Power-Ranking Every NFL Team’s Strength of Schedule in 2020 | Bleacher Report

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    It isn’t hard to find a summary of every NFL team’s strength of schedule for 2020 based on the 2019 standings, but because the league fluctuates so drastically on an annual basis, those breakdowns are often flawed.

    In those cases, for example, the gutted New England Patriots count as a 12-win team, while the likely competitive Detroit Lions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Atlanta Falcons are losing squads.

    To account for current trajectories and offseason additions/subtractions, we’ve combined 2019 records with the most recent 2020 team win over/unders at the Caesars Sportsbook (via ESPN) to assess 2020 schedules.

    Other factors considered include the number of matchups with teams projected to win double-digit games, the number of meetings with teams projected to post losing records, and potential season-destroying stretches with little forgiveness.

    With all of that in mind, here’s a rundown of every team’s “SOS” from easiest (32nd) to hardest (1st).

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .502

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .479

    What makes it so easy: The Indianapolis Colts are one of just five NFL teams slated to face only one opponent that is projected to win double-digit games in 2020 (Baltimore Ravens at home). They face a tied-for-league-low four teams projected to win nine-plus games and rank third in football with five matchups against teams projected to win seven or fewer games.

    Most critically, the next-lowest projected 2020 opponent winning percentage in the NFL is .492.

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .461

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .492

    What makes it so easy: The Cleveland Browns face a tied-for-league-high six opponents that are projected to win seven or fewer games, and that .492 projected opponent winning percentage is higher than only Indy’s rate, which jibes with a low 2019 rate of .461.

    They do face three opponents projected to win double-digit games (Baltimore twice, the Dallas Cowboys once), but they get one Baltimore matchup and Dallas out of the way by Oct. 4, and the sailing is quite smooth from then on.

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .498

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .492

    What makes it so easy: The Tennessee Titans’ projected opponent winning percentage is higher than only Indianapolis (matching Cleveland), and Tennessee is also slated to face only one team projected to win double-digit games. The Titans do face seven projected nine-win teams (three more than Indy) and only four that are projected to win seven or fewer.

    Throw in that they have two particularly tough stretches (Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills and Houston Texans from Week 3 to Week 6 and two Colts matchups that sandwich a road game with the Ravens later in the year), and they face a tougher overall challenge than Indy and Cleveland. But the only real tough out is Baltimore on the road in Week 11.

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .438

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .494

    What makes it so easy: Only the Browns and Arizona Cardinals play more teams projected to win seven or fewer games. But the Baltimore Ravens also face a healthy six teams that are projected to win nine or more, and they don’t get a break during a midseason stretch that includes matchups with the Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, Colts, Patriots, Titans and Steelers again, all in a row.

    Still, only three teams have lower opponent projected winning percentages, none have lower ones based on 2019 results and Baltimore gets a smooth finish with the Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants and Cincinnati Bengals to close out the sked.

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .492

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .496

    What makes it so easy: The Los Angeles Chargers are one of just three teams scheduled to play as many opponents with seven or fewer wins as with nine or more (five apiece). Yes, that’s strange, but projected win totals are generally higher across the board.

    The Bolts do, however, face three teams projected to win double-digit games, and there are no easy outs following their Week 10 bye (Denver Broncos twice, Bills, Patriots, Falcons, Las Vegas Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs). Better load up on wins early.

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .457

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .498

    What makes it so easy: The Steelers’ 2020 opponents have a sub-.500 2020 projection combined with the second-lowest winning percentage in the league based on 2019 performances. Only two teams play more opponents that are projected to win seven or fewer games, and the only super-scary matchup they have in the second half of the season comes at home against Baltimore.

    Still, two matchups with mighty Baltimore and a midseason trip to Dallas keep Pittsburgh out of the bottom five.

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .508

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .496

    What makes it so easy: The Bears play just one team projected to win double-digit games and have five matchups scheduled with teams projected to win seven or fewer games (only two teams have more). What’s more, their “toughest stretch” isn’t too daunting: Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, Titans and Vikings ahead of a Week 11 bye.

