If you need a good laugh, take a look at the NFL’s preseason strength of schedule listings.
Yup, that’s the Green Bay Packers sitting all the down at No. 31, thought to have the second-easiest schedule in the entire NFL coming into the 2012 season.
Now consider that halfway through the year, the Packers have gone from second-easiest to second-toughest in the span of eight games.
According to PlayoffStatus.com, the winning percentage of all Packers opponents through Week 8 (even those they have yet to play) is 58 percent, a number surpassed only by that of the division rival Detroit Lions.
Strength of schedule is based upon opponents’ winning percentage, and therein lies the problem, at least as it applies to the season in the rearview mirror. One of the issues in looking at the winning percentage from the previous season is that the numbers are skewed by the Packers’ own 15-1 record last season.
Every team that played the Packers last season had their opponents’ winning percentage boosted by Green Bay’s fantastic yet outlying 15-1 mark, while there’s no opportunity to count themselves as an opponent.
The NFL is set up to encourage parity, one of the things that makes the league so great. Teams with the worst records are given the highest draft choices and priority on the waiver wire. Those built-in mechanisms can help a bad team turnaround and become a good team in the span of one offseason.
That’s why it’s rather foolish to put much stock into strength of schedule during the offseason.
The Packers have played a trio of upper echelon teams this season including the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears and Houston Texans. They’ve also played two teams that are exceeding expectations in the St. Louis Rams and Indianapolis Colts.
Throw in the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints, and it’s no wonder the Packers have lost three games already. In fact, it makes it all the more impressive that they’ve won five games at the season’s midway mark considering the schedule.
On the surface, it might appear the Packers’ schedule lightens up in the second half of the season, but then consider they have a rematch with the Chicago Bears and a date with the New York Giants, both on the road.
They also have five games against NFC North opponents, games that can’t be taken lightly if Green Bay hopes to overtake the Bears as division leaders.
The lesson here is, don’t put much stock into preseason strength of schedule rankings. And if you have a co-worker or a friend that teased you about the Packers’ so-called “easy” schedule this season, feel free to rub this in their face. You have my permission.
Filed Under: Packers News