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Packers Currently Have Second-Toughest Strength of Schedule in NFL

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Packers Currently Have Second-Toughest Strength of Schedule in NFL

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, 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.


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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (16) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

denniseckersley's picture

THe bears still suck

calipackfan's picture

Vikings still suck

Bearmeat's picture

Lions still suck.

There, I finished the trifecta for ya'll. :D

woodson4president's picture

Bears still suck. Needed said again..

Fish/Crane's picture

I don't think Bears fans will agree with those posts judging from this poll in the Chicago Tribune today:
Best teams in the NFC poll:

jbovegas73's picture

Who gives a shit what bears' fans think?

murphy's picture

(results not scientific)

O RLY???

Mojo's picture

Let them get excited. The higher they rise the steeper they fall.

Bearmeat's picture

This is exactly my opinion too... It's gonna be fun to watch duh Bares fall apart and their fans freak out.

GBPDan's picture

The bearlys have played only one winning team, The Packers, and they got thier heads kicked in in that game. All thier victories have come against cream puffs. Talk about the easiest schdule! Even though the Pack got ripped off in seatle, they will still take the bearlys for the division title and then kick thier a$$e$ again (IF they make the playoffs)

GBPDan's picture

Plus, the Pack is missing 8 starters right now, and the bears are healthy and still bearly beating crappy teams.

Bearmeat's picture

I lived in Chicago for 6 years and have many crap eating Bears fan buddies there still.

They are SO SURE that this year is their year - conveniently forgetting that duh Bares have played the easiest schedule in the NFL, haven't had any injuries yet, and have a top 5 schedule difficulty from week 10 on.

I'd be surprised if they get to 11 wins. GB will celebrate another division championship on the Bears home field in week 15, and it'll be glorious.

So with that in mind, I let my friends celebrate in October. They'll have to eat massive crow in January, and I look forward to it. It's funny, really.

SpartaChris's picture

6* wins. The Packers have 6* wins on the season thus far, not 5.

woodson4president's picture

Bears would be good...if they had a qb.

Cuphound's picture

The Bears aren't allowed to have quarterbacks. It would violate the core of their identity.

toolkien's picture

At the risk of tooting my own horn, even a relatively simple review of the Packers' 2012 schedule showed a slate of teams whose 2011 W/L was below their true potency (while the broad view was the Packers had the 2nd easiest schedule while they had the 15th based on my analysis). And on top of which several of the teams got better. Just shows the hazards of relying on prior year W/L. Granted, it may be seem the best you've got for speculation in the off-season, but it's thin. The good news is the Packers have one of the easier NFC schedules from here on out, the bad news is they are riddled with injuries. And further, that Seattle debacle is one less mulligan the Packers have to play with from here on out. A statistician said that Seattle call moved the Packers from about an 82% to make the playoffs to a 64% chance. I don't see how that differential isn't going to hound them the entire year. No room for mistakes.

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"I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious."
"A school without football is in danger of deteriorating into a medieval study hall. "
"The Bears still suck!"