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  • 2024 NFL strength of schedule rankings for every team from toughest to easiest
  • Use SBD’s proprietary method for calculating NFL Strength of Schedule
  • The Ravens have the toughest second half NFL schedule, while the Falcons have the easiest

For too long we have wasted our time using team’s record from the previous season to calculate NFL strength of schedule rankings for the upcoming season. Stop this! There are far too many flaws involved in this method.

We should be using something much more forward-looking for NFL strength of schedule instead. A handful of years ago, I came up with the idea to use the win totals put out by sportsbooks each season to determine how difficult each team’s schedule was going to be.

The league released its full 2024 NFL schedule on Wednesday, May 15, but NFL win totals opened back in late March. Here’s the NFL SOS for every team using this much more accurate method, as well as how this method has performed in terms of predicting future outcomes in previous seasons.

Note: 1 is the most difficult, while 32 is the easiest 2023 schedule.

2024 NFL Strength of Schedule Rankings

Rank Team Combined Win Totals of 2024-25 Opponents
1 Pittsburgh Steelers 154.5
2 New England Patriots 153.5
3 Cleveland Browns 152.5
4 Minnesota Vikings 150.5
5 Houston Texans 150
6 Baltimore Ravens 149
7 Tennessee Titans 148
8 Buffalo Bills 147.5
T9 Dallas Cowboys 147
T9 Denver Broncos 147
T11 Detroit Lions 146
T11 Las Vegas Raiders 146
T11 New York Giants 146
14 Green Bay Packers 145.5
T15 Los Angeles Rams 145
T15 Washington Commanders 145
17 San Francisco 49ers 144.5
T18 Arizona Cardinals 144
T18 Jacksonville Jaguars 144
T18 Seattle Seahawks 144
T21 Philadelphia Eagles 142.5
T21 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 142.5
23 Carolina Panthers 141.5
T24 Kansas City Chiefs 141
T24 Miami Dolphins 141
26 Indianapolis Colts 139
27 Cincinnati Bengals 138.5
28 New Orleans Saints 137
T29 Chicago Bears 136.5
T29 New York Jets 136.5
31 Los Angeles Chargers 133
32 Atlanta Falcons 128.5

Using 2024 NFL win totals, I have come up with my own NFL Strength of Schedule by adding the projected wins (from sportsbooks) of each team’s 17 opponents this season.

The range in my NFL Strength of Schedule rankings is from 128.5, on the easy end, to 154.5, on the tough end. The median sum of 2024 opponents’ win totals is 144.75, while the average (mode) is 144. The easiest schedule this year is slightly easier than last year’s easiest, while the toughest is not as bad as what we saw last year.

The team with the toughest 2024 NFL schedule is the Pittsburgh Steelers, while the team with the easiest 2024 NFL schedule is the Atlanta Falcons.

Who Has the Toughest 2024 NFL Schedule?

  • Pittsburgh Steelers

The AFC North sent three teams to the playoffs last year, one of which was the AFC’s #1 seed, and their worst team finished 9-8 with Joe Burrow only playing in ten games, and he appeared to be playing injured in at least a couple of those ten. Burrow is expected to be healthy heading into the 2024-25 NFL season. The Browns will also get their starting QB, Deshaun Watson, back this year, and the Ravens are expected to be among the league’s top contenders again this season.

So, things look pretty tough for Pittsburgh in their division.

Six of Pittsburgh’s games will be played against those divisional foes in the Ravens (win total of 11.5), Bengals (10.5), and Browns (8.5). But even when the Steelers get out of the AFC North, it doesn’t get a lot easier. They take on the AFC West, which projects to be tough games against the Chiefs and Chargers, and NFC East, which will bring tough games against the Eagles, Cowboys, and maybe Giants/Commanders.

Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2024-25 Schedule

Week Opponent
1 @Atlanta Falcons
2 @Denver Broncos
3 Los Angeles Chargers
4 @Indianapolis Colts
5 Dallas Cowboys
6 @Las Vegas Raiders
7 New York Jets
8 New York Giants
10 @Washington Commanders
11 Baltimore Ravens
12 @Cleveland Browns
13 @Cincinnati Bengals
14 Cleveland Browns
15 @Philadelphia Eagles
16 @Baltimore Ravens
17 Kansas City Chiefs
18 Cincinnati Bengals

Three of the Steelers’ first four games of the season will be played on the road, and their final eight games are about as tough as you can imagine. All six of their divisional games come in the final eight weeks, with the two non-divisional games coming against the Eagles and Chiefs. If the Steelers manage to find their way into the playoffs again this season, they will have truly earned it!

Pittsburgh’s average opponent in 2024 is a 9.1-win team and they have to deal with seven games against a double-digit-win opponent.

The Steelers only have to face one more projected opponent win than the team with the second-toughest schedule, the Patriots. New England finds themselves in a very similar situation to Pittsburgh within their division. The third-toughest schedule belongs to another AFC North team: the Cleveland Browns.

Who Has the Easiest 2024 NFL Schedule?

  • Atlanta Falcons

The easiest schedule in the 2024 NFL season belongs to the Atlanta Falcons. Just like above with the Steelers, their division plays a big role in this. The NFC South was awful last year and Atlanta is the only team who projects to be much better than they were last season. The Falcons added Kirk Cousins (and Michael Penix Jr) at QB, who is expected to unlock the potentials of Drake London, Kyle Pitts, and Bijan Robinson. Atlanta also fired head coach Arthur Smith and replaced him with defensive-minded Raheem Morris. Zac Robinson will serve as their offensive coordinator this year, coming over from the Rams coaching staff.

The same optimism can’t be shared about the rest of the division. New Orleans (win total of 7.5) was a major disappointment in Derek Carr’s first season with the club, and didn’t really add anything notable coming into this season. Tampa Bay (8) won the division last year with a 9-8 record and will probably be a decent team again this year. Carolina (4.5) is tied for the lowest projected win total in the NFL this season after finishing with a league-worst 2-15 record last year. The Panthers are praying last year’s first-overall pick, Bryce Young, has not shown all he has so far.

Atlanta Falcons’ 2024-25 Schedule

Week Opponent
1 Pittsburgh Steelers
2 @Philadelphia Eagles
3 Kansas City Chiefs
4 New Orleans Saints
5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6 @Carolina Panthers
7 Seattle Seahawks
8 @Tampa Bay Buccaneers
9 Dallas Cowboys
10 @New Orleans Saints
11 @Denver Broncos
12 BYE
13 Los Angeles Chargers
14 @Minnesota Vikings
15 @Las Vegas Raiders
16 New York Giants
17 @Washington Commanders
18 Carolina Panthers

Looking outside of the NFC South, the Falcons also get the NFC East and AFC West, which presents a bit of a mixed bag, as mentioned above with the Steelers. Atlanta’s average opponent is just a 7.6-win team and they only face three opponents with win totals higher than 8.5. They will play six games against teams with win totals of 6.5 or less.

Atlanta will get two of their tougher games out of the way in the first three weeks of the season, as they take on the Eagles in Week 2 and the Chiefs in Week 3. If you wanted to roll the dice on Atlanta losing both of those games, you would likely get a slightly lower line on their win total.

The second-easiest schedule in the league belongs to the Chargers, whose schedule is notably tougher with a 133 combined win total from their opponents.

Other 2024 NFL SOS Notes

  • The toughest first-half schedule belongs to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who face an average 9.3-win team during the first nine weeks. Minnesota is a close second, as they also play an average 9.3-win team each of the first nine weeks.
  • The easiest first-half schedule is the Chargers and Bears, who both face an average 7.4-win team for the first nine weeks.
  • As mentioned above, the Steelers have the toughest schedule in the league this season, and the bulk of it comes in the second half of the year. Pittsburgh’s average opponent gets 1.8 wins tougher in the second half, the biggest increase in difficulty.
  • Atlanta has the easiest schedule in the league, and it’s especially easy in the second half. The Falcons’ second-half opponents are an average two wins worse than their first half opponents, which is the biggest decrease in difficulty.
  • The Chiefs have the toughest first four games in the NFL, as their first four opponents combine for 40 projected wins, an average of a 10-win team per week. The easiest first four games belongs to the Bengals, who only have to face a combined 27 projected wins, an average of 6.8 per week, through the first four weeks
  • The Steelers play the toughest final four weeks of the season, seeing a grueling 44 projected wins from their opponents, or an average of an 11-win team each week. The easiest final four games belongs to the Falcons, who only face a 6-win team on average over the final four.

