Fans of every NFL team always think that they were not given a fair shake on the schedule. The New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams have two of the easiest schedules this year and there are most definitely fans complaining about how that is not fair and extremely difficult.
Then there are teams that have legitimately tough schedules. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears, Oakland Raiders, Houston Texans, and Denver Broncos have five of the hardest schedules in the NFL.
1. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have undoubtedly the most difficult schedule to navigate this season in the NFL.
The Bucs will be on the road most of the time the during first two months of the season. After their home opener against San Francisco, the Bucs will go to Carolina for a Thursday night game against the Panthers, then come back home to face the New York Giants.
Then the fun starts. The Bucs will not play in Tampa from September 22 until November 3. That’s six weeks between home games.
During this six-week stretch, the Bucs will play at LA Rams, at New Orleans, versus Carolina Panthers in London, at Tennessee, and then another west cost trip to Seattle to play the Seahawks before coming back home to play the Arizona Cardinals on November 3.
This may be one of the most brutal schedules for any team to start the season in league history.
2. The Chicago Bears have the next hardest schedule in the NFL.
The Bears’ opponents have a .520 winning percentage but there are two really tough parts to their schedule.
Beginning Sunday, October 20, the Bears host New Orleans, then host the L.A. Chargers, play at Philadelphia, are home against Detroit, and then play at the L.A. Rams. That’s a tough five-game stretch for any team.
Then, to wrap up the season in the month of December, the Bears host Dallas, play at Green Bay, host Kansas City, and wrap up the season at Minnesota.
It is also quite strange that the Bears play their last three division games all on the road beginning November 28 in Detroit.
3. The Oakland Raiders statistically have the hardest schedule.
They play seven games against ten-win teams, and seven games against playoff teams; their opponents have a .539 win percentage.
There are no easy games in the AFC West and the Raiders will open at home with two division opponents in Denver and Kansas City. The Raiders will then visit Minnesota and Indianapolis to wrap up September and could well be on their way to an 0-4 start in Jon Gruden’s second year as head coach.
Including the division games, the Raiders’ road games will be at Minnesota, Indianapolis, Green Bay, Houston, and New York (Jets).
4. The Denver Broncos have the fourth hardest schedule in the NFL.
Like the Raiders, the Broncos do not have an easy start to the season as they will open at Oakland, then return home for Chicago before heading to Lambeau Field to play the Packers.
The Broncos could easily be looking at an 0-3 start at worst, or possibly 1-2.
The month of October is very difficult for the Broncos, as they will play a division game in Los Angeles against the Chargers on October 7, then two home games against Tennessee and Kansas City, one at Indianapolis, and home against Cleveland to wrap up October.
It’s looking like it could be a tough rebuilding year in Denver.
5. The Houston Texans have the fifth hardest schedule in the NFL.
The Texans open up at New Orleans, then have their home opener against Jacksonville, before going to the L.A. Chargers and wrapping up September hosting Carolina.
That is a pretty tough way to open up the season. The Texans will also make road trips to Indianapolis, Tennessee, Kansas City, Jacksonville, Baltimore, and Tampa Bay.
The Texans have one of the more difficult home schedules, too, as they will host New England and Denver in addition to their AFC South division opponents.