Bad news for those who like to bitch and moan that the Patriots benefit from easy schedules. For the 2020 season, New England projects to play the hardest schedule in the entire league.
That’s what the numbers indicate anyway. We have the win-loss records for the just-completed season. We know the opponents for next year. Plug those two together, and the Patriots’ opponents clock in at 137-118-1. That’s not notoriously difficult (when compared against a typical most-difficult schedule) but it’s the best combined record.
This is not based on the AFC East being particularly feared. But the Patriots finished in first place in their division, ensuring they’ll play the AFC’s other first-place teams (Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City). And the AFC East in the NFC divisional rotation picks up the NFC West, which is arguably the best division in the league, with the 49ers, Seahawks, Rams and Cardinals.
The 2nd- and 3rd-hardest schedules also belong to AFC East teams: Jets and Dolphins.
The projected easiest schedule for 2020 instead goes to the Baltimore Ravens. Their 16 games will be played against teams that went a combined 112-144 last year, finishing with a combined 5 fewer wins than any other schedule.
The eight easiest schedules all project to go to teams in the AFC North and NFC East. Those two divisions struggled, and they’re going to meet each other.
These are all just preliminary numbers, of course. A whole bunch of teams that were bad last year are going to be good. And versa vice. But that’s where we start.
|STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE (2020 season)|