NFL Schedule Release Winners and Losers
The NFL schedule release always draws big interest, even without the sports world being put on hold due to a global pandemic. However, the lack of sports made this schedule release that much bigger. An event such as the schedule release can instantly give fans hope. It however, can crush those hopes as well. Below I will name the biggest winners and losers from the NFL schedule release.
Winner: Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens have the easiest strength of schedule in the entire NFL. The combined record of their opponents last season was 112–144, which was a lowly .438 win percentage. Along with that, the Ravens face most of their toughest opponents at home. The Chiefs, Titans, and Cowboys all must travel to Baltimore to play the Ravens. Baltimore also will not be short of primetime games this upcoming season. They play five primetime games total, one being the night game on Thanksgiving. Baltimore will have plenty of opportunities this season to showcase their talent in the spotlight, mostly against inferior teams as well. The Ravens also travel the fewest miles in the entire NFL (6,310). Baltimore has the makings of a 13–3 team this upcoming year.
Loser: New England Patriots
Opposite of the Ravens, the Patriots have the most difficult schedule in the league. New England’s opponents had a combined record last season of 137–118–1, which was a .537 win percentage. The Patriots must travel to Seattle and Kansas City, along with playing both the Chargers and Rams in Los Angeles. That’s not all however, New England must also play the Ravens and 49ers this upcoming season. Couple that with two games against the Bills, and the Patriots are left with one of their toughest paths in recent memory.
Winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay’s schedule falls in the middle of difficulty when is comes to win percentage by opponents last year. The Bucs schedule ranks as the 16th hardest. That is not the main reason however, the Buccaneers are winners when it comes to the schedule release. The reason is Tampa Bay plays their most difficult games at home this upcoming season. The Chiefs, Packers, Rams, Chargers and Vikings all must play at Tampa Bay. Tampa’s most difficult away game is week one against the Saints, a team which they get the face at home later in the season. After that, it’s difficult to find a truly challenging road test. Tampa Bay got a major break in Tom Brady’s first year with the team.
Loser: New York Jets
The Jets will face the second most difficult schedule in terms of opponents win percentage last season (.533). While the entire schedule is difficult, the beginning is especially challenging. New York’s revamped offensive line will be put to the test right away. The Jets first seven games come against either above average defenses, or teams with an above average pass rusher. New York faces the Bills, 49ers, Colts, Broncos, Cardinals, Chargers, then the Bills again. The schedule doesn’t ease up much after that either. The Jets must still travel to Kansas City, Seattle, and Los Angeles to face the Rams. Add on two games against the Patriots, and New York could be left struggling to find wins this season.
Winner: New Orleans Saints
When it comes to schedule difficulty based on opponent win percentage, the Saints are sitting pretty. New Orleans has the 9th easiest schedule for this upcoming season (opponent win percentage of .490). Much like the Buccaneers, the Saints most difficult games come at home this season. The Packers, 49ers, Chiefs, and Vikings all travel to New Orleans for games. The Saints most difficult road test will either be Philadelphia, or Tampa Bay, which are two winnable games. The Saints were already thought of as having one of the most complete rosters in the league; and they just got a break which they perhaps didn’t even need.
Loser: Los Angeles Rams
The Rams are tied for the 10th most difficult schedule in terms of opponents win percentage (.516). Los Angeles also faces the challenge of playing in perhaps the most difficult division in the NFL. The Rams have to face the 49ers, Seahawks, and an improved Cardinals team two times each. Their out of division games aren’t particularly easy either. Los Angeles travels to Philadelphia, Buffalo, and Tampa Bay this upcoming season. Pair that with games against the Cowboys and Patriots, and the Rams could be left dealing with a lot of difficult Sundays.