Chris Ballard made some impressive moves to bolster the Indianapolis Colts 2020 playoff chances.
Frank Reich is already scheming how to best use Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman.
But if the Las Vegas-projected NFL win totals for 2020 are accurate, maybe the Colts´ brain trust doesn´t have to work quite so hard.
2020 NFL strength of schedule: Colts have the easiest ride, while Falcons face tough tests https://t.co/XL51lBZYCn
— Picks Lab Ink VIP (@PicksLabInkVIP) May 4, 2020
CBS Sports´ Jared Dubin used those projected win totals to calculate the difficulty of each team´s schedule.
And the Indianapolis Colts appear to have the easiest road to the playoffs this season.
Even though the official NFL schedule comes out later this week, teams already know who they will play.
The outlook appears good for the Colts.
But maybe not as good as it could.
That´s because division rival Tennessee has the second-easiest schedule, just a tad off the Colts.
How Do You Figure?
Indianapolis and Tennessee should have similar odds.
Their schedule is almost exactly the same, save for two games.
Because they play in the worst division (per the projections), they have an immediate advantage.
Houston is projected to win only 7.5 games in 2020.
Jacksonville is projected to finish with a league-worst 4.5 wins.
And the Colts get to play the Jaguars and Texans twice, as well as the Titans and their 8.5 projected wins.
The #Colts already knew the “who” and the “where” for their 2020 schedule. At 8 p.m. ET Thursday, they’ll know then “when.”
While you wait, here’s a refresher on the Colts’ 2020 home and away opponents:https://t.co/2EIqIh23Cy
— Andrew Walker (@AWalkerColts) May 5, 2020
The next-worst overall team is the Cincinnati Bengals with 5.0 projected victories.
As luck would have it, the AFC South faces the four AFC North teams.
Cincinnati offsets the Baltimore Ravens 11.5 projected wins.
Cleveland (8.5) and Pittsburgh (9.0) round out the division.
The AFC also plays the second-worst NFC division, the NFC North.
Green Bay (9), Minnesota (9), Chicago (8.5), and Detroit (6.5) don´t worsen the Colts odds much.
But their two random games (based on 2019 standings) help more.
The Jets (6.5) and Raiders (7.5) round out the Colts´ schedule.
And That is Why They Play the Games
The strength of schedule might give some teams an edge over others.
But it isn´t necessarily an indicator of how the season will turn out.
Washington (3-13), Cleveland (6-10), and the Jets (7-9) were among the teams with the easiest path in 2019.
San Francisco (13-3) and Baltimore (14-2) were each picked to win 8-8.5 games before the season started.
Injuries, holdouts, and luck can offset even the best preseason preparations.
Indianapolis was projected for 9.5 wins after the 2019 draft.
But presumptions can go awry in an Indianapolis minute.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a 2019 NFL MVP prediction list without Andrew Luck.
— Andrew Walker (@AWalkerColts) June 24, 2019
After Andrew Luck´s surprise retirement, the Colts projected win total dropped to 7.5.
Unfortunately for Colts fans, the adjustment proved warranted.
Just like a weak division bolsters a projected win total, playing in a top division lowers it.
But Colts fans don´t need to analyze the numbers too closely to know what 2020 will bring.
Ballard and Reich have the team ready to reward their followers.
And 19 wins feels like as good a projection as any.