Analytics Report: Data Shows Birds Poised For 13 Wins, Another Title Chase
The Eagles have the NFL’s toughest schedule in 2023 based on the combined 2022 record of their 11 total opponents.
Eagles opponents this year combined for a 161-123-4, a win clip of nearly 57%.
For perspective, the Eagles faced the 30th toughest schedule entering 2022 with a combined opponent 2021 record of 133-154-2, just a 46.4% win clip.
Opponent win percentage is an imperfect metric, mainly because teams the prior year’s record doesn’t account for offseason changes, including free agent additions or losses, retirements, trades, and other moves that can alter a roster.
But despite its imperfections, the metric remains widely used metric when projecting team success for the upcoming season.
Here is how the teams with the toughest strength of schedule fared in the last 10 years:
What Do Statistics Reveal?
On average, over the past 10 years, the team with the toughest strength of schedule based on opponent record from the prior season has decreased its previous win total by approximately one win.
If history holds true, the Eagles are statistically paced for an 13-win season in 2023 after winning 14 games last year.
Thirteen wins would likely place them atop of the NFC again, giving them another shot at the Super Bowl.
Of course, the Eagles would also have to avoid some recent statistical trends to win 13 games.
The last three teams that entered the season facing the toughest schedule – the 2022 Rams, ’21 Steelers, and ’20 Patriots – all won fewer games that season than the prior year, with the Rams – who lost quarterback Matthew Stafford for eight games – falling seven wins short of matching their previous year’s total and the Steelers winning five fewer games.
In 2020, the Patriots were embarking on their first season of the post-Tom Brady era while playing the league’s toughest schedule. On the flip side, the Eagles are welcoming back 2022 MVP candidate Jalen Hurts to their quarterback position.
Also, only three teams in the past 10 seasons who entered with the NFL’s toughest schedule actually won more games that season than the year before, and two of those teams were coming off below .500 seasons.
As for postseason, of the four teams that made the playoffs and then faced the toughest schedule the following season, two of them – the ’15 Steelers and ’21 Steelers – returned to the playoffs that season. The two that didn’t – the ’20 Patriots and ’22 Rams – are outliers somewhat because of their quarterback situations; Brady leaving the Patriots after ’20 and Stafford’s injuries in ’22.
– Sam Finkel is a staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com who focuses on analytics.
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