5 Toughest and Easiest 2013 NFL Schedules
With the release of the 2013 NFL schedule, fans are rushing to see when their teams will be facing their rivals next season. The biggest question: Will my team make the playoffs? Strength of schedule has an enormous effect on playoff hopes, so we at numberFire.com have peered into the strength of each team's 2013 slate to see which team has the easiest and hardest path to the playoffs.
In order to do this, we projected out the 2013 season with the newly released schedule and compared that to thousands of randomly generated schedules. By looking at the difference between each team's playoff odds for 2013 and the average playoff odds over the randomly generated schedules, we can see which teams have the easiest and toughest roads ahead.
Keep in mind schedules are determined as follows: Each team plays the three other teams in its division twice (home and away, six total games). Each division faces one full division in the AFC and one in the NFC (eight games). The remaining two games are played against in-conference teams that finished in the same spot within their division. For example, the Washington Redskins finished atop the NFC East, so they will face the other division winners in the NFC -- the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers. (The Redskins face the Green Bay Packers as part of the NFC North, which matches up with the NFC East this year.) As a result, the worse teams should have easier schedules and vice versa.
Here are the five easiest and hardest 2013 schedules:
1. Philadelphia Eagles
2013 playoff odds: 32.2%
Random schedule odds: 22.9%
One of the biggest offseason stories in 2013 was the Eagles hiring former Oregon coach Chip Kelly. No one is more excited to see how his analytical mind will change the NFL more than us nerds. But on top of potentially exposing inefficiencies in the game, such as fourth-down decisions, Kelly is graced with a cakewalk of a schedule -- making the Eagles poised for a bounce-back season. Though they'll face tough matchups with the Bears, Packers and Broncos, Eagles fans should be salivating for games against the Lions, Chiefs, Chargers and Cardinals in Philly. The Eagles are also fortunate enough to play the Raiders, Vikings and Bucs, although they will have to succeed on the road in those games.
For the full list, check out numberFire's breakdown over at ESPN Insider now!