Traditional strength of schedule (SOS) calculations add up the previous year's record of a team’s upcoming 16 opponents to get a cumulative win percentage for all 16 opponents.
Another way to look at SOS is to use the Vegas odds for Super Bowl LII, scheduled for February 4, 2018, as a proxy for team strength. Odds aren't an exact science of course, but looking at odds at least has the advantage of looking at projected future performance, while W/L records are simply a snapshot of past performance.
The (7/2) are currently favored to win Super Bowl LII, so they received one point. The Cowboys, Falcons, Packers, Raiders, and Seahawks are tied for the second-best odds (12/1), so they all receive 2 points. The next best teams are the Texans and Steelers (16/1), who are tied for seventh, so they receive seven points each, and so on. The Browns and 49ers are tied for the worst odds (200/1) so they were each assigned 31 points.
I then calculated the average points for each team's remaining schedule, with a lower number meaning a tougher schedule.
Using the odds-based method, the Buccaneers have the toughest SOS in 2017. Their 16 opponents show an average odds-based ranking of 12.5. The Redskins have the second-toughest SOS by this method, with 13.1. The Eagles and Cowboys follow at number seven and eight respectively, while the Giants are ranked with just the 18th toughest schedule.
Here is what the SOS based on Super Bowl odds looks like for all 32 teams, and how that compares to the traditional SOS based on opponent win percentage. For your convenience, the table is sortable (just click on the blue column headers).
-based 2017 Strength Of Schedule By Team|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||12.5||1||0.490||17||16|
|Kansas City Chiefs||13.4||4||0.576||2||-2|
|Los Angeles Chargers||14.3||9||0.568||3||-6|
|New Orleans Saints||14.8||12||0.482||18||6|
|New York Jets||15.1||14||0.535||8||-6|
|Los Angeles Rams||15.1||15||0.510||13||-2|
|Green Bay Packers||15.4||19||0.480||20||1|
|New York Giants||15.4||18||0.535||9||-9|
|San Francisco 49ers||15.8||21||0.502||14||-7|
|New England Patriots||15.9||22||0.527||12||-10|
For the Cowboys, the different methodologies don't change the overall picture that much. They have the 11th toughest schedule by opponent win percentage and the 8th toughest schedule by opponent Super Bowl odds.
The calculations don't do much for the Eagles either, who have the 10th toughest remaining SOS by opponent win percentage and the 7th toughest remaining SOS by opponent Super Bowl odds.
But the Redskins and Giants make big jumps, even if they are in different directions. The Redskins jump from 7th (Opp Win %) to 2nd overall (Odds-based SOS), while the Giants drop from from 9th to 18th.
The Lions see the biggest swing in SOS. They rocket 18 spots from 23rd (Opp Win %) to 5th overall (Odds-based SOS), an indication that their remaining opponents could be a lot tougher than those opponents' 2016 W/L records suggest. Other teams who move up a lot: Buccaneers (+16 spots), Falcons (+12), and Titans (+10)
The Cardinals are the big 'winners' in this exercise as they drop 16 spots from 16th (Opp Win %) to 32nd overall (Odds-based SOS). The odds-based methodology suggests they could face the softest schedule of any team this year, and that their opponents will underperform versus their 2016 W/L records. Other teams whose schedule softens: Raiders (-16), Seahawks (-10, and Patriots (-10).
For reference, here are the latest Super Bowl odds:
|Super Bowl Odds per May 1, 2017
|New England Patriots||7/2||Arizona Cardinals||33/1||Washington Redskins||50/1|
|Atlanta Falcons||12/1||Carolina Panthers||33/1||Detroit Lions||66/1|
|Dallas Cowboys||12/1||Indianapolis Colts||33/1||Los Angeles Chargers||75/1|
|Green Bay Packers||12/1||Minnesota Vikings||33/1||Buffalo Bills||100/1|
|Oakland Raiders||12/1||New Orleans Saints||33/1||Chicago Bears||100/1|
|Seattle Seahawks||12/1||Baltimore Ravens||40/1||Jacksonville Jaguars||100/1|
|Houston Texans||16/1||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||40/1||Los Angeles Rams||150/1|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||16/1||Tennessee Titans||40/1||New York Jets||150/1|
|Denver Broncos||18/1||Cincinnati Bengals||50/1||200/1|
|New York Giants||20/1||Miami Dolphins||50/1||San Francisco 49ers||200/1|
|Kansas City Chiefs||25/1||Philadelphia Eagles||50/1|