The release of the NFL schedule provides fans the opportunity to project how their favorite team will do in the upcoming season. For many, their estimations are forced almost entirely by how teams played the year before. That's not a foolproof method, but it still makes for some interesting discussion.
Because of the fluid nature of the NFL, it's difficult if not impossible to figure out which teams will have the easiest and toughest schedule at the outset of the regular season. Teams coming off great seasons could lose an integral player to injury (think the Indianapolis Colts without Peyton Manning in 2011) or see an older veteran or two regress (the Denver Broncos with a 39-year-old Manning in 2014).
In other cases, teams that finished outside of the playoff picture manage to improve significantly, whether via free agency, the draft or simply the current roster developing into better football players.
Because each team plays divisional opponents twice each year, strength of schedule is mostly a reflection of how the division performed a year ago. For teams in the NFC South, that means a very favorable outlook. For those locked in the death match known as the NFC West, not so much.
Below is the strength of schedule for every team as it enters the 2015 season:
|Rank||Team||Record||Opp. Win %|
|3||San Francisco 49ers||143-112-1||0.561|
|6||St. Louis Rams||141-114-1||0.553|
|7 (tie)||Oakland Raiders||139-116-1||0.545|
|7 (tie)||Kansas City Chiefs||139-116-1||0.545|
|14||Green Bay Packers||135-120-1||0.529|
|16||San Diego Chargers||132-123-1||0.518|
|18||New York Jets||125-131||0.488|
|20 (tie)||New York Giants||122-133-1||0.478|
|22||New England Patriots||122-134||0.477|
|28||New Orleans Saints||109-145-2||0.429|
|29||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||108-146-2||0.425|