Since the every team in the NFL already knows their opponents for the 2015 season, you knew it wouldn’t be long before one of these “strength of schedule” lists would come out. And as expected, the Minnesota Vikings will seemingly have a difficult time next year as they have a pretty tough schedule according to the records of their 2015 opponents during the 2014 season.
After looking at who the Minnesota Vikings will face in 2015, it is easy to see why some folks are concerned about how tough things will be. However, in a recent article on the CBS Sports website, the team will have the 12th hardest schedule in NFL next year.
Despite finishing in 3rd place in the NFC North with a 7-9 record, the Minnesota Vikings will have the hardest schedule in their division. Their opponents had a 138-118 record, meaning they won 53.9% of their games. Here are how the other teams in the NFC North compared:
- Chicago Bears: 136-120 (53.1%)
- Green Bay Packers: 135-120-1 (52.9%)
- Detroit Lions: 135-121 (52.7%)
Dec 21, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer reacts from the sideline during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. The Dolphins won 37-35. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
It is worth noting that only three wins separates the hardest schedule (Minnesota Vikings) from the easiest (Detroit Lions) according to last year’s win/loss record. In my opinion, that means that the strength of opponents schedule will have very little to do with determining the winner of the NFC North in 2015.
Plus, I believe that too much weight is put into “strength of schedule” based on the previous year’s record. Many factors can contribute to a team either struggling or overachieving during a year and throwing off the numbers. There’s no guarantee or even likelihood that the teams will have the same or similar records for the following season.
Hopefully, the Minnesota Vikings can take the divisions “hardest schedule” and turn it into a division title for 2015.
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