The 2021 NFL schedule is in our hands and now it’s time to start telling the future! Or, at least try to tell the future. For this article we’re going to find the Top 3 toughest schedules for the season. This isn’t as easy as it sounds of course, but we can at least get a feel for how difficult a team’s schedule might be. The good thing about the NFL is that it is so popular that sportsbooks do their due diligence in projecting win totals for the season. Those win totals can help us figure out which teams face the toughest and easiest schedules.
Win totals aren’t gospel, as they aren’t just what the sportsbook projects, but also take into account what people are betting. But, the Lions win total is 5 games while the Buccaneers’ is 11.5. They mostly make sense when you look at their teams. So I’ve chosen the hardest schedules based on win totals to see how they look under closer examination.
The Steelers have one of the more ridiculous schedules on paper for the 2021 season. After getting off to a blistering start last season, they were able to stumble into an AFC North championship, but were dispensed of by the Browns in the wildcard round. But their strong showing overall likely pushed them into a tougher schedule than they are ready for this season.
First off, the AFC North is tough. The Browns are a real contender now while the Ravens are still one of the best teams in the AFC. The Bengals will still have trouble, but they appear to be heading in the right direction. Pittsburgh also will face the AFC West and NFC North along with the Bills, Seahawks, and Titans. Add in the Chiefs, Chargers, Vikings and whoever Aaron Rodgers plays for and you’ve got a gauntlet. Iron sharpens iron, but Ben Roethlisberger’s arm is more like silly puddy at this point.
2021 Schedule: at BUF, LV, CIN, at GB, DEN, SEA, BYE, at CLE, CHI, DET, at LAC, at CIN, BAL, at MIN, TEN, at KC, CLE, at BAL
The odds that DeShaun Watson plays a game for the Texans this season can’t be good. And even if he does, the odds that the Texans can put up a fight against even average teams still isn’t good. And when you add in their tough schedule, well, bet the under.
Houston will face the NFC West, which has four teams projected to win eight or more games. The Cardinals, Seahawks, Rams and 49ers all look like automatic losses on paper. The Browns, Bills, Patriots, Colts x2, Dolphins, Titans x2, and Chargers also will be tough while the Jaguars x2, Panthers x2, and Jets all have a chance to be better this season. But those five games are their best chance to come home with a victory.
2021 Schedule: JAC, at CLE, CAR, at BUF, NE, at IND, at ARI, LAR, at MIA, BYE, at TEN, NYJ, IND, SEA, at JAC, LAC, at SF, TEN
Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders get to face the NFC East, which is good, but also must take on the AFC North and their own division, the AFC West. And just think, if Rodgers ended up in Denver. Hoo boy, the Raiders would be in deep.
Ravens, Steelers, Dolphins, Chargers x2, Chiefs x2, Browns, Colts and Cowboys all have win totals over eight games, while the Bengals are the only team they face with a win total under seven games.
2021 Schedule: BAL, at PIT, MIA, at LAC, CHI, at DEN, PHI, BYE, at NYG, KC, CIN, at DAL, WFT, at KC, at CLE, DEN, at IND, LAC