The full schedule for the 2019-20 National Football League season has been revealed and based on teams’ records from the 2018-19 season, some teams face a much tougher road to the playoffs than others.
1. Houston Texans
Winning the AFC South last season and facing the NFC South teams this coming season is a sure-fire recipe for the toughest strength of schedule as it sits going into the season. In addition to facing teams who won a combined 114 games in 208 attempts last season (.548 winning percentage), Houston gets the honor of starting out the season on the road against the New Orleans Saints plus facing the Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, and Los Angeles Chargers all on the road as well.
2. Chicago Bears
Truly no good deed goes unpunished. Being the only team to win more than eight regular-season games in the NFC North last season gets Chicago rewarded with the second-toughest SOS in the coming season. The Bears’ opponents combined to go 111-97 in the 2018 regular season, winning just under 54 percent of their games. The most imposing road game on the slate looks to be the Rams in Los Angeles, but the home schedule is unforgiving. The Chargers, Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, and the Saints will all visit Chicago in 2019.
3. Kansas City Chiefs
It may not look that imposing at first glance, but the Chiefs’ 2019 schedule is full of quality opponents. Those teams combined to win 110 games in 2018 or recorded a .529 winning percentage. A list of intimidating away games boasts dates at Chicago, in Los Angeles against the Chargers, and at New England. Kansas City will face the Chargers again at home plus see the Ravens and Texans come to Arrowhead.
4. Indianapolis Colts
Three teams in the AFC South finished above .500 in the 2018-19 season and it shows in Indianapolis’ strength of schedule for the coming season. The Colts’ future opponents’ records last season were 107-100-1, a winning percentage of .514. To make things tougher for Indianapolis, the Colts will face the Chargers, Chiefs, Saints, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Texans all on the road. Indianapolis’ home slate isn’t much more relaxing, pitting the Colts against the likes of the Texans and two NFC South teams in the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers who will look to rebound from disappointing seasons.
5. Dallas Cowboys
Dallas’ 2019 opponents went 107-101 last season, giving them a .514 winning percentage that is identical to Indianapolis but because the Colts’ opponents earned a tie instead of a 101st loss, Indianapolis gets a slight edge. The road to a potential second consecutive NFC East title will take the Cowboys to places like Chicago, New England, and New Orleans. Among the possible problems in Dallas will be the Rams.
New England’s 2018 opponents also went 107-101 but Dallas gets the nod here because the Cowboys’ road games look to be far more difficult than the Patriots’ away slate for the coming season.
Much often changes from year to year in the NFL so the final outlook on which teams had the toughest schedules in the 2019-20 season may look very different when the coming regular season ends. Right now, it looks like these five teams face the greatest challenge.