opponents. Whether that’s just considering 2021 results or future projected performance, the Packers have a pretty big difference in wins added by their division and out-of-division opponents. In just six games against teams from NFC North, the Packers are expected to record .42 wins over an average schedule. In contrast, her schedule outside of the division is 0.35 wins harder than average, thanks in large part to having three division winners (including the reigning AFC #1 seed) coming.

Still, with all of these factors baked together, the Packers actually have the schedule that’s expected to be closest to average difficulty of anyone in the NFL this year, ending with just 0.01 wins easier than average.

Interestingly, the other three NFC North teams have significantly easier than average schedules despite having two games each against the Packers. The Bears and Lions both have very easy off-division schedules, with each scoring at least a quarter of a win above average, as well as slightly favorable rest and travel factors. Meanwhile, Minnesota benefits from playing both the Bears and Lions, which helps even out a slightly tougher group of opponents from outside the division, as well as the league’s easiest travel schedule, which gives them +0.15 wins in the average.

Despite the bright prospects for the other teams in the division in 2022, this analysis is somewhat encouraging for Packers fans. Although Green Bay’s schedule looks challenging on the surface due to rest and travel factors, these issues tend to have relatively little impact, and the overall schedule should be about average this fall.

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