2023 NFL strength of schedule for each team: NFC South has an easy schedule; Cowboys, Eagles, and Patriots are among the toughest

Here is how each of the 32 clubs ranks in terms of strength of schedule for the 2023 season.

The Eagles will face the NFL’s toughest strength of schedule in 2023, so if they want to win the NFC East for a second straight year and return to the Super Bowl, it won’t be simple.

The NFC East hasn’t produced a repeat champion in 20 years, and given the strength of this year’s schedule, the trend isn’t expected to end this year. Philadelphia has the most challenging schedule for the next season thanks to their strength of schedule, which puts them at.566, making them one of just two NFL teams (the other being the Dolphins) to have a strength of schedule above.550.

Ten games against 2022 playoff teams are included in the Eagles’ challenging schedule, which is tied for the most in the NFL. In order to put that into perspective, it should be noted that Kansas City, the other Super Bowl club from the previous year, will only face playoff teams in seven of its games.

Six of the eight games the Eagles have at home this season (against the Cowboys, Giants, Bills, 49ers, Dolphins, and Vikings) are against playoff-bound squads. Seven of Philadelphia’s eight home games will be against teams who completed 2022 with a record of.500 or higher if you include the Commanders.

The Dolphins have the second-most challenging schedule; they will play games on the road this season against the Bills, Chiefs, Chargers, Eagles, Ravens, and Aaron Rodgers’ Jets.

On the other end of the range, Atlanta, with a strength of schedule of.417, has the simplest. According to the existing scheduling method, the Falcons may only face four 2022 playoff teams, which is the bare minimum.

The NFC South might be worth a look if you’re looking for a division that could deliver a few unexpected teams next season. Derek Carr’s Saints, who will have one of the easier schedules in the NFL, might be a dark horse in that division.

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The Saints’ strength of schedule entering 2023 is.427, making them the second-easiest club to play (the Falcons and Saints are the only two teams with a strength of schedule below.430).

The good news for the Saints and/or Falcons is that at least one club playing one of the two simplest schedules has made the postseason for the past SEVEN YEARS. If that pattern continues, the playoffs will be reached in 2023 by either New Orleans or Atlanta (or both clubs).

Since good teams are now playing more challenging schedules as a result of the 17th game, the strength of schedule statistic has gained some flavor. The schedule was always the same for everyone from 2002 to 2020, regardless of whether they were playing a “first-place” schedule or a “last-place” calendar. Each team played four games: four games against the first-place team, four games against the second-place team, four games against the third-place team, and four games against the last-place team.

A first-place club will now face FIVE first-place opponents after the 17th game is added, thus you’re unlikely to see a division winner with an easy schedule. The Eagles’ schedule is the most challenging in the NFC East this season because they have to face five top teams, compared to the Cowboys, Giants, and Commanders who will only play four games versus top teams.

The Jaguars have the easiest schedule out of the eight teams facing a “first-place” schedule in 2023, which is noteworthy given how well first-place teams have performed in that scenario since the NFL went to a 17-game schedule in 2021. The Cowboys were able to transform their “easiest” first-place schedule into a 12-5 record in 2022. The Bills managed to compile an 11-6 record despite playing the “easiest” first-place schedule in 2021.

The Falcons recorded the biggest victory among teams playing a “last-place” schedule this season since they had the simplest schedule. On the other hand, even with the arrival of Aaron Rodgers, the Jets, who are also playing a last-place schedule, have the sixth most challenging schedule in the NFL, which suggests that this could be a difficult year for them.

The Houston Texans, who have the softest strength of schedule in the AFC, might be one club to keep an eye on. Even if they might not advance farther, it wouldn’t be unexpected to see them win more games than their 3-13-1 record from 2022.

The Giants and Dolphins, who will play two of the five toughest schedules, are likely candidates for clubs that could regress this season based on strength of schedule.

One drawback of strength of schedule is that it’s difficult to accurately gauge schedule difficulties prior to the start of the season. Between now and the beginning of the season in September, rosters will continue to change as a result of injuries, free agency, and trades. Nevertheless, strength of schedule does provide a solid indication of the opponents that your favorite team will face in the forthcoming campaign.

The strength of schedule rankings for each team in 2023 are shown below (based on the combined 2022 records of all 17 opponents and the aggregate winning percentage).

RANK OPPONENTS’ COMBINED 2022 RECORD OPPONENTS’ COMBINED 2022 WIN PERCENTAGE
1 Eagles 161-123-4 .566
2 Dolphins 158-127-2 .554
3 Patriots 156-128-3 .549
T-4 Cowboys 156-128-4 .549
T-4 Giants 157-129-2 .549
6 Jets 155-129-3 .545
7 Bills 155-131-2 .542
8 Commanders 153-133-2 .535
9 Rams 152-133-3 .533
10 Raiders 150-136-2 .524
11 Cardinals 148-147-3 .519
T-12 Chargers 149-139 .517
T-12 Broncos 148-138-2 .517
T-12 Seahawks 148-138-2 .517
15 49ers 147-142-0 .514
16 Chiefs 147-140 .512
17 Bengals 146-140-2 .510
18 Bears 143-145-1 .497
19 Vikings 143-145 .497
20 Lions 143-146 .495
21 Ravens 138-147-2 .484
22 Buccaneers 138-148-2 .483
23 Jaguars 135-148-4 .477
24 Packers 137-151-1 .476
25 Steelers 134-151-2 .470
26 Browns 131-154-2 .460
27 Panthers 130-157-2 .453
28 Titans 127-157-4 .448
29 Colts 124-162-2 .434
30 Texans 123-163-2 .431
31 Saints 122-164-3 .427
32 Falcons 119-167-3 .417

 

Every team plays 17 games, as follows, if you’re interested in the scheduling formula:

Six games, both at home and away, versus its three division rivals.
the four clubs in a rotating three-year cycle (four games) from a different division within its conference.
the four clubs in a rotating four-year cycle (four games) from a division in the other conference.

Based on the results of the previous season, there will be two intra-conference games. The top teams in the two divisions of the same conference are pitted against one another in these games, which the team is not scheduled to play in that season. Every year, the second-, third-, and fourth-place teams in a conference are matched up against them other.
On a rotating four-year cycle, one interconference game based on the previous year’s standings will be played. These contests pit the top team in one conference division against the top team in the opposing conference division—a division in which the team is not scheduled to play that season. Every year, the second-, third-, and fourth-place teams in each category are matched off against each other. Each season, a different conference will host this match.

Here is a link to a list of all the opponents each side will face both at home and away in 2023. Each game’s start and end times will be announced on Thursday.