Blame The NFC South (Again)

May 16th, 2024

Playing games with math.

Pretty soon Joe might just start calling the NFC South division “Carrie.” Because people won’t stop tormenting the division.

But this time, it is warranted and undeniable, so “Carrie” may not be applicable. You know, math.

Per Jenna Laine of ESPN, the reason why the Bucs have what is believed to be an easy schedule is the strength of schedule, if calculated by teams’ win percentage from the previous season.

The Bucs play the defending AFC, AFC West and Super Bowl champion Chiefs, the defending NFC and NFC West champion San Francisco 49ers, the NFC North champion Detroit Lions, the AFC North champion Ravens and the NFC East champion Cowboys. Yet, they are tied for the fifth easiest schedule (0.478) based on opponents’ win-loss records last year. It’s largely because the NFC South was so weak last year, as shown by the Falcons and New Orleans Saints being tied for the league’s easiest schedule (0.453).

You can’t deny math. But, ah ha! You can deny twisting numbers.

It’s faulty to use the previous season’s win percentages to calculate strength of schedule. Handicapper turned statgeek Warren Sharp always argues this point.

Because there is so much annual roster turnover, teams often are very different from the previous season. So the win percentage can be misleading.

But yeah, if you base strength of schedule strictly on win percentage from the previous season, then it’s easy to see how the NFC South helped set up the Bucs’ easy schedule.

17 Responses to “Blame The NFC South (Again)”

  1. Lt. Dan Says:

    Dang! Way to dredge up “Carrie” Joe’s. Welp…I guess I won’t sleep to soundly for the rest of the week.

  2. heyjude Says:

    Agree with Lt. Dan. I love scary movies but the original Carrie still gives me chills and nightmares. Hadn’t thought about it for awhile, until now.

    I wouldn’t say our schedule is easy and agree the calculations from the previous season will not be the same. New rules, new rosters, new coaches, et al.

  3. JimBobBuc Says:

    I like the disrespect for the division early in the year, maybe some teams will under-rate the Bucs. With the tough schedule, we need to improve from 4-2 to 6-0 in the division. Claw our way into the playoffs and then who knows?

  4. Capt Ahab Says:

    It’s not disrespect, it’s factual. When a team wins the division hovering around a .500 record three years n a row, That’s the definition of a weak division.

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    In reality SOS doesn’t matter a hoot; it’s just fodder for the media. You play 1 game at a time, and if you’re not prepared & motivated, you’ll get your butt handed to you. Still remember in 2022 when the lowly (1-5 at the time) Panthers, led by PJ Walker, whooped us (3-3 at the time) 21-3, led by Tom Brady. Take nothing for granted.

  6. Doc Says:

    “Joe might just start calling the NFC South division ‘Carrie.’ Because people won’t stop tormenting the division.”

    Or, Yoko Ono.

  7. Bojim Says:

    Been a fan since 76. Used to being disrespected constantly. Even by Bucs fans. No biggie anymore.

  8. D Cone Says:

    Divisions are a group of teams.
    Group NFCW win rate .514
    Group NFCN win rate .514
    Group NFCE win rate .500
    Group NFCS win rate .397

    Do you think the Giants wouldn’t like to have had two games against the Panthers
    last season.

    Comes down to 17 games and all can be won or lost.
    Panthers lost 8 one score games in 2023 and would have been 9 if a TD had not been called back in week 17. With Panthers defensive coordinator coming back with two straight years of success (Denver and Carolina) Should Canales create even a resemblance of an Offense Bucs will have to take the two wins off the board before the season even starts.

    Carolina win/loss record is the reason for the Bucs strength of schedule and could be the reason the NFCS breaks .400 for the Division as a whole.

  9. PSL Bob Says:

    Joe, I understand your logic, yet it is done all the time, and I’m sure you’ve been guilty of it in the past. For example when comparing an upcoming game, it’s said that Team A has beaten Team B, four out of the last five matchups. Yet Team A this year is totally different from Team A four five years ago. The same applies to Team B. Players certainly turn over, coaches may have changed over that period, and coordinators most likely have changed. So why make comparisons. Yet there’s something alluring about statistics, even if the comparisons don’t make sense.

  10. SlyPirate Says:


    If the Bucs win both games vs Atlanta, their playoff hopes are DONE on Week 8.

  11. bucnjim Says:

    Vegas will give you the best strength of schedule for 2024

  12. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Defense Rules Says
    “In reality SOS doesn’t matter a hoot; it’s just fodder for the media.”

    Welcome to your opinion, of course, but I think it matters a lot. I believe a weak schedule is why Bowels still has his job.

  13. D-Rome Says:

    Strength of schedule talk is dumb. If this was a valid talking point then Brady’s entire career in New England could have an asterisk because the AFC Least was a very weak division.

  14. Dave Pear Says:

    It’s not too late for Jason to force Todd to hire a full time defensive coordinator so Todd can focus on the bigger picture, like, reversing his losing record with two NFL teams.

  15. Defense Rules Says:

    Bonzai … ‘I believe a weak schedule is why Bowels still has his job.’

    And you’re welcome to your opinion also Bonzai, but every NFL coach faces a similar issue: you play the team in front of you 17 times in the regular season. I’m not of the school that believes in ‘gimmies’ at the NFL level, and I certainly don’t believe in ‘mulligans’. Each game stands on its own merit.

    Having the best record and making the post-season requires beating the teams that ‘supposed’ to beat, as well as beating some who are ‘supposed’ to beat you. IMO it especially requires doing well in your own division. Last season the NFC South was supposedly weak, but if the Bucs hadn’t gone 4-2 in those 6 games, we wouldn’t have made the playoffs. Same thing in 2020, 2021 & 2022 when we also went 4-2 in our division and made the playoffs.

  16. unbelievable Says:

    Funny how a weak division didn’t stop sports media from every slobbering over the NFC (L)east all those years. Same with AFC East, where it was the Patriots and no one else.

    Ah well, who really cares? Just go and win on Sundays to shut em all up.

  17. BakerBucs says duh Says:

    WEAK? R we not playing lions,chiefs,49er,s,Ravens I mean whose left Bills they weren’t so scary last season,we got the goods we need to put the chiefs out of their misery they b toast


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