    That said, a solid 2019 win percentage counts for something and keeps Chicago off the bottom rung.

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .500

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .500

    What makes it so easy: It hardly seems fair, but the defending champions merely face a .500 schedule based on both 2019 results and 2020 projections. They face just two opponents projected to win double-digit games (only five teams face fewer), and those games are separated by three months.

    There aren’t as many pushovers as the teams above will enjoy, but there are also no glaringly tough stretches for Kansas City.

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .459

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .500

    What makes it so easy: The Cowboys face an easier run than Kansas City based on 2019 results, but there are more highs and lows (two extra meetings with teams projected to win nine or more, and two extra with teams projected to win seven or fewer).

    And unlike the Chiefs, they have a potentially killer stretch midway through the season when they meet Philly, Pittsburgh, Minnesota, Baltimore, the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia again in an eight-game span.

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    Mike Mulholland/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .525

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .496

    What makes it so easy: The Lions are the last team with an opponent projected winning percentage below .500, and they face just one team projected to win double-digit games (New Orleans at home in Week 4).

    But they rank a little closer to the middle of the pack because they face seven teams projected to win nine or more games compared to just three projected to win seven or fewer (only three teams have bigger gaps). They also finish with a tough run against the Green Bay Packers, Titans, Buccaneers and Vikings, and that .525 opponent 2019 winning percentage counts for something.

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    James P. McCoy/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .525

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .510

    What makes it so easy: Despite a tough schedule based on 2019 win rates and a middle-of-the-pack sked based on projected win totals, the Bills land slightly below the league median because they face just four teams projected to win nine or more games and only two projected to put up double-digit win totals. They’re one of just three teams in the league with as many matchups with teams projected to win seven or fewer games as with those projected to win nine or more.

    There are few obvious highs or lows in a schedule that contains no deadly stretches.

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    Chris O’Meara/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .502

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .506

    What makes it so easy: The Bucs have a middle-of-the-pack 2020 schedule in terms of projections and 2019 results, but look closer and you discover some obvious advantages. They’re scheduled to meet just five teams projected to win nine or more games, and all of those matchups are spread out.

    They also get a fairly easy start beyond a Week 1 tilt with New Orleans (Carolina Panthers, Denver, the Chargers and Chicago in Weeks 2-5), and they don’t play a 2019 playoff team in any of their final three regular-season outings (Detroit once, Atlanta twice).

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    Joel Auerbach/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .529

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .504

    What makes it so easy: Like the Buccaneers, the Miami Dolphins have five matchups with teams projected to win nine or more games, four with teams projected to win seven or fewer and an overall opponent winning percentage projection in the .505 range.

    But only two teams in football face a schedule with opponents who put up a higher combined 2019 winning percentage, which is why Miami ranks beyond the bottom 10 despite only two meetings with teams expected to win double-digit games (San Francisco and Kansas City).

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    Matt York/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .518

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .508

    What makes it so easy: Only four teams face more opponents projected to win nine or more games, but nobody faces more that are expected to win seven or fewer. So it’s essentially a wash for the Cardinals.

    While the Arizona schedule still isn’t a walk in the park based on 2019 results or 2020 projections, the Cards remain on the “easy” portion of this list because their three games against projected juggernauts (San Francisco, Dallas and the 49ers again) are separated by long stretches.

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .508

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .508

    What makes it so easy: The Seahawks face just two teams projected to win double-digit games (San Francisco twice) and have an average gap between matchups with teams projected to win nine or more games and matchups with teams projected to win seven or fewer (plus-two). They also rank pretty close to the middle of the pack (on either side) in terms of strength of schedule based on 2019 results and overall 2020 projections.

    There aren’t any hellish stretches, though, so they fall just below the league median.

