2021 NFL Strength Of Schedule

With the NFL schedule just released it is time to look at the 2021 NFL strength of schedule for all 32 teams. You can find the NFL Bye Weeks schedule to help plan out the fantasy season once it arrives. There will be 17 regular season games played this season, starting on September 10th and ending on January 3rd. The Buccaneers and Cowboys will kick us off and both also have some favorable schedules in 2021. London games are also back and a rule change will only have three preseason games before the season.

2021 NFL Strength Of Schedule

The strength of schedule is ranked by a combination of opponent win totals, 2020 record, and Super Bowl odds. 2020 records are weighted slightly less due to the fact that a lot of teams got better over the offseason and some teams have gotten worse. We want a more forward-looking view of the strength of the schedule. The higher the number means the tougher the schedule.

SOS RankTeamsOpp. 2020 Win TotalsOpp. 2020 RecordOpp 2020 Win%2021 Team Win Total
1Dallas Cowboys139.5122-148-20.4529.5
2Philadelphia Eagles142117-155-00.4306.5
3Denver Broncos141.5127-143-20.4717.5
4San Francisco 49ers137.5132-138-20.48910.5
5Tampa Bay Buccaneers140.5126-145-10.46511.5
6Miami Dolphins143128-144-00.4719
7Carolina Panthers142128-143-10.4727.5
8Los Angeles Chargers142.5133-137-20.4939
9Buffalo Bills143130-142-00.47810.5
10Jacksonville Jaguars142.5133-138-10.4916.5
11Cleveland Browns140.5140-130-20.5189.5
12Indianapolis Colts144.5130-142-00.47810
13Atlanta Falcons144123-148-10.4547
14New York Jets143132-138-20.4896.5
15Kansas City Chiefs145138-132-20.51112
16New York Giants145.5128-142-20.4747
17New England Patriots145.5133-139-00.4899
18New Orleans Saints147.5131-140-10.4839
19Green Bay Packers144147-124-10.54210.5
20Tennessee Titans145138-134-00.5079.5
21Seattle Seahawks145139-133-00.5119.5
22Washington Football Team147.5136-134-20.5048
23Baltimore Ravens145.5152-118-20.56311
24Los Angeles Rams147140-132-00.51510.5
25Detroit Lions147143-127-20.5295
26Minnesota Vikings145144-127-10.5318.5
27Las Vegas Raiders149.5142-128-20.5267.5
28Arizona Cardinals149138-134-00.5078
29Houston Texans151.5137-135-00.5044.5
30Cincinnati Bengals148.5144-128-00.5296.5
31Chicago Bears148149-122-10.5507
32Pittsburgh Steelers150.5155-115-20.5748.5

Easiest Schedules

Tampa Bay BuccaneersWhen looking at the schedules this year, you can make the case that teams from New York, Cincinnati, Carolina, and Jacksonville will be tougher outs than they have been in the past. Houston is probably the only lock for a win on the team schedules this year. So while win totals are still lower for those teams mentioned, I think there will be some upset games quite often.

The NFC South projects as one of the easiest schedules, which Super Bowl champions have seen fairly easy schedules the year after of late. Tampa Bay is one of the more superior teams and they don’t have a real tough stretch this season, especially with the Saints losing Drew Brees.

Atlanta is in the same boat where they could have a bounce-back year. Atlanta currently has a win total of seven and they certainly have a schedule where they can clear that number if they get consistent play from the defense.

Playing the AFC South is a bit easier this season, which bodes well for the AFC East, who plays them. Buffalo will get Houston and Indianapolis at home, then travel to Tennessee and Jacksonville. Adding in that they play the Jets and Patriots twice is also an added bonus, given the Bills have surpassed New England as the superior team in the division. However, all four teams will have fairly generous schedules.

Hardest Schedules

Pittsburgh SteelersMuch like the divisions that have the easiest schedule, there are four that really stand out as having a rough draw. Divisional opponents play a big factor for the AFC and NFC West. The northern divisions are also facing an uphill climb. Starting with the NFC North, they play the NFC West. That means four very tough games against San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Arizona.

Minnesota gets a tough draw to start the season as they face Arizona, Seattle, and Cleveland starting in Week 2. They then have another draw where they face Dallas, Baltimore, Chargers, Packers, and then on the road against the 49ers. The home/away schedule is a big factor for the Vikings ranking lower than some other formulas.

The AFC North is already a tough schedule from within the division but Pittsburgh has a really tough schedule. We saw them flame out at the end of last year, and it is tough to say that they addressed those key issues. With road games against the Bills, Packers Chargers, and Chiefs outside of the division, they are up there with the Vikings for the toughest road schedule.

End Of Season Run-Ins

Los Angeles RamsI take the term “end of season run-in” from European football, where they examine the last few games of the season because it always has crucial meaning to the entire year. Teams will be jostling for playoff positions and with the last bye weeks finishing in Week 14, that leaves four full weeks at the end of the year.

Carolina could take a step forward this year and be on the cusp of a wild card spot, but the end of the season is going to be tough. They face the Bills, Buccaneers twice, and the Saints. Green Bay will face Baltimore, Cleveland, Minnesota, and Detroit. I project Minnesota to be a better team than last season, so this makes three tougher games in a row.

The Ravens have it rough down the stretch, where we could go even deeper. They finish the year, facing the Steelers twice, Browns twice, Rams, and Packers all within the final seven games of the season. With the NFC West projecting to be a four-team race, the Rams face Arizona, Seattle, Minnesota, Baltimore, and San Francisco in their final five games. Three of them are on the road.

Jason Guilbault has been writing and podcasting in the fantasy sports world for over five years. You can find his work at Daily Fantasy Cafe. He is an avid Tottenham fan, and follows the Boston sports teams. When he isn’t diving into stats, he is enjoying the outdoors or down at the local brewery.

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