The Falcons just released their full schedule, and it, at first glance, looks extremely favorable. However, we’ve known Atlanta’s opponents since January, and their 2023 schedule is by far the easiest in terms of their opponents’ win percentage.
Still, that thought process is flawed. We base 2023 projections on 2022 outcomes without acknowledging that rosters change and players develop. A better method is using Vegas’ 2023 win totals. The house always wins for a reason; oddsmakers are good at what they do.
More often than not, teams’ win totals are very close to actual outcomes and are an excellent benchmark for projecting the strength of schedules, which resident football nerd Warren Sharp has so graciously done for all of us, and the Falcons are still among the easiest schedules:
NEW: NFL strength of schedule for 2023!
5 easiest schedules:
5 hardest schedules:
1-32 with insight & analysis:https://t.co/3WVlscL9OF
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) April 13, 2023
The NFC South is the worst division in football. The Saints’ win total is 9.5 games, and the Falcons is 8.5 wins; that’s hovering around a .500 record for the two clubs with the best chances of winning the NFC South. It’s a terrible division.
For those of you who doubt the math:
- “of the 7 teams that actually had the easiest 2022 schedules, 6 went to the playoffs (Eagles, 49ers, Jaguars, Cowboys, Chargers, Chiefs)”
- “of the 7 teams that actually had the hardest 2022 schedules, 2 went to the playoffs (Dolphins, Bengals)”
- “of the 11 teams that actually had the hardest 2022 schedules, only 3 went over their win total (Bengals, Steelers, Jets)”
It’s not a perfect science, but if trends continue, the Falcons will likely find themselves playing meaningful football in January for the first time since 2017, ending a five-year playoff drought.
Photographer: Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire
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