The 2017 NFL schedules have not been released yet, and just like every year, the week-by-week schedule will most likely be released sometime in April. However, each team knows which opponents they will face, but they just don’t know when and where they will face them. On that note, who will have the toughest schedules in 2017 and who will have the weakest?
According to a CBS Sports report, the Indianapolis Colts have the easiest path to a successful season in 2017, while the Broncos will be slugging it out with the toughest schedule. These numbers are purely based on each team’s upcoming schedule in 2017 and how their opponents finished the 2016 season.
After seeing these numbers, Colts fans should have a great feeling about next year, and so should head coach Chuck Pagano, who has been on the hot seat in Indy each of the last two seasons.
Based on 2016 records, the Colts will face the most lenient schedule in the NFL next year. So get ready to draft Andrew Luck, fellow fantasy football players, because he should have an incredible 2017 season!
The Colts will face some of the weakest teams of the 2016 season next fall, including the Cleveland Browns (1-15), 49ers (2-14), and Los Angeles Rams (4-12). Add to that, they will face inter-division foe the Jacksonville Jaguars, who finished the 2016 season at 3-13.
While a weak or softer schedule doesn’t guarantee that the Colts will have a successful 2017, the last time Indianapolis had the easiest strength of schedule heading into a season the results turned out to be tremendous. Back in 2014, the Colts finished with an 11-5 record and made it to the AFC Championship. Unfortunately, they fell short against the New England Patriots in their bid to advance to the Super Bowl.
Moving on from the weakest schedule opponents to the most challenging.
The Denver Broncos head into 2017 with a rookie coach, Vance Joseph, and the toughest schedule of all the 32 teams in the league. Johnson and the Broncos won’t face teams like Cleveland, San Francisco, or Jacksonville, but instead, they will go up against seemingly every playoff team from 2016.
Denver will face eight teams that won 10 or more games in 2016, which gives them the toughest road to making the postseason and the 2018 Super Bowl. In addition to that, all of the Broncos’ question marks at quarterback and Vance Johnson might be caught scratching his head quite a few times during the upcoming season wondering what he got himself into.
The Broncos are still loaded on defense, and even with the tough schedule they will face in 2017, they should still be a contender to win the AFC West and make the postseason. However, making the playoffs will ride on the shoulder of Trevor Siemian.
Last season, Siemian struggled in his first year as the Broncos starting quarterback. While Siemian’s numbers weren’t that bad overall, at times he looked a bit lost on the field and every bit of a first-year starter. Siemian threw for over 3,000 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2016. With all of the struggles the Broncos had at quarterback in 2016, the rumors of Denver signing Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo have been lighting up the internet for months now.
Will John Elway bring in Romo to take over the reins at QB in 2017? Many experts believe that if this move was made, the Broncos would become a Super Bowl contender once again, but is that selling Siemian short? The argument for both sides will continue.
Rounding out the list, right behind the Broncos for the toughest schedule in 2017 are the Chiefs, Chargers, Raiders, and Bills.
[Featured Image by Daniel Brenner/Getty Images]