Chiefs projected to have the third toughest strength of schedule in 2023

Warren Sharp of Sharp Football Analysis expects the Kansas City Chiefs’ strength of schedule to be among the most difficult in the NFL in 2023.

Sharp always has a unique take on strength of schedule because his model adds much-needed context. He doesn’t just look at prior-year win-loss records as most strength-of-schedule rankings do. He built a model that creates a consensus betting line that factors in juice (the amount of money a sportsbook makes off of your bet). Why is juice important here? It helps understand the perception of how good a team is expected to be during the upcoming season. As teams get better, bigger money bets will come in for those teams.

Coming off of a 14-3 season where the Chiefs again finished as Super Bowl champions, they’re facing another first-place schedule this season. While they are set to play the AFC East and NFC North, they also have their own improved division and an extra game with the Philadelphia Eagles to get through. Those facts alone have many thinking K.C. is due for a tough schedule in 2023, and Sharp’s analysis seems to agree.

Their projected win total is 11.5, which is up from last season. Their current line is 11.5 wins (-105) according to Sharp. Their schedule is also the third-toughest in the NFL, ranking No. 30 in the strength of schedule. Only the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots are expected to have more difficult schedules based on the opponents they’ll play.

It’s worth noting that last season, Sharp’s projected win total for Kansas City came in at 10.7 and the Chiefs won 14 games (well over the projected total).  Of the 10 teams predicted to have the toughest schedules last year, only Kansas City and Cincinnati went to the playoffs, meeting each other in the AFC Championship Game.

The Chiefs were forecasted as having the toughest schedule in the league (No. 32) in terms of difficulty last year, but they actually came in at No. 4 at the end of the season. A lot of that had to do with how the AFC West turned out last season. The Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos both fell well short of their projected win totals, as did the Tennessee Titans and Indianapolis Colts, who both faced Kansas City in 2022.

All that said, if Sharp’s model follows last season’s trajectory, two things will be true:

  1. The Chiefs’ schedule will turn out easier than projected.

  2. They will exceed their projected win total.

Typically, this has been one of the more accurate forecasting tools in terms of strength of schedule. Yet, it feels like when your quarterback is Patrick Mahomes, forecasting simply doesn’t apply.

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Story originally appeared on Chiefs Wire