The NFL will announce full schedules in April, but before then, we can start to assess just how strong or weak the 49ers list of opponents will be for the 2017 season. There are numerous ways to measure strength of schedule, but the first one that is always available is opponent wins and losses the previous season. Folks will take the 2016 records of opponents, and use that to rank how easy or difficult a given schedule is going to be. Teams can change dramatically in the offseason, so there is only so much value to take from it, but it is still an interesting point of discussion.
The folks at Blogging The Boys put together a complete ranking of strength of schedule looking at three measuring sticks. They include opponent win percentage, number of 9+ win opponents, and point differential. The 49ers rankings in each category are as follows:
Opponent win percentage: 14th (.502)
Number of 9+ win opponents: t-24th (6 - tied with 9 teams)
Point differential: 15th (-6)
A year ago, the 49ers entered the offseason with a list of opponents that was tied for first in opponent win percentage, tied for fourth in 9+ win opponents, and No. 1 by a long shot in point differential. The 2017 numbers above reflect how the season ended in comparison. They went from No. 1 to No. 14 in opponent win percentage and No. 1 to No. 15 in point differential.
Heading into last offseason, the 49ers had the 15-1 Carolina Panthers and 10-6 New York Jets on the schedule. They had a playoff team in the Arizona Cardinals that fell apart. They had a Dallas Cowboys team that was coming off a miserable season. They had a Bucs team that was improving, but still looking to take a sizable step forward.
Plenty will change. Some teams will get considerably better, some will get considerably worse. We’ll look at it in more depth as the offseason moves along, but we already know it will happen with the 49ers 2017 list of opponents. Here is the full list.
Home: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks.
Away: Philadelphia Eagles, Washington, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears, Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks.