In what was previously the best division in football, AFC West, the four teams are in for the hardest schedules in 2017.
The Denver Broncos lead the way by going up against their opposition who carry a .578 winning percentage. Kansas City are close behind (.576) while San Diego (.568) and Oakland (.564) complete the top four.
Unfortunately for this division, they have to play the NFC and AFC East, both of which put two teams in this year’s playoffs (stylish) one even almost had a third! And don’t forget you need to add having to play division foes twice. This could explain why Denver are about to be in for a tough time.
Denver has to play the best team in the division, the Chiefs. Slightly easier for the Chiefs as, as you know, they cannot play themselves (although it could be quite a decent game.)
Here are the Broncos’ home and away games. The time and dates of each game will be released in the spring:
Home: Chiefs, Raiders, Chargers, Patriots, Jets, Bengals, Cowboys, New York Giants
Away: Chiefs, Raiders, Chargers, Bills, Dolphins, Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins
A whopping total of zero of those teams who had the hardest schedule in 2016 made the playoffs (ouch) while seven teams that played the easiest schedules made the playoffs.
Surprisingly the Patriots don’t have that easy of a ride coming in at 12th (.514).
The Indianapolis Colts have the easiest schedule by far. They will play teams that combined for 40 fewer wins than Denver’s and Kansas’ opponents. But does that give the Colts that huge advantage? Not really.
But what we should take a look at are the sides who are best positioned to take easy slates: Pittsburgh (fifth easiest), Seattle (seventh), Baltimore (eighth), Arizona (ninth) and Detriot (10th). Detriot Lions are different to the rest. The other four have two games against a division opponent who either finished on one or two wins; Cleveland and San Francisco (may change with new coaches coming in and IF they have a good draft).
The Lions only have one against the Browns at home.
Incase you are wondering, how does the NFL schedule games?
Each team plays a home and away with its three division opponents.
There are four games against teams in another division within the same conference, on a three-year rotating cycle.
The league schedules four games from a division in the other conference, on a four-year rotating cycle.
There are two intraconference games based on the previous season’s standings. These games match a first-place team against the first-place teams in the two same-conference divisions that the team is not scheduled to play that season. The second-place, third-place, and fourth-place teams in a conference are matched in the same way each year.