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Looking at strength of schedule & strength of victory

Posted by Shalise Manza Young, Globe Staff  January 2, 2012 01:54 PM

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Now that the NFL regular season has ended and playoff entrants have been determined, it was pointed out on Twitter that the Patriots' 13 wins all came against teams who finished 8-8 or worse.

Does that matter? Well, we'll find out soon enough - in theory, playoff teams are supposed to feast on weaker opponents.

Using strength of schedule (the composite record of all opponents) and strength of victory (the composite record of teams defeated), New England was in the middle of the pack among the 12 teams that made the playoffs in the NFL.

Here's a look at how things broke down among the dozen teams whose seasons continue:

(SoS - strength of schedule; SoV - strength of victory; * - playoff team)

AFC playoff teams
1. New England - 13-3 record, SoS .449, SoV .423
Wins against: 6-10 Miami (twice), 8-8 Jets (twice), 6-10 Buffalo, 8-8 San Diego, 8-8 Oakland, 8-8 Denver*, 7-9 Kansas City, 8-8 Philadelphia, 8-8 Dallas, 5-11 Washington, 2-14 Indianapolis
Losses against: 6-10 Bills, 12-4 Pittsburgh*, 9-7 Giants*

2. Baltimore - 12-4 record, SoS .477, SoV .484
Wins against: 12-4 Pittsburgh* (twice), 9-7 Cincinnati* (twice), 4-12 Cleveland (twice), 2-14 St. Louis, 8-8 Jets, 10-6 Houston*, 8-8 Arizona, 13-3 San Francisco*, 2-14 Indianapolis
Losses against: 5-11 Jacksonville, 9-7 Tennessee, 7-9 Seattle, 8-8 San Diego

3. Houston - 10-6 record, SoS .453, SoV .413
Wins against: 5-11 Jacksonville (twice), 2-14 Indianapolis, 9-7 Tennessee, 6-10 Miami, 12-4 Pittsburgh*, 4-12 Cleveland, 4-12 Tampa Bay, 10-6 Atlanta*, 9-7 Cincinnati*
Losses against: 2-14 Indianapolis, 13-3 New Orleans*, 8-8 Oakland, 12-4 Baltimore*, 9-7 Tennessee, 6-10 Carolina

4. Denver - 8-8 record, SoS .520, SoV .445
Wins against: 8-8 Oakland, 9-7 Cincinnati*, 8-8 San Diego, 6-10 Miami, 7-9 Kansas City, 8-8 Jets, 3-13 Minnesota, 8-8 Chicago
Losses against: 8-8 Oakland, 9-7 Tennessee, 15-1 Green Bay*, 8-8 San Diego, 10-6 Detroit*, 7-9 Kansas City, 13-3 New England*, 6-10 Buffalo

5. Pittsburgh - 12-4 record, SoS .492, SoV .411
Wins against: 9-7 Cincinnati* (twice), 4-12 Cleveland (twice), 13-3 New England*, 7-9 Seattle, 2-14 Indianapolis, 9-7 Tennessee, 5-11 Jacksonville, 8-8 Arizona, 7-9 Kansas City, 2-14 St. Louis
Losses against: 12-4 Baltimore* (twice), 10-6 Houston*, 13-3 San Francisco*

6. Cincinnati - 9-7 record, SoS .492, SoV .326
Wins against: 4-12 Cleveland (twice), 6-10 Buffalo, 5-11 Jacksonville, 2-14 Indianapolis, 7-9 Seattle, 9-7 Tennessee, 2-14 St. Louis, 8-8 Arizona
Losses against: 12-4 Pittsburgh* (twice), 12-4 Baltimore* (twice), 8-8 Denver, 13-3 San Francisco*, 10-6 Houston*

NFC playoff teams
1. Green Bay - 15-1 record, SoS .457, SoV .458
Wins against: 10-6 Detroit* (twice), 8-8 Chicago (twice), 3-13 Minnesota (twice), 13-3 New Orleans*, 6-10 Carolina, 10-6 Atlanta*, 2-14 St. Louis, 8-8 San Diego, 4-12 Tampa Bay, 9-7 Giants*, 8-8 Oakland, 8-8 Denver*
Loss against: 7-9 Kansas City

2. San Francisco - 13-3 record, SoS .449, SoV .418
Wins against: 7-9 Seattle (twice), 2-14 St. Louis (twice), 8-8 Arizona, 9-7 Cincinnati*, 8-8 Philadelphia, 4-12 Tampa Bay, 10-6 Detroit*, 4-12 Cleveland, 5-11 Washington, 9-7 Giants*, 12-4 Pittsburgh*
Losses against: 7-9 Dallas, 8-8 Arizona, 12-4 Baltimore*

3. New Orleans - 13-3 record, SoS .441, SoV .442
Wins against: 6-10 Carolina (twice), 10-6 Atlanta* (twice), 4-12 Tampa Bay, 8-8 Chicago, 10-6 Houston*, 5-11 Jacksonville, 2-14 Indianapolis, 9-7 Giants*, 10-6 Detroit*, 9-7 Tennessee, 3-13 Minnesota
Losses against: 15-1 Green Bay*, 4-12 Tampa Bay, 2-14 St. Louis

4. New York Giants - 9-7 record, SoS .520, SoV .465
Wins against: 7-9 Dallas (twice), 8-8 Philadelphia, 2-14 St. Louis, 8-8 Arizona, 6-10 Buffalo, 6-10 Miami, 13-3 New England*, 8-8 Jets
Losses against: 5-11 Washington (twice), 8-8 Philadelphia, 7-9 Seattle, 13-3 San Francisco*, 13-3 New Orleans*, 15-1 Green Bay*

5. Atlanta - 10-6 record, SoS .480, SoV .375
Wins against: 6-10 Carolina (twice), 4-12 Tampa Bay, 8-8 Philadelphia, 7-9 Seattle, 10-6 Detroit*, 9-7 Tennessee, 3-13 Minnesota, 5-11 Jacksonville
Losses against: 13-3 New Orleans* (twice), 4-12 Tampa Bay, 8-8 Chicago, 15-1 Green Bay*, 10-6 Houston*

6. Detroit - 10-6 record, SoS .535, SoV .394
Wins against: 3-13 Minnesota (twice), 8-8 Chicago, 4-12 Tampa Bay, 7-9 Kansas City, 7-9 Dallas, 8-8 Denver*, 6-10 Carolina, 8-8 Oakland, 8-8 San Diego
Losses against: 15-1 Green Bay* (twice), 8-8 Chicago, 13-3 San Francisco*, 10-6 Atlanta*, 13-3 New Orleans*

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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