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Broncos face a difficult strength of schedule in 2023

According to several different metrics, the Denver Broncos face one of the tougher strength of schedules in the 2023.

DENVER BRONCOS, NFL Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

With the 2023 NFL regular season schedule being released on Thursday, I thought it would be a good idea to take a peak at the strength of schedule the Denver Broncos will face. It’s tough to project SOS during the offseason, but I found data that tends to show that it actually does matter. Teams that face a difficult strength of schedule tend to miss out on the playoffs.

First, per NFL Research, we have the straight up strength of schedule for each team based on the win-loss totals from 2022.

NFL Strength of Schedules

Philadelphia Eagles .566
Miami Dolphins .554
New York Giants .549
New England Patriots .549
Dallas Cowboys .549
New York Jets .545
Buffalo Bills .542
Washington Commanders .535
Los Angeles Rams .533
Las Vegas Raiders .524
Arizona Cardinals .519
Denver Broncos .517
Seattle Seahawks .517
Los Angeles Chargers .517
San Francisco 49ers .514
Kansas City Chiefs .512
Cincinnati Bengals .510
Chicago Bears .497
Minnesota Vikings .497
Detroit Lions .495
Baltimore Ravens .484
Tampa Bay Buccaneers .483
Jacksonville Jaguars .477
Green Bay Packers .476
Pittsburgh Steelers .470
Cleveland Browns .460
Carolina Panthers .453
Tennessee Titans .448
Indianapolis Colts .434
Houston Texans .431
New Orleans Saints .427
Atlanta Falcons .417

This happens to be the chart most people criticize since it is taking the win-loss totals from the previous season, which can vary wildly from season to season. So, instead, I looked over at Sharp Football Analysis for something that has a much better track record of predicting actual outcomes.

They took the “projected” win totals for each team to build their own strength of schedule. The outcome was wildly different for some teams, but not others. For example, the Kansas City Chiefs shot up from middle of the pack to the third most-difficult schedule. While the San Francisco 49ers, who were right next to the Chiefs above, plummeted the 10th easiest schedule.

The showed that using projected win totals brought results:

Are Strength of Schedule projections accurate?

Short answer: YES

- 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)

The ironic thing here is that the Denver Broncos ranked 12th hardest schedule in both cases. Compared to 2022, this is a jump of five spots. Which means, they will face a tough road to victory this season than they did last season. Sean Payton will have his work cut out for him.