Schedule Strength

For a while now I’ve been hearing that the Vikings again have a tough schedule heading into 2013. Many have argued that it is even tougher than it was last year, but having recorded plenty of statistics about that kind of thing over the past few years, I was skeptical. Strictly from the standpoint of wins and losses of every opponent faced in 2012, the NFC North had the toughest schedule around. Detroit was tops among the group, with its opponents averaging wins 56.72% of the time. Green Bay’s schedule was the easiest of the division, still the 14th toughest in the league though at 50.86%. Chicago was 12th toughest with a 51.25% difficulty, and the Vikings fell in at #8, with 52.03% difficulty. The chart below shows the overall rankings of all teams and the difficulty of their schedule.


The teams highlighted in yellow are all the teams that made the playoffs. Notice that the Vikings had the toughest schedule of all these teams, 6 spots higher than the next toughest playoff team’s schedule which belongs to Green Bay.

So what am I getting at? Well, using the same records, I compiled a list of schedule strengths for the upcoming season. Of course this is somewhat ludicrous, knowing that there’s a better chance that a flock of beavers is going to attack the White House than there is of all the teams getting the exact same record as they did a year ago. Some teams got better, some got worse, some thought they could get better by giving ungodly contracts to their best two players. There’s just way too many variables for anyone to make a fully educated adjustment. But, if every team’s W/L record somehow happened to stay exactly the same, here’s how the strength of the 2013 schedules would look:


As you can see, things got slightly softer for the NFC North overall, but the Vikings schedule only got ever so little bit easier. All in all though, it’s practically no different, as it calculates out to be about one extra loss for all 16 games of all 16 (256 games total) opponents we faced. And what does that mean for the upcoming season? Based on these numbers, the Vikings outperformed expectations, winning 10/16 when statistically they should have won 8/16. The same numbers for this year’s schedule say we should win 9/16, but that’s without taking any improvements or the team’s will to succeed into effect.

Knowing that these unknowns are going to help the team out, we should all be able to expect them to return to the playoffs this year, and show the league once again that they should never underestimate the Vikings.

114 comments on “Schedule Strength

  1. Funny you should write this Parody I was just looking at this all yesterday! I came up with 9/7 to 11/5… Our schedule after the bye until week 16 is pretty ugly. Here’s hoping we go 11/5 and win the division.

  2. Let’s break down the schedule. I think the Vikings will win both games verses the Lions and split with GB and Chicago. The Vikings have 3 tough road games… @Bengals, @Ravens, @ Seahawks… I think the Vikings can win 1 of those 3. The Vikings have 3 home games verses the Browns, Steelers and Panthers… the Vikes win 2 out of 3. So, that leaves 4 important NFC match ups: @Dallas, @ Giants, Wash and Philly. Can the Vikings win 3 out of 4 of those games? I think so. If my math is correct, I see another 10-6 season with a wild card postseason birth. Average play from Ponder is all it will take to get this team to the playoffs.

  3. We should go 4-1 in the first five games and we should win week 17 vs the Lions, putting us at 5-1. NOW, the TEN games in between I think we will go 5-5, 6-4 hopefully… I don’t want to jinx any particular game in that stretch with a W/L prediction, it’s too volatile. So if we end the season 11-5 that would be awesome. This Vegas believes in the Vikings more than that “other” Vegas.

  4. Im going 12-4. maybe 13-3…

    Our biggest weakness was Pass offense and injuries in the secondary. Maybe LB

    WRs are way better. Rhodes and Lacey will solidify a young secondary. LB I think is slightly better.

    Our strength Peterson behind a A+ run blocking OL. All returning.

    I think these are potential losses … atGB, atCHI, atNYG, and atSEA. Otherwise I dont think the schedule is too difficult.

  5. When is the last time Vikings front office addressed the secondary the way Spielman has? Harrison Smith(1st round) Xavier Rhodes(1st Round) Chris Cook(2nd Round) Josh Robinson(3rd Round)

    Seems Corey Fuller(2nd Round) was the last time we went and got a good DB early.

