Just a couple of days ago, NFL fans around the nation saw who their favorite teams will be facing off against. As always, every team will play the teams in their division twice, two other divisions, and two other games. Let’s take a quick look at who’s facing who.
AFC East: AFC South and NFC West
AFC North: AFC West and NFC East
AFC South: AFC East and NFC North
AFC West: AFC North and NFC South
NFC East: AFC North and NFC South
NFC North: AFC South and NFC West
NFC South: AFC West and NFC East
NFC West: AFC East and NFC North
Winners: AFC East: Of the combinations presented above, the AFC East is the clear winner. Basically, anyone who plays the NFC West is a winner, as any decent team is a lock to go at least 2-2 and likely 3-1. Then you have the AFC South, which only has one strong team, the Houston Texans. Overall, if you could pick which two divisions to play, its likely you would pick those two, so AFC East=winning!
Houston Texans: Speaking of those Texans, they managed to benefit from a great beginning and ending of the season. To start, they get Miami, Jacksonville, Denver, and Tennessee. They could hit a bump in the road against the Packers and Ravens back to back, but end with the Colts twice, and Minnesota. If they need to end the season with a few wins, that’s about as good as you can ask for.
Cincinnati Bengals: One of the biggest surprises last season, the Bengals could make some more noise this year, with a great opening schedule. After starting with Baltimore, the Bengals have Cleveland, Washington, Jacksonville, Miami, and Cleveland again. Just like last year, their schedule gets tough toward the end, but they were able to hold on last year, and could do it again this year.
Losers: NFC East: As great as the AFC east had it, their NFC counterparts on the east coast really got the shaft. 5 of the 12 spots from last year’s playoffs came from the NFC South and AFC North, and the NFC East gets stuck playing both of them. Of course you add in the defending super bowl champions, and two teams that were extremely disappointing last year in the Cowboys and Eagles, and I do not envy any Redskins fans this year.
New Orleans Saints: The Saints are already going through a ton this offseason, with bounty gate, Sean Payton’s suspension, and Drew Brees’s contract issues. Now, you take a look at the schedule, and you can only cringe more. The Saints somehow ended up with 4 of the other 5 NFC playoff teams last year, in addition to the Broncos with their new quarterback you might have heard about. If there is one good part of their schedule, its that they should be 3-0 going into their big rematch with the Packers from last year.
Green Bay Packers: It will be difficult for the Packers to repeat their 15-1 record last year, even given the fact that they will likely be better. They open up with San Francisco and their big rivals, the Chicago Bears, along with games against New Orleans and Houston in the first 6 weeks. After their bye week, they jump in with road games against the Lions and Giants. The Packers are very capable of running through all of these, but my guess is they drop 3 to 4 games this year, still good enough to easily make the playoffs.
Denver Broncos: Welcome to the team Peyton Manning! Your reward is a matchup with Pittsburgh in your first regular season game. After that, you get Atlanta, and then Houston! Tack on games with the Patriots, Chargers, and Saints, and you have a brutal first half of the year. Good thing they made the move for Peyton, because Tebow would have been butchered by this schedule.
How did your team fare with their schedule? Let us know in the comments!