Why Our NFL Strength of Schedule Method Is More Accurate

For starters, free agency, the NFL Draft, and other player/coach movement are all capable of dramatically changing a team in just one offseason – see the 2017 Los Angeles Rams under Sean McVay or the 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Tom Brady.

Second, injuries/suspensions to star players, namely quarterbacks, can result in a good team suffering through a bad season – see the 2017 Green Bay Packers without Aaron Rodgers. If you’re going to tell me the 2017 Packers are a 7-9 team with Rodgers under center, I’m here to call you crazy.

Sure, sportsbooks can be influenced by where the money is going, and scheduling is sort of worked into their lines, but their win totals still at least reflect the current team, not the past one.

The 2018 Buffalo Bills are a great example of why using projected win totals to calculate strength of schedule is much more appropriate than last year’s record. If we were judging Buffalo by 2017 alone, they would have been counted as a very respectable 9-7 team.

However, the Bills traded QB Tyrod Taylor in the offseason, and entered 2018 with AJ McCarron and then-rookie Josh Allen under center. Buffalo should not have been viewed as a nine-win team. Their 6.5 projected wins were a much closer projection to what they actually were: a 6-win team.

Another example is the 2018 Houston Texans. Only getting six starts out of Deshaun Watson before he tore his ACL, and missing JJ Watt (among others) for 11 games resulted in the 2017 Texans posting an awful 4-12 record. But with both of those players back in 2018, they posted an 11-5 record. Regarding them as a 9.5-win team like sportsbooks suggested was much closer to the team they were.

How Can Strength of Schedule Help You as a Bettor?

No offseason NFL bets should be made before at least considering strength of schedule.

Whether you’re betting Super Bowl futures, NFL win totals, player awards, or even a prop as obscure as the first head coach to be fired, strength of schedule is going to play a major role.

An easy regular season schedule is likely to lead to a higher-seed come playoff time. And with 35 of 68 no. 1 seeds advancing to the Super Bowl since the 1990 season, it’s clear that home field advantage is significant in the postseason. That higher seed in the playoffs also correlates with winning the NFL MVP. Take a look at the last ten NFL MVP winners in the table below:

Year NFL MVP Team Record
2023 Lamar Jackson 13-4
2022 Patrick Mahomes 14-3
2021 Aaron Rodgers 13-4
2020 Aaron Rodgers 13-3
2019 Lamar Jackson 14-2
2018 Patrick Mahomes 12-4
2017 Tom Brady 13-3
2016 Matt Ryan 11-5
2015 Cam Newton 15-1
2014 Aaron Rodgers 12-4

When it comes to player awards, the average number of regular season wins for the last ten NFL MVPs is 13.

So once you have narrowed down your list of potentials for the MVP, it would be wise to consult which of your candidates face easy/difficult schedules, since they’ll likely need to win at least 12 games to take home the honor. Keep this in mind as you scan the NFL MVP odds and favorites for the upcoming season. When it comes to betting on the NFL, the newest player in town offers their ESPN Bet promo code perfect for those looking for an alternative betting app.

NFL Strength of Schedule FAQ

Who has the toughest schedule in the NFL 2024?

The Pittsburgh Steelers play the toughest schedule in the 2024 NFL season.

What NFL team has the easiest schedule 2024?

The Atlanta Falcons have the easiest 2024 NFL schedule.

What are the most difficult NFL opponents, according to the NFL strength of schedule?

The Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills, and Cincinnati Bengals are among the projected toughest opponents for the 2024 NFL season.

Archived NFL Strength of Schedule: 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018

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After working in TV, Matt turned his focus towards numbers, specifically odds. He has been with us since 2016 and serves as SBD's Editor-in-Chief, credited with creating our futures trackers, SBD's score predictor, SBD Sharp, and his own model for calculating NFL SOS, among other products.