NFL Schedule Release: Ranking the 10 Toughest Roads to the Playoffs

Ranking the 10 Toughest 2014 NFL Schedules

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It's crazy to think how big the NFL has gotten over the past few years. We're to the point where the league's schedule release is a huge deal. Fans flock to their computers and TVs minutes after the schedules become available and it's a major topic of discussion in the days that follow.

One topic that gets a lot of talk is strength of schedule. Here's a look at the 10 most difficult paths to the playoffs in 2014:

10. Kansas City Chiefs

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10. Kansas City Chiefs

184894457JS00056_Denver_Bro

The Chiefs technically have the 7th most difficult schedule in 2014, facing opponents with a combined 143-133 record from 2013. They start their season on a brutal note, with three of their first five games being against the Broncos, Patriots and 49ers.

9. San Diego Chargers

San Diego Chargers: 5 Biggest Breakout Candidates for 2014 Season
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9. San Diego Chargers

San Diego Chargers: 5 Biggest Breakout Candidates for 2014 Season

San Diego is tied for 4th in SOS and we all saw how good the AFC West was a year ago. They've of course got two dates each with the Chiefs and Broncos, as well as matchups with the Cardinals, 49ers and Pats.

8. Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals
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8. Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals

Things are never easy in the AFC North either. The Bengals open their season on the road at Baltimore and also have tough games against the Broncos, at New England and at Indy.

7. San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco 49ers 2014 NFL Schedule
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7. San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco 49ers 2014 NFL Schedule

The 49ers are going to be on toughest schedule lists for the foreseeable future. That'll happen you play in the NFC West. In addition to its division opponents, San Fran also has dates with Denver, Philly, KC and Chicago (just to name a few).

6. St. Louis Rams

St. Louis Rams
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6. St. Louis Rams

St. Louis Rams

St. Louis has the third highest SOS in 2014, mainly because of the NFC West. The Rams will also square off with the Chiefs, Broncos and Eagles.

5. New York Jets

Dallas Cowboys v New York Jets
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5. New York Jets

Dallas Cowboys v New York Jets

It won't be an easy road to the playoffs for the Jets in 2014. Game two will take them on the road to Green Bay and their pre-bye (week 11) schedule includes showdowns with Chicago, Detroit, New England and Denver.

4. Oakland Raiders

Philadelphia Eagles v Oakland Raiders
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4. Oakland Raiders

Philadelphia Eagles v Oakland Raiders

Somehow, the Raiders technically have the toughest road to the playoffs in 2014 (#1 SOS). Their AFC West games will be some of the toughest, but add in trips to Seattle and New England, and you have one ridiculous schedule.

3. Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons v Arizona Cardinals
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3. Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons v Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals were 'this close' to making the playoffs in 2013. They might end up in the same place in 2014 because of games at Denver, Atlanta and New York.

2. Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks
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2. Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks

It's always a tough road back to the playoffs for any team that made it the previous season. That's especially true for the defending champion Seahawks. They're No. 6 in SOS, they play in the NFC West and you know everyone will be gunning for them.

1. Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning
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1. Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning

The Broncos have the second toughest SOS and their road back to the postseason will be nothing short of excruciating. How about a home opener against the Colts? How about playing six of the last nine games on the road? How about a SB rematch in week three at Seattle? Peyton and company WILL be tested.


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