Thursday, January 29, 2009

NFL Wrapup: APR Strength of Schedule

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Read this for a description of APR.

How This Was Computed

  1. The unweighted version of APR (i.e., all games have the same weight) is computed for all regular season games.

  2. The 16-game schedules are collated for each team.

  3. For each schedule, every team on the schedule is mapped to its power index computed in step 1. This yields a list of 16 power index values for each team (divisional opponents are counted twice; no adjustment is made for home vs away games).

  4. The list of power index values is then averaged, yeilding a "Strength of Schedule" power index for each team.

As usual, a higher power index value indicates a more difficult schedule.

The Schedule Power Table

Ordered from weakest schedule (top) to strongest schedule (bottom).

1.239Buffalo Bills
1.244San Francisco 49ers
1.249New York Jets
1.251Miami DolphinsAFC #3
1.252New England Patriots
1.262Arizona CardinalsNFC #4
1.267Seattle Seahawks
1.268Denver Broncos
1.278Atlanta FalconsNFC #5
1.281San Diego ChargersAFC #4
1.283New Orleans Saints
1.283Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1.283Tennessee TitansAFC #1
1.284St. Louis Rams
1.290Carolina PanthersNFC #2
1.293Washington Redskins
1.293Chicago Bears
1.294New York GiantsAFC #1
1.295Philadelphia EaglesNFC #6
1.296Green Bay Packers
1.297Oakland Raiders
1.299Kansas City Chiefs
1.302Dallas Cowboys
1.303Minnesota VikingsNFC #3
1.311Baltimore RavensAFC #6
1.314Indianapolis ColtsAFC #5
1.315Houston Texans
1.321Jacksonville Jaguars
1.328Detroit Lions
1.328Pittsburgh SteelersAFC #2
1.344Cincinnati Bengals
1.346Cleveland Browns


  • The range of values is actually pretty compact; relatively small differences in schedules can make a big difference in where a team ends up (c.f. the Titans compared to the rest of the AFC South).

  • Every AFC East team is in the weakest 8, and all are weaker the Arizona Cardinals and the San Diego Chargers.

  • Every NFC West team except the St. Louis Rams is also in the weakest 8.

  • Every AFC North team is in the strongest 8.

  • Every AFC South team except the Tennessee Titans is also in the stronget 8.

  • There's no obvious correlation between schedule power and playoff appearance—the playoff teams seem to be scattered pretty evenly; and both the #1 seeds and the NFC #2 seed are pretty near the middle of the pack.

  • The Browns and Bengals placement make it hard for the Lions to argue that they went winless because of injuries, a tough schedule, and a bad team (though to be fair, the Browns got their four wins before Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn were both on IR).