Each season a projected strength of schedule is released based on last season. However, the rankings are based entirely on that – last season. This year, the defending champion Los Angeles Rams are projected to have the most difficult schedule.
The opposing Rams win percentage totaled in at .567 last year. Granted that was last year. Things change frequently in the NFL. This offseason was a great reminder of that. A look at the Rams’ schedule shows that change.
NFC West changes made the division weaker
The NFC West looks vastly different. The Seahawks traded away Russell Wilson, signaling the start of a rebuild. The team figures to be significantly worse with its long-time quarterback now in Denver. Although the team was sub-par last season, the Seahawks figure to be worse than that in 2022.
Another changing of the guard occurred in San Francisco. Trey Lance is the presumed starter, while Jimmy Garoppolo might not be on the team. Additionally, all-around good player, Deebo Samuel still has an ongoing trade request.
The jury is still out on the Cardinals. They added Marquise Brown in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens, but they are without DeAndre Hopkins for a while due to a suspension. Furthermore, the team is in the midst of an uneasy situation with Kyler Murray regarding his contract.
AFC West changes increased its strength of schedule
The Las Vegas Raiders got better with the addition of Davante Adams. He is with his college quarterback Derek Carr again. The Raiders got better with just this.
Remember that Wilson? Yeah, he went to Denver in that trade. So Broncos, stacked with talent, seem to be much better than in years past.
The Kansas City Chiefs lost a franchise player this offseason. Tyreek Hill was traded to the Dolphins. As a result, there is one less player to be concerned about when the Rams take on the Chiefs this season.
The Chargers are a weapon now. The team added Khalil Mack and JC Jackson to the already stout defense. Additionally, they brought back Mike Williams. The Chargers definitely got better.
NFC South changed, but is relatively the same
The Atlanta Falcons are in rebuild mode yet again. In fairness, the team thought it was still competitive, however, the Matt Ryan trade signaled a new start to the rebuild. Calvin Ridley is suspended for the year. The team is nowhere near the middle of the pack anymore.
Mike Thomas’ latest post on IG pic.twitter.com/hhAP3kF2yn
— Nick Underhill (@nick_underhill) June 7, 2022
Saints fans took a sigh of relief when Michael Thomas posted videos of him sprinting during the offseason. They also landed Tyrann Mathieu to bolster the defense. However, Alvin Kamara has a suspension looming over him. There is an expected time frame that he will miss, but nothing is concrete until the NFL announces the suspension, if it happens.
Tampa Bay lost Tom Brady. Then they got him back. The team also lost Gronk, Antonio Brown and Suh. These are hard guys to replace. Furthermore, Chris Godwin could start the season on the PUP list, Greg Auman reported.
The Carolina Panthers improved this offseason, but the team just seems demoralized. Perhaps Baker Mayfield can inject something into the franchise, but the improvements do not seem beneficial when the morale of the team is down.
Other division winner changes toward strength of schedule
The Packers will have to go into the season without receiver Davante Adams as he is in Las Vegas now. The whole wide receiver room for Aaron Rodgers changed this offseason. He will need to find a new target of choice. The team regressed hard at receiver.
The Dallas Cowboys also lost a receiver this offseason. Amari Cooper is now in Cleveland. Additionally, Michael Gallup might not be ready for the start of the season with his torn ACL. Dalton Schultz is also reportedly not close on a contract extension with the team after being franchise tagged. Therefore, CeeDee Lamb might be the only receiving threat for Dak Prescott to start the season.
The Buffalo Bills are the 17th game for the Rams this year. The team has done nothing but get better this offseason. They bolstered the defense with Von Miller. They replaced Cole Beasley with Jamison Crowder. And that Josh Allen guy is still amazing.
Overall, there has been a lot of regression from Rams opponents this year. While some teams improved, they are mostly minimal improvements or teams that are dejected from last season. As a result, Rams fans, strength of schedule should not matter that much to you. The landscape of the NFL changed that drastically.