2021 NFL calendar strength ranking for each team heading into the inaugural 17-game NFL season

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After 42 years of playing a 16-game schedule, the NFL is expanding to 17 games this year and if there’s one team that now regrets its vote for the extended season, it’s probably the Pittsburgh Steelers, and that. is because they face the league’s toughest schedule force in 2021.

Based on the final 2020 standings, the Steelers will enter 2021 with a schedule strength of 0.574, which not only gives them the toughest schedule for the coming season, but makes them one of only two teams. of the NFL. – with the Ravens – who will have a calendar strength greater than .550.

The Steelers had better determine their offensive line situation early as they face a brutal schedule that will include 10 games against last season’s playoff teams. Of those 10 games, three will face teams that played in the AFC or NFC Championship games last year as the Steelers take on the Chiefs, Bills and Packers.

Speaking of the Packers, who have the fourth toughest schedule, they’re the only other NFL team this year scheduled to play 10 games against last season’s playoff teams. They better hope Aaron Rodgers decides to stay.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Eagles have the easiest NFL schedule in 2021 thanks to a .430 schedule. The Eagles are the only team that has a schedule below 0.450. A big reason for Philadelphia’s easy schedule is that they only play THREE games against teams that finished above .500 last season (Saints, Buccaneers, Chiefs). The Eagles also only play five games against teams that have advanced to the playoffs.

That being said, the Eagles are one of five teams that will face the two participants of Super Bowl LV. Besides the Eagles, the other three NFC East teams and the Bills will all have to face both the Buccaneers and the Chiefs (Making things even more difficult, the Cowboys, Giants and Bills will have to hit the road for both games against the two. Super bowling teams).

If you’re wondering which Super Bowl team has the best chance of making it back to the big game, the answer is probably the Buccaneers and that’s because they’ll be facing the fourth easiest schedule. As for the other Super Bowl team, the Chiefs have the 11th toughest schedule in the NFL this year.

One thing that will change with the addition of Game 17 is that there will now be a true first place schedule. From 2002 to 2020, the schedule was inherently the same for everyone, whether they were playing a “first place” schedule or a “last place” schedule. Each team played four games against a team that finished in first place, four games against teams that finished in second place, four games against teams that finished in third and four games against teams that finished in second place. last place.

With the addition of Game 17, a first-place team will now face FIVE first-place teams, meaning you’ll rarely see a division winner with an easy schedule. Last year, the Ravens had the easiest schedule in the NFL, even though they were supposed to have a “first place” schedule. Thanks to the 17-game formula, it’s highly unlikely that a team playing a schedule for first place will ever be handed the league’s easiest schedule.

Of the teams playing a “first place” schedule this year, the Bills have the easiest schedule, placing 23rd overall.

As for the teams playing a “last place” schedule this year, the Eagles had the biggest win on the less difficult schedule (as we mentioned earlier). On the other hand, the Bengals and Lions, who both play a last-place schedule, are tied for the sixth toughest force on the schedule.

The biggest loser on the expanded calendar was Washington. If the schedule had been 16 games, the football team would have had the 22nd toughest schedule, but with the addition of the Bills as Game 17, Washington now has the 15th toughest schedule.

The Packers also had the short end of the stick. On the 16-game basis, they had the eighth toughest schedule, but now that the Chiefs have been added to their schedule, they have the fourth toughest schedule.

If you’re looking for teams that have taken a break from the expanded schedule, the Jaguars, Texans, and Falcons have all taken advantage. On the 16-game formula, the Jaguars had the 11th toughest schedule, but with the expanded schedule, they now have the 18th toughest schedule. As for the Texans, they went from 10th most difficult place to 15th. As for the Falcons, they went from the 24th most difficult schedule under the 16-game formula to the third easiest schedule under the 17-game formula.

The only thing about the strength of the schedule is that there is no perfect way to measure the difficulty of the schedule before the start of the season. Between injuries, free will and the draft, the rosters change all the time and they will continue to change until the start of the season in September. That being said, the strength of the schedule gives you a good idea of ​​what your favorite team will be up against in the coming season.

Here is the strength of the 2021 ranking for each team (2020 combined record of 17 opponents, combined winning percentage).

1

Steelers

155-115-2

.574

2

Ravens

152-118-2

.563

3

Bear

149-122-1

.550

4

Packers

147-124-1

.542

5

Vikings

144-127-1

.531

T-6

Bengals

144-128

.529

T-6

the Lions

143-127-2

.529

8

Raiders

142-128-2

.526

9

brown

140-130-2

.518

ten

Rams

140-132

.515

T-11

Chefs

138-132-2

.511

T-11

Seahawks

139-133

.511

T-13

Titans

138-134

.507

T-13

Cardinals

138-134

.507

T-15

Washington

136-134-2

.504

T-15

Texans

137-135

.504

17

Chargers

133-137-2

.493

18

Jaguars

133-138-1

.491

T-19

49ers

132-138-2

.489

T-19

Jets

132-138-2

.489

T-19

Patriots

133-139

.489

22

Saints

131-140-1

.483

T-23

Invoices

130-142

.478

T-23

Foals

130-142

.478

25

giants

128-142-2

.474

26

Panthers

128-143-1

.472

T-27

Broncos

127-143-2

.471

T-27

dolphins

128-144

.471

29

Buccaneers

126-145-1

.465

30

Falcons

123-148-1

.454

31

Cowboys

122-148-2

.452

32

Eagles

117-155

.430

If you’re curious about the programming formula, here’s how the NFL does it. According to the formula implemented in 2002 (and updated this year), each team plays 17 matches as follows:

  • At home and away against his three division opponents (six games).
  • The four teams from another division within its conference on a three-year (four-game) rotation cycle.
  • The four teams from one division into the other conference on a four-year (four-game) rotating cycle.
  • Two intra-conference matches based on previous year’s standings (two matches). These matches pit a first-place team against the first-place teams in the two same conference divisions that the team is not scheduled to play this season. The second, third and fourth place teams in a conference face the same way every year.
  • An interconference match based on the previous year’s standings on a four-year rotating cycle (one match). These matches pit a first-place team from one division against a first-place team from an opposing conference division that the team is not supposed to play this season. The second, third and fourth place teams in each division face off in the same way every year. The home conference for this game will rotate each season.

Finally, here’s a link to a list of every home and away opponent each team will play in 2021. The times and dates for each match will be released on Wednesday.


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