  6. 1 SEP 8 12:00PMCDT ) AT LIONS- Lions surprise Vikings and beat them. Reggie Bush has a hay day.
    2 SEP 15 12:00PMCDT ) AT BEARS First time in years, Vikings pull off a win and play hard, disciplined football after the disappointing first game.
    3 SEP 22 12:00PMCDT * BROWNS Browns, poor Browns. Vikings roll on 12 cyclinders and demolish– AP has a huge game over 200 yards.
    4 SEP 29 12:00PMCDT * STEELERS a tough game. Steelers edge out the Vikings by a touchdown. Blame it on jet lag- after all, Pittsburgh is one time zone closer to the Thames.
    5 BYE
    6 OCT 13 12:00PMCDT ) PANTHERS Vikings come back rested and ready- beat the Panthers to a raucous crowd at home.
    7 OCT 21 7:40PMCDT + AT GIANTS another tough game– Vikings fall behind at half time, but AP, Allen and others will a win near the end– by a Walsh field goal. A huge turning point– the team is bruised and battered but begin to believe after a few two disappointing losses.
    8 OCT 27 7:30PMCDT ‘ PACKERS Vikings manhandle Rodgers– the Cheese QB looks average at best, facing a rising secondary that looks like it could become the best. Six sacks.
    9 NOV 3 12:00PMCST ) AT COWBOYS another tough game– Vikings lose in a very close game.
    10 NOV 7 7:25PMCST , REDSKINS– another hard game, but at home, the Vikings will be unstoppable in their final history at the bubble dome.
    11 NOV 17 3:25PMCST ) AT SEAHAWKS a heavyweaight match up– unbelievably, the Vikings pull away with a win– fate is on our side and harvin, if he plays, becomes so frustrated and angry.
    12 NOV 24 12:00PMCST ) AT PACKERS — Vikings sweep the Pack. Yes, it’s true. The Packers barely won at home last season– only three or four better plays by Ponder and we would have won. At this point, and knowing the playoff picture is unfolding, Vikings go into Lambeau and define the soon coming changing of the guard. Cheeshead sightings on vikings sites are rarer than sightings of the Loch Ness Monster.
    13 DEC 1 12:00PMCST ) BEARS Yes, da Bears lose. Any more to say?
    14 DEC 8 12:00PMCST ) AT RAVENS– the fan base is excited but all the negative nellies come out in full force– the Vikings will choke now they say. They choke. Ravens handily beat the Vikings.
    15 DEC 15 12:00PMCST ) EAGLES An embarrassed team from the Raven game is not what the Eagles want to see– and their beaks show no majesty. At least a two touchdown victory and AP runs 200 yards.
    16 DEC 22 12:00PMCST ) AT BENGALS– a lot of Nellies come out again, but this time the tigers choke on too much horsemeat– they just played the Colts and the Steelers and are not able to match the intensity of the Vikings– the Vikings see playoffs now– and they win the NFC north with a win– they win.
    17 DEC 29 12:00PMCST ) LIONS payback time– Reggie Bush has half the game he did back in the opener. Vikings win their last game and the dome explodes — ripped and torn apart– a few hours later at indoor flea markets across the state seats are sold– and the giant steel urinals from the men’s bathrooms are seen on ebay.

      • Thanks Parody- I did it on the fly, but had fun. I will never forget standing in line for the Louvre a few years ago when I struck a conversation with the people behind me who were from Britain– when I said Minneapolis, they shouted out Vikings! They were fans. We can hope that the fan base will favor the Vikings in London, but I am skeptical– it won’t be a home like advantage- the fans will be wild regardless of which offense is on the field.

  7. The browns front 7 will not give Adrian more than 100 yards, Ponder will have to earn that win. Plus we never do well against teams that run the ball well they also have the best bookends in football so don’t expect a good pass rush. That will be a close one.

    • Yes and it’s a terrible read right now, the authors two favorite words are “forgettable” and “defying”….
      Titus, I’m no writer but isn’t it considered a cardinal sin to continue to use the same word more than once in an article?

      • Depends– repetition can be okay. The bottom line, though, is that a good writer knows and can articulate his or her choices– from organization to word choice. Or even a good writer might be rushed– my post above was on the fly. Had I been writing for a new blog, I would have spent more time on it and revised it toward perfection (key word– toward– no writing is perfect). Too much repetition can be a sign of a small vocabulary. Ha ha.


    We’ve been good against Dallas in the past, but after reading this article, I have a feeling we are going to take it to a whole new level this year. AP gets to return home and play Dallas on his dad’s birthday. What better present could AP give him than breaking a few records right in front of him?

  9. That is an EXCELLENT question, HCG….do we then call them walks ?
    Also, have they been de-flied or defiled ?
    …..But, I’m going out in the boat to catch some supper. Maybe ‘thumbs down’ can spend some time contemplating the answers. (if he isn’t too busy).

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