By Andrew Fisher @AndrewFisherRS on April 24, 2014
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:
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
April 2, 2015 by Timothy Downs
The Chicago Bears must draft WR Amari Cooper at No. 7 in the 2015 NFL Draft. Read More
April 1, 2015 by Connor Fulton
See why the futures of Aaron Dobson, Joe Vellano, and a few other New England Patriots veterans are in doubt. Read More
April 1, 2015 by Aaron Charles
UCF wide receiver Breshad Perriman can offer the Kansas City Chiefs exactly what the offense needs Read More
April 1, 2015 by Nick Sardina
The New England Patriots are in need of help along the interior of their offensive line. Signing Stefen Wisniewski would give the Patriots options, depth and versatility at the position. Read More
April 1, 2015 by Timothy Downs
Every team has a glaring weakness on its roster. Here's a look at one for each of the NFL's 32 teams. Read More
April 1, 2015 by Clyde A. Speller
The addition of linebacker Sam Acho will help add depth, but more will be needed to improve the Chicago Bears' overall pass rush. Read More
April 1, 2015 by Shawn Spencer
Marcus Mariota made the smart decision to avoid the stressful environment at the 2015 NFL Draft. Read More
April 1, 2015 by Jerry Landry
The 2015 NFL Draft's No. 2 selection will not be second-fiddle to anyone. Read More