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .516

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .508

    What makes it so easy: It’s actually about as average as it gets. Seven matchups with teams projected to win nine-plus games, four with teams projected to win seven or fewer, just two against teams expected to post double-digit win totals and slightly-above-.500 winning rates based on both 2019 results and 2020 odds.

    Minnesota remains on the “easy” side besides there are no glaring backbreaking stretches on its 2020 sked.

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    Morry Gash/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .504

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .510

    What makes it so hard: The Packers’ schedule is identical to Minnesota’s in terms of matchups with teams projected to win seven or fewer, nine or more and double-digit games, and the 2019 and projected winning percentages of their opponents are also extremely close.

    But Green Bay’s sked is a little more front-loaded with tough outs (in addition to two matchups with the Vikes, the Packers play New Orleans, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, Houston and Atlanta in the first half of the year).

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .527

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .512

    What makes it so hard: The 49ers have that same 7-4-2 breakdown in terms of matchups with teams projected to win nine-plus games, teams projected to win seven or fewer and teams projected to post double-digit win totals, respectively.

    But their 2020 opponents are projected to be slightly more successful overall than Green Bay’s or Minnesota’s (and they were more successful in 2019 as well). Plus, they draw the Rams, Patriots, Seahawks, Packers and Saints in five consecutive weeks before their bye. That could be brutal.

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    Brett Coomer/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .518

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .516

    What makes it so hard: Same 7-4-2 breakdown here. That’s the most typical combination found in our analysis. But the Texans’ opponents are projected to have a higher overall winning percentage than those on schedules belonging to Minnesota, Green Bay and San Francisco, and Houston’s opening stretch is terrifying.

    The Texans open up with consecutive matchups with the Chiefs, Ravens, Steelers, Vikings, Jags, Titans and Packers, which leaves no room for missteps sans DeAndre Hopkins.

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .494

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .514

    What makes it so hard: The Jacksonville Jaguars’ 2020 opponents might have merely posted a .494 winning percentage last year, but that’s projected to shoot up to .514 based on over/unders at Caesars, and they draw just three opponents who are projected to win seven or fewer games.

    That lack of matchups with weak teams is concerning, as is a second half that includes meetings with Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Minnesota, Tennessee and Baltimore in a hellish six-week stretch.

21 of 32

    David Grunfeld/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .490

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .520

    What makes it so hard: The Saints’ 2020 opponents posted a losing record in 2019, but they face just three teams projected to win seven or fewer games as that rate is expected to rise from .490 to .520 this season.

    They never get a break outside of a midseason post-bye stretch against Carolina and Chicago, although their sked still isn’t top-heavy enough to break into the top echelon on this list (they meet just a handful of 2019 playoff teams).

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .537

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .520

    What makes it so hard: Only the Patriots and New York Jets possess 2020 schedules that contain 2019 winning percentages above .530 and projected 2020 winning percentages of .520 or higher. But New England plays just six teams projected to win nine-plus games, and only one of those matchups comes in the final seven weeks of the season.

    If the Patriots can survive Seattle, Kansas City, San Francisco and Baltimore in the first 10 weeks of the season, they could have a shot.

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    Aaron Doster/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .477

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .516

    What makes it so hard: The Cincinnati Bengals’ 2020 opponents might have won just 47.7 percent of their games in 2019, but that rate is projected to skyrocket this year as they draw three opponents projected to win double-digit games (Baltimore twice as well as Dallas).

    Making matters worse for a last-place team from 2019 is that the schedule is front-loaded. Rookie quarterback Joe Burrow could have trouble getting comfortable with early matchups against the Chargers, Browns, Eagles, Ravens, Colts, Titans and Steelers.

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    John Locher/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .496

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .529

    What makes it so hard: Only the Falcons and Giants have schedules with higher projected 2020 winning percentages than the Las Vegas Raiders, who are tied with the Panthers, Broncos and Jets at .529. Las Vegas draws just three opponents projected to win seven or fewer games but doesn’t get hammered by top-tier teams either (three matchups with teams expected to win double-digit games).

