A look at strength of schedule

Strength of schedule comes with a huge asterisk.

It's based on how each team finished last season. And year-to-year changes in record in the NFL are expected and common. So playing a team that was bad in 2011 doesn’t necessarily ensure a break and playing one that was good doesn’t mean sure defeat.

Nevertheless, given that context, a comparative look at strength of schedule can be interesting at this stage.

And here’s the important thing for the AFC South: It plays the NFC North in 2012.

Maybe Green Bay or Detroit suffers a dip. Perhaps Chicago isn’t primed to be better as many, including me, expect. But that looks to be the toughest division in football, with only Minnesota as a less-than-difficult matchup.

In year’s past, a great record by the Colts really served to pump up strength of schedule for the AFC South. This time, the 10-6 record of the division-winning Texans doesn’t affect the numbers to a great degree, and the Colts' 2-14 helps make things “easier.”

So, in total, no one in the division plays a schedule against teams that combined for records above .500 last year.

The Jaguars and Colts tie for 14th in strength of schedule, while the Titans are 28th and the Texans 29th.

Here is the entire list: