Earlier this week, we took a look at the San Francisco 49ers 2014 strength of schedule. In breaking it down, we used the traditional offseason method of considering the 2013 records of their upcoming opponents. We all know that holds little value, but it's helpful for discussion of who we think will over or underperform in the coming year.
There are a variety of pieces of information that can help us assess the 49ers slate of opponents for the coming year. A look at the previous year's record is not entirely useless, but it's not all that helpful. A slightly better tool is considering the Super Bowl odds for the opponents. Rather than adding up previous wins and losses, one site took Bovada's Super Bowl odds, and figured out who had the weakest to toughest schedules. We don't have a number for each team, but we do have a ranking.
Using this system, the 49ers ranked 19th. This compared to their fifth most difficult schedule based on 2013 records. Using Super Bowl odds, the Seahawks have the second most difficult schedule, the Rams are third and the Cardinals have the most difficult schedule. Here is a rundown of the Super Bowl odds for each of the 49ers opponents:
Super Bowl odds are not the be-all, end-all for figuring out a how team will perform, but I think there is something to be said for this comparison. In using the 2013 schedule, you're just looking at some past data that does not necessarily correlate across the board to the next season. With Super Bowl odds, oddsmakers need to be a little bit more precise. A long-shot is going to come out of nowhere to have a solid season, but even still, I think there is more to run with from Super Bowl odds than 2013 records.
The 49ers slate of opponents presents a variety of obstacles. Furthermore, we know that once the schedule comes out, there will potentially be short weeks and inconvenient road trips that impact how the 49ers make their way through the schedule. We saw it this year with that easy slot of games following that 1-2 start. Maybe the 49ers get that kind of mid-season slate, or maybe not. That is a bit more subjective in consideration, but it can impact how the season plays out. But for now, we've got Super Bowl odds to help us figure this out!