With the release of the official NFL schedules for every team in the league last night, football fans across the U.S. are already chomping at the bit for some NFL action!
With the 2017 NFL draft less than one week away and mini camps seemingly right around the corner, it’s pretty safe to say that most football fans are ready to begin the new NFL season right now. Just look at the buzz that hits NFL fans by simply finding out the NFL schedule, which teams their favorite squad will face in the upcoming year. It certainly shows how popular the NFL is today. Football is truly the king of American sports in 2017!
While it is still late April and we never know which teams are going to live up to the hype and which ones will fall short, NFL experts are already trying to break down which teams have the toughest NFL schedule and which teams have the easiest path to the Super Bowl next season.
According to the NFL’s official site, the Indianapolis Colts should have a clear path to the NFL playoffs next year. This theory of course is based off of the winning percentage of the Colts opponents from 2016. Indianapolis’ opponents this year had an average winning percentage of 0.424 percent in 2016, but before you Colts fans get too excited, any team in the AFC South could be eligible for this slot.
The Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars all get to play the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers in 2017, while the Jaguars also have the New York Jets on the road in Week 4. So on paper at least, these teams face the weakest winning percentage from the 2016 results.
Outside of the AFC South, the Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers have what is being called the easiest path to the postseason.
Experts at the NFL website believe that the Steelers could possibly be undefeated as they approach their bye-week on November 5 as the top half of their schedule includes games against the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars and Chicago Bears. The Steelers also finish the season against the Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns, two games that look very winnable.
Now how about the toughest schedules out there?
Well, that badge of honor belongs to the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys.
The Sporting News indicates that the Broncos and new head coach Vance Joseph are going to have the bumpiest road in terms of making it to the NFL playoffs in 2017.
“The NFL had no mercy on the Denver Broncos in their 2017 schedule the Sporting News stated. The strength of schedule was challenging enough — the hardest in the league. They have to climb through two teams that showed themselves as title contenders last season when healthy. And they have, well, issues at quarterback, that may or may not be resolved this year.”
The road back to the playoffs for the Broncos will be bumpy to say the least, as they will face a schedule that boasts opponents with a 0.578 winning percentage from 2016. The good news for Denver is that they will start and finish the season at home. The bad news is if they do make a run towards the NFL playoffs, they still will most likely have the New England Patriots waiting for them at the end of the tunnel.
The Denver Broncos will have five prime time match-ups and a Week 2 battle at home against the Dallas Cowboys.
Speaking of the Dallas Cowboys, they will be the team appearing most on national TV in 2017 during the regular season NFL schedule. With six of their 16 games set to be played on Sunday, Monday or Thursday night, if you are a fan of Big D, you will be even more excited for the season than normal. As the schedule stands now, the Cowboys only have two of their games scheduled for a 1 p.m. ET kick off.
Dallas will be hoping Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott won’t suffer a sophomore slump in 2017, as they prep for one of the toughest NFL schedules in the NFL.
The Cowboys will face a schedule that has a winning percentage just a bit lower than Denver’s and by the looks of it, they may have the toughest December in the NFL schedule overall. Dallas has the New York Giants and Oakland Raiders on the road the first two weekends in December, with a home game against the Seattle Seahawks in the third week. They finish the month in Philadelphia against the Eagles.
The NFL schedule release is like a New Year’s Eve celebration for pigskin fans, so take a deep breath NFL fans, the preseason is just a little over three months away!
[Featured Image by Patrick Smith/Getty Images]