Each year, the release of the NFL regular-season schedule comes with surprises in terms of dates for each team's 16 games, and the order in which those games will fall on the schedule. What does not come as a surprise with the NFL schedule release, though, is the strength of schedule for all 32 teams.
The teams with the toughest and easiest schedules for 2019 — based on their 2019 opponents' win percentage from last season — were determined at the conclusion of the 2018 season. On the last day of the year, the NFL released the complete list of home and any matchups for each team.
The NFL schedule formula, which was implemented in 2002, ensures that all teams will play each other on a rotating basis. Each team plays the four teams from another division within its conference on a rotating, three-year cycle; and each team plays the four teams from a division in the other conference on a rotating, four-year cycle.
In addition to those schedule rotations, each team plays two intraconference games based on the prior year's standings. These games match a first-place team against the first-place teams in the two same-conference divisions the team is not scheduled to play that season. The second-place, third-place, and fourth-place teams in a conference are matched in the same way each year.
For example, in 2019, the AFC West is matched up against the AFC South and the NFC North, two divisions stacked with solid teams. That's part of the reason the Raiders and Broncos have the toughest 2019 schedules in the NFL based on their opponents' win percentage from last season.
The AFC South, matched up this season against the AFC West and NFC South, houses the teams with the third- and fourth-toughest schedules in 2019, the Jaguars and Texans, respectively. As for the Bears, the team with the fifth toughest schedule in 2019, in addition to their games against division rivals, NFC East teams and AFC West teams, they have to play the Rams and Saints as part of their first-place schedule.
Below is a ranking of all 32 NFL teams based on strength of schedule for 2019, with the toughest schedule ranking first and the easiest ranking last.
|Rank||Team||Opponents' win % last season|
|6.||Kansas City Chiefs||.520|
|11.||San Francisco 49ers||.510|
|12.||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||.508|
|14.||Green Bay Packers||.504|
|17.||Los Angeles Chargers||.502|
|22.||New Orleans Saints||.488|
|28.||New York Jets||.473|
|29.||New York Giants||.473|
|30.||Los Angeles Rams||.473|
|31.||New England Patriots||.473|
Some interesting nuggets regarding the NFL strength of schedule for all 32 teams in 2019:
Below is the four-step formula the NFL uses to determine each team's home and away opponents and, therefore, the strength of schedule for all 32 teams in a given season: