Inside the Numbers: Jets’ 2021 Schedule Strength Is Favorable

SOS. We’re not calling for help but rather referencing the calculations that every football fan does at this spot on the calendar: strength of schedule computations, whether they be for a team’s entire schedule, for a stretch of schedule, for home games, for away games.

But does SOS compute to anything meaningful?

Common sense says yes. If your team plays a bunch of opponents who the year before combined for a .550 winning percentage, multiple 10-win seasons and multiple playoff berths, that would seem to present a tougher slate than if the opponents came in with no double-digit-wins seasons, a .450 percentage and few playoff berths.

But then there are the anomalies. For the Jets, a difficult .568 SOS before the 2009 season started led to a 9-7 record and a playoff invite. Then there are the challenging .559 SOS before the 2000 season, which ended badly but still produced a 9-7 record and the Monday Night Miracle, and the .520 SOS leading to 10-6 and the playoffs in 2001. On the other end of the spectrum, a “weak” .469 schedule strength didn’t help the 1-15 Jets of 1996, and a .477 SOS didn’t hint at the 4-12 of 2018.

However, stuff happens to affect win-loss records, such as injuries, team controversies, unexpected momentum swings up and down. With all of the moving parts, there really is no logical way we should put any predictive power into a composite record…

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