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Cowboys strength of schedule may not be quite as tough as you thought

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A look at how the schedule for all 32 NFL teams is shaping up after six weeks of play.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

When we looked at the initial strength of schedule numbers for 2017 at the end of last season (at the time, those were still based on the opponent records in 2016), we saw that the Cowboys' 2016 opponents finished the 2016 season with a combined 134-118-4 record for a .531 winning percentage. That would have made the 2017 schedule one of the "toughest” schedules the Cowboys had in the last 10 years.

SOS by Year
Year 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
High .539 .598 .594 .547 .555 .547 .543 .578 .579 .555 .578
Low
.461 .387 .414 .445 .441 .453 .430 .430 .406 .457 .424
Cowboys .496 .523 .516 .543 .504 .504 .475 .488 .467 .465 .531

Heading into the season, that .531 SOS was the 10th "toughest" schedule - but things have changed.

Based on the opponent records through Week 6, the Cowboys' 2017 opponents currently have a combined 47-44 record for a .516 winning percentage, which ranks the Cowboys 14th in the league.

Weeks 1-6

Three of the five opponents the Cowboys have faced so far this year currently have a winning record, one has a losing record and one is tied at 3-3. Combined, the Cowboys' opponent winning percentage over the first six weeks is .517, a pretty average strength of schedule.

Had the Cowboys started 5-0 instead of 2-3, none of their five opponents so far would have a winning record, and the opponent winning percentage would drop to .414 - which just goes to show that a team's strength of schedule also reflects a considerable amount of a team's own performance. In very simple terms this means that the more games you win, the softer your SOS gets - and vice versa.

Weeks 7-17

Despite facing what currently appears to be a tough four-game stretch from Week 8-11 (@ 3-2 Redskins, vs 5-1 Chiefs, @ 3-2 Falcons, vs 5-1 Eagles), the Cowboys' opponents for the remainder of the season barely combine for a winning record, currently showing a combined W/L of 32-20, or a .516 winning percentage.

A few wins here and a few losses there can quickly change the entire strength of schedule picture, both for the Cowboys and for the rest of the NFC East. For now though, the Cowboys appear to be playing a pretty average schedule this year, and probably not the tough schedule you may have been led to expect.


All of the strength of schedule data is summarized in the table below. For your convenience, the table is sortable and the NFC East teams are highlighted with colored rows. Click on any of the column sub-headers (W, L, %, PD) to sort the table in ascending or descending order.

2017 Strength Of Schedule by team (click column subheaders to sort)

Teams 2015 SOS Opponent records week 1-7
Opponent records week 8-17
W
L
% Point Diff. W L % Point Diff.
DEN 0.578 10 18 0.357 -36 36 27 0.571 18
KC 0.576 21 14 0.600 91 24 31 0.436 -60
LAC 0.568 19 15 0.559 49 28 28 0.500 43
OAK 0.564 17 17 0.500 -49 33 23 0.589 104
BUF 0.561 15 12 0.556 9 33 29 0.532 -61
MIA 0.547 14 14 0.500 -13 36 26 0.581 84
WAS 0.543 16 14 0.533 96 29 32 0.475 3
NYG 0.535 17 16 0.515 41 30 26 0.536 81
NYJ 0.535 15 19 0.441 -14 32 22 0.593 92
DAL 0.531 15 14 0.517 -2 32 30 0.516 99
PHI 0.531 18 17 0.514 -24 22 33 0.400 -40
NE 0.527 20 14 0.588 88 29 25 0.537 -15
ATL 0.521 15 13 0.536 -27 34 26 0.567 91
TB 0.518 14 16 0.467 -77 36 24 0.600 89
NO 0.510 18 11 0.621 27 33 27 0.550 32
CAR 0.504 18 16 0.529 79 29 25 0.537 -9
LAR 0.482 13 20 0.394 -43 28 30 0.483 -12
GB 0.480 16 16 0.500 5 28 30 0.483 -25
CHI 0.479 20 14 0.588 46 28 30 0.483 38
SF 0.475 19 15 0.559 -41 29 29 0.500 49
CLE 0.469 17 18 0.486 -60 30 29 0.508 20
DET 0.469 18 16 0.529 0 27 31 0.466 -102
ARI 0.467 14 20 0.412 -64 27 30 0.474 130
BAL 0.461 13 22 0.371 -45 28 30 0.483 -90
HOU 0.455 17 18 0.486 26 27 32 0.458 -126
SEA 0.455 13 17 0.433 -74 30 33 0.476 31
MIN 0.453 18 16 0.529 23 28 29 0.491 -28
PIT 0.453 17 19 0.472 -4 26 32 0.448 -98
CIN 0.449 13 16 0.448 -16 31 34 0.477 -90
JAC 0.439 20 16 0.556 38 20 38 0.345 -266
TEN 0.439 16 18 0.471 -2 24 35 0.407 -87
IND 0.424 13 22 0.371 -89 30 27 0.526 167