Warren Sharp from SharpFootballAnalytics.com uses nontraditional means to calculate the strength of schedules that he says provides a more accurate picture of what a team faces.
Rather than the usual method that looks at opponent win-loss records from the previous season, Sharp uses Vegas projected win totals. He writes, "My method starts by taking three of the largest, most reputable Vegas sportsbooks (Westgate, South Point, CG Technology) to build a model creating a consensus line which factors in juice. Ignoring juice is a massive mistake. For example, ignoring juice on a team with a win total set at 7.0 but juice on the over of -150 would be misleading. My juice-adjusted win totals are a superior means of calculating opponent strength." Juice is the amount that a sportsbook charges to make a wager, so -150 would mean for ever $1.50 wagered, the bettor can win $1.
Sharp has the Buffalo Bills with the 15th easiest schedule in his model. (The team at No. 32 has the toughest schedule; the team at No. 1 has the easiest.)
Here is what Sharp writes about the Bills:
The Bills face the NFL’s toughest schedule in Weeks 1-6, including road games at the Vikings, Packers, Texans, and Ravens. Buffalo also faces the NFL’s second-toughest schedule of run defenses, which will put more onto A.J. McCarron or Josh Allen’s plate. The only reason the Bills’ schedule isn’t rated tougher in these rankings is because they play the Jets and Dolphins twice apiece. But make no mistake, this is a difficult slate that starts off especially tough.
According to Sharp, Cardinals, Buccaneers and Seahawks have the most difficult schedules. The Texans have the easiest schedule, followed by the Patriots and the Chargers.