To get a feel for which teams are really doing well, and which have just been beating up on weaker teams, we should look at strength of schedule. One of the interesting applications of accounting for opponent strength using a regression model is that offensive and defensive opponent strength can be analyzed separately. We can see which squads have faced the toughest and easiest opposing units so far this year.
The table below lists each team and their to-date opponents' strength ranked from toughest (1) to weakest (32). The table includes overall opponent strength, opponent offensive strength, and defensive oppoenent strength.
|Team||Opp Str||Opp O Str||Opp D Str|
The defensive units that have faced the toughest offenses so far are NO, BUF, and CIN. Look for those defenses to improve if only because they're not likely to face as difficult a schedule as they have so far. Likewise, the teams that have faced the weakest defenses so far are KC, DET, and DAL. They might appear better than they really are.
The offensive units that have faced the toughest defenses so far are NO, NYG, SD, and CHI. The Giants haven't been too bad on offense so far this year, so perhaps they'll put up some bigger numbers when their schedule eases up. NO has started with the most brutal schedule of all 32 teams. The teams that have faced the weakest offenses so far are TB, NE, BAL, PIT, and TEN. Those defenses might be overrated at this point.