    Throw in that their 2020 opponents at least posted a sub-.500 record last year, and the Raiders remain out of the top group.

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .512

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .529

    What makes it so hard: In terms of projected winning percentages and matchups with teams projected to win seven or fewer games, nine or more games and double-digit games, the Broncos and Raiders have identical 2020 schedules.

    The main difference is Denver’s opponents also had a winning record last season, and the Broncos have to deal with the Saints and Chiefs in back-to-back weeks in the second half of the season.

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    Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .516

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .520

    What makes it so hard: The Rams have twice as many games against teams projected to win nine-plus games (eight) as games against teams projected to win seven or fewer games (four). While at least only three of their games come against teams projected to put up double-digit win totals (San Francisco twice and Dallas once), they have two killer stretches before December even arrives.

    They open with Dallas, Philly and Buffalo and later deal with Seattle, Tampa Bay and San Francisco in Weeks 10, 11 and 12.

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .465

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .523

    What makes it so hard: Don’t be fooled by the fact that the Washington Football Team’s 2020 opponents posted a weak .465 winning percentage in 2019. That rate is expected to explode this season as Washington faces four teams projected to win double-digit games (Dallas twice along with Baltimore and San Francisco).

    They also have seven matchups with teams projected to win nine-plus games, compared to only three against teams projected to win seven or fewer. And they take another hit when you consider they meet the Cowboys, Steelers, 49ers, Seahawks and Eagles in the last six weeks of the regular season. That’s a killer.

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    YONG KIM/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .486

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .516

    What makes it so hard: Philadelphia’s 2020 opponents were well below .500 last year, but that number is projected to rise to .516 as the Eagles deal with a league-high five teams projected to win double-digit games this season (Dallas twice along with San Francisco, Baltimore and New Orleans).

    They also have twice as many games against teams projected to win nine-plus games (eight) as games against teams projected to win seven or fewer games (four). On top of that, they travel to San Francisco and then Pittsburgh before hosting Baltimore in a three-week span in the first half of the season. Yeesh.

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .533

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .529

    What makes it so hard: The Jets don’t catch a break until a midseason lull with Miami games that sandwich their bye. Prior to that, it’s nine consecutive matchups with teams expected to contend, which is why their opponents are projected to win a tied-for-AFC-high 52.9 percent of their games.

    They’re the only team in the AFC scheduled to face just two opponents projected to win seven or fewer games this season.

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    Chris Carlson/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .500

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .529

    What makes it so hard: Meanwhile, the Panthers are the NFC’s only team slated to face fewer than three opponents projected to win seven or fewer games in 2020. But they have one more matchup than the Jets do with opponents who are predicted to win nine-plus games, and one more than Gang Green with opponents projected to win double-digit games (three in total against New Orleans and Kansas City).

    Only the Panthers, Falcons and Broncos have schedules with opponents who are a combined .500 or better in 2019 and are projected to be a combined .525 or better in 2020.

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .482

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .535

    What makes it so hard: The Giants and Falcons really take the cake. New York’s .535 projected opposing winning percentage is second to only Atlanta, and Big Blue is the only team with nine matchups against teams projected to win nine or more games as well as four against teams projected to post double-digit win totals.

    There’s never a glaring multiweek soft spot in the schedule for the G-Men, who should not be tricked by the fact that their 2020 opponents posted a winning percentage of just .482 in 2019.

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Opponents’ 2019 win percentage: .525

    Opponents’ projected 2020 win percentage: .541

    What makes it so hard: The Falcons and Giants are the only teams in football with nine matchups against teams projected to win nine-plus games and just three against teams projected to win seven or fewer. And Atlanta actually has “just” three meetings with teams that have double-digit win projections (compared to four for the Giants). But with that .541 projected win rate for 2020 and that .525 2019 win rate, you can’t deny the Falcons the top spot.

    The icing on the cake? They open with Seattle, Dallas and Green Bay in three of their first four games and close with New Orleans, Tampa Bay (twice) and Kansas City in their last five. Good luck with that!

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