Strength of schedule -- rushing

July 10, 2013

Bucs, Patriots face easiest schedules against the run

If you customize Strength of Schedule to look only at rushing production, Tampa Bay and New England project to play the easiest schedules. The Giants and Lions project to play the hardest.

Hard to believe, but the 16 teams the Giants will play allowed 69 fewer rushing touchdowns last year than the 16 teams that will play the other tenant in that stadium.

The Jets will play their games against teams that allowed a league-high 234 rushing touchdowns last year. The Giants are at the exact other end of the scale; their opponents allowed only 165.

Maybe it's time to re-visit those rankings of Chris Ivory versus Andre Brown and David Wilson. Ivory looks pretty good, and he's more of a one-back guy, while Brown and Wilson are definitely splitting time.

Anyway, it's all part of the preseason process. You take the Strength of Schedule concept and apply it solely to rushing. Take the rushing yards and touchdowns allowed by each defense, then see which teams project to play the easiest schedules for rushing (using the system of 1 point for every 10 yards and 6 points for each touchdown).

The Bucs, Patriots and Jets look like the big winners, while the Dolphins, Panthers and Seahawks are on the next tier.

The Giants, Lions and Eagles on paper should have the hardest schedules, with Minnesota, Washington and Dallas also near the bottom.

All of these numbers, of course, are based on what defenses did LAST YEAR. Many defenses will be dramatically better or worse, causing a reshuffling. But it's one way to look at it.

Strength of Schedule -- Rushing
YardsTDRPPG
Tampa Bay31,69322317.6
New England31,18423117.6
NY Jets30,87023417.5
Miami30,57923317.4
Carolina30,59722217.2
Seattle30,72421817.1
Buffalo30,53821717.0
Pittsburgh30,33821917.0
Jacksonville30,45721216.9
Houston30,49821116.9
San Francisco30,33421116.8
Arizona29,85221516.7
Indianapolis30,11920616.6
Tennessee30,15120416.6
Kansas City29,96420616.5
Atlanta29,57320916.5
St. Louis30,09119916.4
Denver29,83720116.4
New Orleans29,22620916.3
San Diego29,96819616.3
Cincinnati29,58319816.2
Cleveland29,29019816.1
Chicago29,04919115.8
Baltimore28,73019015.7
Oakland28,89017615.4
Green Bay28,45518315.4
Dallas28,78117215.3
Washington28,78516815.2
Minnesota28,21216614.9
Philadelphia27,80616714.8
Detroit27,79616614.7
NY Giants27,61416514.7

Tomorrow: Strength of schedule for passing

--Ian Allan