The proper way to calculate the 2019 NFL strength of schedule includes so many other factors than the team’s record from the previous season. Using projected win totals is a more accurate way to decide the strength of the schedule.
We will now explain why using this information is more useful. Firstly, the newly signed free agents, successful drafts and trades can change the team in a year.
Secondly, injuries/suspensions to key players can prevent good teams from having successful campaigns. For example, the Atlanta Falcons suffered many injuries to key defensive players in 2018 and because of this, their season was technically over by the middle of October.
For example, if we look at the Buffalo Bills simply based on their results from 2017, we will be thinking that they continue to be a 9-7 team. However, they traded Tyrod Taylor who is a respectable scrambling QB and they entered the 2018 season with non-experienced players such as AJ McCarron and Josh Allen. The bookies gave them a 6.5 wins line which was just about right- they finished with 6 wins.
Another great example are the 2018 Houston Texans. They couldn’t use Deshaun Watson and JJ Watt due to injuries in 2017 which resulted in finishing with a 4-12 record. The bookies gave them a 9.5 wins line which they covered with 11 wins.
The longshot offseason bets on the NFL shouldn’t be decided just based on strength of the teams but they should also be based on the strength of the schedule. An easy regular-season schedule is likely to lead to a better finishing record. And having in mind that 4 of the last 6 Super Bowls have been played by the top seeds of each conference, the best record means that you have the best shot at going to the Super Bowl.
The New England Patriots have the easiest NFL schedule and we can potentially predict that they will have a first-round bye and potentially, a Super Bowl game. The Philadelphia Eagles had a decent 2018 NFL season and I expect them to return even better for the 2019 campaign as they have the fourth easiest schedule. Teams such as the Texans and the Bears who had great results last season will have some of the toughest schedules this year and we won’t be surprised if they miss out the playoffs.