Ken's Easiest & Toughest NFL Schedules
The NFL schedule for all thirty-two teams was officially released yesterday and that has sports fans excited. Now there is still some uncertainty around whether the NFL will be kicking off in September, but it provided some momentary excitement, learning who our teams would be facing and when. But every year there is the debate of "who got screwed over" and "who got lucky" when it comes to the scheduling gods. So with that said, here is my top five toughest and easiest schedules heading into the 2020-2021 NFL season.
Five Toughest Schedules
5. New England Patriots
The Patriots start things off as they have the fifth toughest schedule heading into the season. Luckily the Patriots still get the Jets and Dolphins twice this year, which will help their record look much better. But outside of that, this is a grueling schedule for the Pats. They welcome the Cardinals, Ravens, Broncos, and 49ers to Foxborough, while also having to visit Kansas City, Los Angeles squared, and Seattle. Unless Jared Stidham is the second coming of Tom Brady, the Patriots could be in the running for Trevor Lawrence.
Record Prediction: 4-12
4. Buffalo Bills
The second team on this list is the Patriots division rivals the Buffalo Bills. They too get the Dolphins and Jets twice, plus the Pats twice. The only difference is that they have a far superior roster. Buffalo does not have to visit Los Angeles, Kansas City, Seattle or Pittsburgh, but they still play those quality teams at New Era Field. Throw in Tennessee, San Francisco, and Denver on the road and this will be a tough schedule for Buffalo. This team will still win their division, but they will be tested frequently.
Record Prediction: 11-5
3. Atlanta Falcons
Next up is a team with an incredibly competitive division and that is the Atlanta Falcons. Tampa Bay and New Orleans twice will be a battle for the Falcons, but Carolina will likely not be. Tough home games include Seattle and Denver, but what is most grueling is their road schedule. They visit Kansas City, Minnesota, Green Bay, and Dallas. If the Falcons can go .500 against those teams and in the division they could sneak into the playoffs.
Record Prediction: 9-7
2. San Francisco 49ers
49er fans better hope their team does not suffer from a Super Bowl hangover because their schedule is grueling. Firstly, their division is all solid, with the Cardinals, Rams, and Seahawks all being solid teams. They also have two tough road games against New Orleans and Dallas, as well as home games against Green Bay, Buffalo, and Philadelphia. This team still seems like they will be strong, so expect them to at the very least make the playoffs, if not win their division as well.
Record Prediction: 11-5
1. Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings have the toughest schedule in the NFL bar none. Green Bay will be good once again and Detroit and Chicago will improve in the NFC North. But the Vikings non-divisional schedule is grueling. Indianapolis, Seattle, Tampa Bay and New Orleans on the road is brutal. Throw in Dallas, Atlanta, and Tennessee, and home and you have yourself an unfavorable schedule. Expect Minnesota to have a down year unless Kirk Cousins elevates his game at the quarterback position.
Record Prediction: 8-8
Five Easiest Schedules
5. Dallas Cowboys
I elected to go with Dallas because they avoided teams like Green Bay and New Orleans in the NFC. The Redskins and Giants twice should mean at least three victories right off the hop for Dallas. Philly will likely split and then things get quite easy for them. They get the Browns and Cardinals at home, which favors Dallas greatly. Then throw in a road game against Cincinnati and the Rams and Dallas should find some easy wins throughout the year. Expect Dallas to win this division thanks to Philly's less favorable schedule.
Record Prediction: 10-6
4. New Orleans Saints
The Saints have been snake-bitten in the playoffs the past few seasons, but their regular-season schedule is favorable this year. Their division will be interesting, but I expect them to go above .500 still. Road opponents like Las Vegas, Detroit, and Chicago should provide little resistance. Home games include the Chargers, so while opponents like Kansas City and San Francisco will be tough, they have enough subpar matchups to lead them to a division title.
Record Prediction: 12-4
3. New York Giants
The New York "Football" Giants had tough season once again. Saquon was in and out of the lineup, but this team's schedule will help them improve. Washington should be a sweep and this team has the talent to knock off Philadelphia or Dallas at some point in the year. The Giants do get Cleveland and Arizona at home, as well as Cincinnati and Chicago at home. The Giants are by no means making the playoffs, but they will be better than 4-12.
Record Prediction: 6-10
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
The AFC North will be great television once again and the Steelers will relish the schedule they received this year. Cleveland and Cincinnati should provide Pittsburgh some easy wins if Big Ben is healthy. The Giants and Jaguars on the road, as well as the Redskins and Texans at home, should be a piece of cake. I expect two playoff teams out of this division, as the schedule permits it to happen.
Record Prediction: 10-6
1. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens had a great year last year but came up short in the postseason, but they will take another crack at it this year. I expect the Baltimore Ravens to go 4-2 minimum in their division, but outside of their division doesn't provide much competition. Houston, Washington, Jacksonville, and the New York Giants at home should be trouble-free. Even New England and Washington on the road should be more of the same.