Upcoming Match-ups

Steelers Face Toughest 2024-25 NFL Schedule, While Falcons Have Easiest

Matt McEwan

by Matt McEwan in NFL Football

Updated May 31, 2024 · 12:40 PM PDT

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin with a concerned look on his face
Mar 25, 2024; Orlando, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin talks to media during the NFL annual league meetings at the JW Marriott. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
  • The NFL released the full schedule for the 2024-25 season on May 15
  • The Steelers have the league’s toughest schedule, while the Falcons have the easiest
  • See what makes each team’s schedule so tough/easy below

We have had the full 2024-25 NFL schedule for a little over two weeks now. After dissecting it carefully, and applying my own method for calculating NFL strength of schedule, it is clear the toughest schedule in the league this year belongs to the Pittsburgh Steelers, while the Atlanta Falcons have the easiest schedule.

Let’s take a closer look at each team’s schedule, pinpointing what makes it so tough/easy, and I’ll also offer how I will be using this information to bet NFL futures.

Toughest NFL Schedule Belongs to Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers made some of the bigger offseason splashes, as they signed Russell Wilson after he was cut by the Broncos, and traded for Justin Fields – they also sent 2022 first-round pick Kenny Pickett to the Eagles and Diontae Johnson to the Panthers. Whether it’s Wilson or Fields under center to start the season, nothing is going to be easy for the Steelers in the 2024-25 season.

According to my own NFL strength of schedule calculation, which you can dive into deeper or see where each team ranks with the link above, Pittsburgh has the toughest schedule in the NFL this season.

Here’s a look at their full schedule:

  • Week 1: at Falcons
  • Week 2: at Broncos
  • Week 3: vs Chargers
  • Week 4: at Colts
  • Week 5: vs Cowboys
  • Week 6: at Raiders
  • Week 7: vs Jets
  • Week 8: vs Giants
  • Week 9: BYE
  • Week 10: at Commanders
  • Week 11: vs Ravens
  • Week 12: at Browns
  • Week 13: at Bengals
  • Week 14: vs Browns
  • Week 15: at Eagles
  • Week 16: at Ravens
  • Week 17: vs Chiefs
  • Week 18: vs Bengals

When you look to the first four games – at Falcons, at Broncos, vs Chargers, and at Colts – it doesn’t look that bad yet. However, starting the season with three of the first four games on the road is going to affect them. Things start getting really bad when you look to the second half, though.

Coming out of their Week 9 bye, the Steelers get their final “not-so-difficult” game out of the way in Washington against the Commanders. Over their next eight games, they will only play two games against a team that is projected to win less than ten games. Those two games come against an AFC North rival: the Cleveland Browns. It should also be mentioned that all six of their divisional games come in the final eight weeks of the season. That may not mean much when you’re talking about the NFC South, but we’re well aware of how physical and grueling these AFC North matchups can be. The reason their 2024-25 schedule is deemed the toughest is because of these final eight games, which is also the toughest second half schedule in the NFL.

Things get especially brutal for Mike Tomlin’s squad over their final four games, where they play in Philadelphia, in Baltimore, and then return home to take on the Chiefs and Bengals. The only way that final stretch could get tougher (on paper) is by removing either the Eagles or Bengals and replacing them with the 49ers. But it also wouldn’t even get that much tougher, since we’re comparing teams with NFL win totals of 10.5 versus an 11.5.

In my view, there are two things you can do with this information:

  1. Bet the under on Pittsburgh’s win total (best line and price – under 8.5 for -110 – are at BetRivers)
  2. Wait and hope the Steelers come out of Week 4 with a 3-1 record, but 2-2 seems more likely, and then bet the under on Pittsburgh’s win total after Week 4 or 6

While I do think either Wilson or Fields present an upgrade over Kenny Pickett / Mitchell Trubisky / Mason Rudolph, and I even like Arthur Smith running the offense over Matt Canada, I would not be betting on any Steelers success this season.

Falcons Have Easiest NFL Schedule

Atlanta is another team who is ushering in a new era with recently signed QB Kirk Cousins – and eighth-overall pick Michael Penix Jr. The former Viking is going to have it much easier than the aforementioned Wilson/Fields in Pittsburgh, though.

Cousins and the Falcons have the benefit of the league’s easiest schedule, and it’s much easier than the field. Here’s a look at their full schedule:

  • Week 1: vs Steelers
  • Week 2: at Eagles
  • Week 3: vs Chiefs
  • Week 4: vs Saints
  • Week 5: vs Buccaneers
  • Week 6: at Panthers
  • Week 7: vs Seahawks
  • Week 8: at Buccaneers
  • Week 9: vs Cowboys
  • Week 10: at Saints
  • Week 11: at Broncos
  • Week 12: BYE
  • Week 13: vs Chargers
  • Week 14: at Vikings
  • Week 15: at Raiders
  • Week 16: vs Giants
  • Week 17: at Commanders
  • Week 18: vs Panthers

The season doesn’t start extremely easy for the Falcons, as two of their first three games come against the Chiefs and Eagles. But their second half is by far the easiest in the league, and the main reason their entire schedule is deemed the easiest in the NFL.

After playing the Cowboys in Week 9, Atlanta does not face another team with a win total higher than 8.5. In their final five games, they don’t play a team with a win total higher than 6.5.

Here’s what I’m doing with this information:

  1. Betting the Falcons to win the NFC South (best price is -105 at DraftKings; it’s as short as -135 at other books)
  2. Hoping Atlanta gets crushed by the Eagles and Chiefs in Weeks 2 and 3, respectively, and then checking in on their win total. Their current line (9.5 with -130 odds to go over) is a little too high for me. A couple bad losses could either send their line down to 8.5 or give us some better odds on the over 9.5.

Though I do expect the Saints to be a little better in Derek Carr’s second season with the team, and a pretty big improvement from the Panthers, the Falcons should have won the division last year – would have if not for awful quarterback play – and their new QB paired with a very easy schedule will not allow them to give it away this year.

Author Image