NFL strengths of schedule for 2021, ranked hardest to easiest

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NFL strengths of schedule for 2021, ranked hardest to easiest originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The NFL is about to embark on its biggest season yet with an expanded 17-game schedule. While an extra game will likely present its own challenges for players, some teams will be up against a tough strength of schedule this season, as well.

The Steelers top the list of 2021 strength of schedule rankings. Their 17 opponents have a combined 2020 record of 155-115-2 and a combined 2020 win percentage of .574. With games against the Chiefs, Bills and Packers, the Steelers will have their work cut out for them as they look to repeat as AFC North champions.

The Baltimore Ravens are the only other team whose opponents have a combined 2020 win percentage of .563. Baltimore will face the division-rival Steelers twice, as well as the Chiefs and Packers in 2021.

Despite not winning the NFC North last year, the Chicago Bears have the third hardest strength of schedule as its a combined 2020 win percentage of .550. 

While the Steelers, Ravens and Bears have the hardest schedules in 2021, the Philadelphia Eagles round out the list with the easiest. The Eagles' 2021 opponents went 117-155 in 2020 for a combined win percentage of .430. Philadelphia is the only team facing a combined win percentage below .450, due in large part to the fact that only three of their opponents finished above .500 last season.

Below is the 2021 strength of schedule ranked from hardest to easiest based on opponents combined record from last season:

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers

  2. Baltimore Ravens

  3. Chicago Bears

  4. Detroit Lions

  5. Cincinnati Bengals

  6. Minnesota Vikings

  7. Las Vegas Raiders

  8. Green Bay Packers

  9. Cleveland Browns

  10. Houston Texans

  11. Jacksonville Jaguars

  12. Los Angeles Rams

  13. San Francisco 49ers

  14. New York Jets

  15. New England Patriots

  16. Seattle Seahawks

  17. Arizona Cardinals

  18. Los Angeles Chargers

  19. Tennessee Titans

  20. Kansas City Chiefs

  21. Carolina Panthers

  22. Washington Football Team

  23. Buffalo Bills

  24. Denver Broncos

  25. Atlanta Falcons

  26. Miami Dolphins

  27. New Orleans Saints

  28. New York Giants

  29. Indianapolis Colts

  30. Dallas Cowboys

  31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  32. Philadelphia Eagles