The Broncos and the 2014 NFL Strength Of Schedule

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The Denver Broncos will go from one of the easiest schedules in 2013, to one of the toughest in 2014–at least on paper.

While waiting for the Wildcard situation to hash itself out and reveal which team will visit the Mile High city next Sunday, I decided to take a look at the Broncos 2014 schedule. I took it a step further and calculated the Strength of Schedule for the entire league. Shortly I will share my findings.

Now I don’t put a whole lot of stock in these Strength of Schedule numbers unless one looks at them with both a preseason and retrospective views. At the beginning of the 2013 season, the Bronco were listed as having the 32nd (or weakest) schedule at 110-146 — (.430). In fact, it was 10 games stronger at 120-136 — (.469). I didn’t go over the rest of the league, but I did work some of the numbers from some of the teams that disappointed this season, for instance, the Texans, who went 2-14 when no one would have expected it. I found that the Broncos did not end up having the easiest road.

Anyway. For what it’s worth and for argument sake, I ran the numbers for next season. Which also means I will need to put up a retrospective post at this point in time next year.

In the AFC West Division, where the Broncos reside, I found that the Oakland Raiders will have the most difficult Schedule Strength “before any games are played” in 2014. Denver has the 2nd-most difficult slate.

 

AFC West

Oakland Raiders………..148-108 — .578

Denver Broncos………..146-110 — .570

San Diego Chargers…..144-112 — .562

Kansas City Chiefs…….143-113 — .558

Going further, here is how the entire AFC breaks down.

AFC  

Oakland Raiders…………..148-108 — .578

Denver Broncos………….146-110 — .570

San Diego Chargers………144-112 — .562

Kansas City Chiefs………..143-113 — .558

Baltimore Ravens…………134-122 — .523

New York Jets………………132-122-2 — .515

New England Patriots…..131-123 -2 — .511

Miami Dolphins……………129-127-2 — .503

Pittsburgh Steelers………..120-136 — .469

Cincinnati Bengals………..120-136 — .468

Cleveland Browns…………119-137 — .464

Jacksonville Jaguars……..116-140 — .453

Buffalo Bills………………….115-141 — .449

Houston Texans……………113-143 — .441

Tennessee Titans…………..112-144 — .438

Indianapolis Colts…………110-146 — .430

As you can see, the AFC West is at the top of the list. Is this the the NFL’s idea of parity? Could it be Karma or the World returning to balance?

No. It isn’t anything like that.

The schedules are set by rotation and there are only 2 games per team each season that are determined, not by strength of schedule, but where all the teams finish the previous season. This is generally why the Broncos always seem to draw the Patriots and Ravens each year.

Since we are discussing it, here is how the schedules are determined:

  • Every year each NFL team plays four games – two home and two away – against another  division within the same conference (intra-conference): NFC vs NFC, AFC vs AFC.

  • Every year each NFL team plays four games – two home and two away – against another division in the other conference (inter-conference): NFC vs AFC.

  • These games are scheduled on a rotational basis between divisions. Home and away games alternate each time teams in the divisions meet.

There is one notable exception; The home and away games alternate in alphabetical order for these intra and inter conference match-ups: Teams host opponents listed 1st and 2nd alphabetically, and visit opponents listed 3rd and 4th – switching the next time the divisions rotate into play.

Also—Opponents of the NFC West or AFC West do not travel to two coastal destinations in the same division.

The NFC breaks down like this:

 

NFC

San Francisco 49ers……….144-112 — .563

St. Louis Rams………………..144-112 — .563

Seattle Seahawks……………143-113 — .559

Arizona Cardinals………….140-116 — .547

Atlanta Falcons……………..130-124-2 — .508

Green Bay Packers…………129-127 — .504

Chicago Bears………………..126-130 — .492

Washington Redskins……..125-130-1 — .488

Dallas Cowboys……………..125-131 — .488

Detroit Lions…………………..125-131 — .488

Tampa Bay Buccaneers…..123-131-2 — .480

Philadelphia Eagles………..122-134 — .476

Minnesota Vikings………….121-135 — .473

Carolina Panthers…………..120-134-2 — .469

New Orleans Saints………..119-135-2 — .465

New York Giants……………119-137 — .465

Here is the entire league Strength of Schedule listing.

NFL

Oakland Raiders……………..148-108 — .578

Denver Broncos……………146-110 — .570

San Francisco 49ers………..144-112 — .563

St. Louis Rams…………………144-112 — .563

San Diego Chargers…………144-112 — .563

Seattle Seahawks…………….143-113 — .559

Kansas City Chiefs…………..143-113 — .559

Arizona Cardinals……………140-116 — .547

Baltimore Ravens……………134-122 — .523

New York Jets…………………132-122-2 — .515

New England Patriots……..131-123 -2 — .511

Atlanta Falcons………………130-124-2 — .508

Miami Dolphins……………..129-125-2 — .504

Green Bay Packers………….129-127 — .504

Chicago Bears………………..126-130 — .492

Washington Redskins…….125-130-1 — .488

Dallas Cowboys………………125-131 — .488

Detroit Lions…………………..125-131 — .488

Tampa Bay Buccaneers…..123-131-2 — .480

Philadelphia Eagles…………122-134 — .476

Minnesota Vikings………….121-135 — .473

Pittsburgh Steelers………….120-136 — .469

Carolina Panthers…………..120-134-2 — .469

Cincinnati Bengals………….120-136 — .468

New Orleans Saints………..119-135-2 — .465

New York Giants……………119-137 — .465

Cleveland Browns………….119-137 — .464

Jacksonville Jaguars………116-140 — .453

Buffalo Bills…………………..115-141 — .449

Houston Texans…………….113-143 — .441

Tennessee Titans……………112-144 — .438

Indianapolis Colts………….110-146 — .430

 

Here is the Strength of Schedule breaks down by division.

AFC West……………581-443 — .567

NFC West……………571-453 — .558

AFC East………….507-511-6 — .495

NFC North………….501-523 — .489

AFC North………….493-531 — .481

NFC South………492-524-8 — .480

NFC East……………491-533 — .479

AFC South………….451-573 — .440

So now that I’ve uncovered the myths, I only have two things to say. The Raiders better use every bit of their $60 Million Cap Space this offseason and I don’t want to hear any sniveling excuses from the rest of the Haters.

Let the arguments commence.

Go Broncos!

– Kaptain Kirk

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