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SOS Analysis

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Editor's Note: The Sports Boss was the third-best NFL handicapper (61%, +1,808) on VegasInsider.com in 2012. Sign up now for his discounted 2013 season package!

Turnover Analysis

Below I have broken down my 2013 Strength of Schedule (SOS) using the following three metrics:

2013 Initial Power Ratings
2012 Final Power Rankings
2012 Final Performance Rankings


Here are my main SOS figures which breaks it down using the initial 2013 team by team power ratings:

2013 Strength of Schedule Ratings & Rankings
Team Road SOS Rank Home SOS Rank Total SOS Rank
NEW YORK GIANTS 190.5 1 184.0 3 374.5 1
MINNESOTA 180.5 3 175.0 7 355.5 2
BALTIMORE 175.5 8 179.0 4 354.5 3
TAMPA BAY 178.0 6 170.5 14 348.5 4
ATLANTA 173.0 14 175.0 7 348.0 5
WASHINGTON 178.5 5 169.0 16 347.5 6
CHICAGO 172.0 15 175.0 7 347.0 7
ARIZONA 160.0 25 186.0 1 346.0 8
ST. LOUIS 184.5 2 161.5 25 346.0 8
DALLAS 166.5 20 178.5 5 345.0 10
GREEN BAY 175.0 9 169.5 15 344.5 11
DETROIT 172.0 15 172.0 12 344.0 12
NEW ORLEANS 175.0 9 167.5 18 342.5 13
PHILADELPHIA 177.0 7 165.0 22 342.0 14
CAROLINA 167.5 19 173.5 10 341.0 15
SAN FRANCISCO 156.0 27 184.5 2 340.5 16
NEW ENGLAND 169.0 18 171.0 13 340.0 17
JACKSONVILLE 174.0 12 163.0 24 337.0 18
OAKLAND 175.0 9 159.5 26 334.5 19
SEATTLE 179.0 4 154.5 31 333.5 20
TENNESSEE 173.5 13 158.0 27 331.5 21
CINCINNATI 160.5 23 169.0 16 329.5 22
CLEVELAND 172.0 15 156.0 30 328.0 23
SAN DIEGO 152.5 29 175.5 6 328.0 23
MIAMI 160.5 23 166.5 19 327.0 25
INDIANAPOLIS 158.5 26 166.5 19 325.0 26
KANSAS CITY 152.5 29 172.5 11 325.0 26
PITTSBURGH 165.0 21 156.5 29 321.5 28
BUFFALO 153.0 28 166.5 19 319.5 29
HOUSTON 148.5 31 164.0 23 312.5 30
DENVER 165.0 21 140.5 32 305.5 31
NEW YORK JETS 140.0 32 158.0 27 298.0 32

 
The above data is stacked in order of strength with the #1 team New York Giants estimated to face the toughest 2013 schedule based on my initial Power Ratings, while their neighbor New York Jets are estimated to face the easiest.

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In addition to overall SOS (the last column), I have also included SOS broken out by home and road games.  That breakout is absolutely critical because in a perfect world teams prefer to face a bulk of their tougher opponents at home, and the easier opponents on the road.  While total SOS is a great gauge when looking at your favorite team’s chances at a solid double-digit win season, using the home versus road comparison can add even more value.

Let’s discuss a few teams that stand out for having a tough schedule, easy schedule, and favorable or unfavorable breakdowns using the home versus road comparison:

New York Giants: This season the Giants are estimated to face the toughest schedule in the NFL, and it’s by a wide margin of 19.0 SOS points.  What is an SOS point?  The easiest way to explain this is a team that is projected to be middle of the pack, 8-8 type team, is given a power rating of 21.  If you multiple 21 times the 16 games a team will play that equals 336.0 – the Giants right now total a 374.5, which is an average opponent power rating of 23.4 – that rating is typically equal to a borderline double-digit win team.  It all means on average the Giants are facing 9 to 10 double-digit win teams this upcoming season – extremely tough.  Their opponents that really boost their rating is facing Denver, Carolina, Seattle and the four teams in the NFC North.  By facing the toughest schedule in the NFL, combined with obviously then facing the toughest schedule of all teams in the ultra-competitive NFC East, this could be the difference between earning a playoff berth versus just missing out.

St. Louis: The Rams check in with a Top 10 SOS, and a significant split between their home (#25) and road (#2) strength, which will negatively impact their chances at making a run at a Wild Card berth in a deep NFC. St. Louis will play five road games against teams that made the playoffs last season.

Dallas: The Cowboys have the 3rd toughest schedule in the NFC East, the 10th toughest schedule overall, however, will enjoy a favorable split getting many of their tougher games at home (5th toughest home slate).

San Francisco/Seattle: The two teams that figure to battle for the NFC West title have interesting splits, which will likely favor San Francisco in their hopes of winning back to back NFC West titles.  Seattle will face the 27th toughest road schedule (SEA is #4), while the 49ers face the 2nd toughest home schedule (SEA is #31). 

Denver/Houston/Pittsburgh: These three teams all have one of the five easiest schedules this season, and I project all three to win their respective divisions.  With the Broncos on paper having the best team in the NFL it’s highly likely they at least secure a first round bye in the AFC playoffs, and very possible they secure the #1 overall seed; in a still weak AFC South I look for Houston to secure the #2 seed; Pittsburgh will bounce back in a big way this season and get back to the playoffs.
 
 

  
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