NFL Strength of Schedule Ranking 2024: 49ers, Patriots, Texans Have Challenging Slates

The 2024 NFL schedule has been released. Which clubs have the easiest and hardest NFL strength of schedule next season?

Who has the easiest and hardest NFL schedule in 2024? The schedule was just released, setting up the 272-game slate for the upcoming campaign.

“Strength of schedule” is, of course, a moving target. There is no perfect way to predict injuries or how difficult a game will look months down the road. However, there are worthwhile ways to evaluate what the future will likely hold.

In that vein, Pro Football Network has compiled numbers that include our internal ranks, the opinions of sportsbooks, and a tweak on some advanced metrics to get a feel for next season’s NFL strength of schedule.

Who Has the Easiest Strength of Schedule in the NFL?

According to PFN’s SOS metrics, the Atlanta Falcons will have the NFL’s easiest strength of schedule in 2024. New head coach Raheem Morris and quarterback Kirk Cousins won’t have to face a difficult slate as they aim to bring the NFC South crown to Atlanta for the first time since 2016.

Who Has the Hardest Strength of Schedule in the NFL?

The New England Patriots will contend with the NFL’s hardest strength of schedule next season. Replacing Bill Belichick is already a daunting task. Doing so against an overwhelming schedule — while working in rookie quarterback Drake Maye — won’t be easy for first-year Pats HC Jerod Mayo.

Ranking All 32 NFL Teams by Strength of Schedule

1) Atlanta Falcons

Cousins represents a significant upgrade over 2023 Falcons quarterbacks Desmond Ridder and Taylor Heinicke and will be dropped into a readymade offense that already includes RB Bijan Robinson, WR Drake London, and TE Kyle Pitts.

Atlanta should be considered the favorite in the NFC South and will potentially benefit from facing rookie QBs when they play the Commanders and Vikings on the road.

  • Falcons Home Opponents: Panthers, Saints, Buccaneers, Cowboys, Giants, Seahawks, Chiefs, Chargers, Steelers
  • Falcons Away Opponents: Panthers, Saints, Buccaneers, Commanders, Eagles, Vikings, Broncos, Raiders

2) Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers bottomed at 5-12 in 2023 and will face a last-place schedule in 2024. New head coach Jim Harbaugh probably won’t mind as he attempts to revamp Los Angeles’ roster.

The Bolts have to go up against the AFC North, which means we’ll get another edition of the Harbaugh Bowl. But they’ll also play the NFC South, where they could steal a few games if everything breaks right.

  • Home: Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders, Ravens, Bengals, Saints, Buccaneers, Titans
  • Away: Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders, Browns, Steelers, Patriots, Falcons, Panthers, Cardinals

3) New Orleans Saints

It might be playoffs or bust for the Saints and head coach Dennis Allen, who’ve gone 18-18 in two seasons since Sean Payton’s departure. While New Orleans has difficult out-of-division games against the Eagles, Rams, Browns, and Chiefs on tap, it also gets to play the Panthers, Commanders, Broncos, and Raiders at home.

  • Home: Falcons, Buccaneers, Panthers, Eagles, Commanders, Rams, Broncos, Raiders, Browns
  • Away: Falcons, Buccaneers, Panthers, Cowboys, Giants, Packers, Chiefs, Chargers

4) Cincinnati Bengals

After narrowly missing the playoffs with Jake Browning under center in 2023, the Bengals will return with a healthy Joe Burrow next season. Cincinnati faced arguably the league’s most challenging schedule last year but will catch a break in 2024.

While the AFC North is one of the NFL’s most competitive divisions, the Ravens, Steelers, and Browns’ upcoming schedules rank among the league’s 10 most challenging. The Bengals will play five prime-time games next year, including Thursday nighters against Baltimore and Cleveland.

  • Home: Ravens, Browns, Steelers, Broncos, Raiders, Patriots, Eagles, Commanders
  • Away: Ravens, Browns, Steelers, Chiefs, Chargers, Titans, Cowboys, Giants, Panthers

5) Carolina Panthers

The Panthers and new HC Dave Canales will need all the help they can get next season after Carolina posted the NFL’s worst record in 2023. Can Bryce Young turn things around after the Panthers added WR Diontae Johnson and offensive line help?

Carolina’s schedule — which features winnable home bouts against the Giants, Chargers, and Cardinals — isn’t all that challenging. It also includes a stop in Munich, Germany, under the 2024 NFL International Games banner.

  • Home: Falcons, Saints, Buccaneers, Cowboys, Giants, Cardinals, Chiefs, Chargers, Bengals
  • Away: Falcons, Saints, Buccaneers, Eagles, Commanders, Bears, Broncos, Raiders

6) Chicago Bears

Optimism abounds in Chicago, where Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze are ready to get the Bears back into contention.

The NFC North might truly be up for grabs in 2024, and Matt Eberflus’ squad has the least imposing schedule in the division. Two matchups with the Vikings — who have fellow rookie QB J.J. McCarthy under center — will be worth watching.

  • Home: Lions, Packers, Vikings, Panthers, Rams, Seahawks, Jaguars, Titans, Patriots
  • Away: Lions, Packers, Vikings, Cardinals, 49ers, Commanders, Texans, Colts

7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

All four NFC South clubs have top-seven-easiest schedules — which should tell you everything you need to do about the weakness of the division. The Buccaneers have earned three straight NFC South crowns but only won 17 games over the past two seasons.

Can they hold off the Falcons, Saints, and Panthers in 2024?

  • Home: Falcons, Panthers, Saints, Eagles, 49ers, Commanders, Ravens, Broncos, Raiders
  • Away: Falcons, Panthers, Saints, Cowboys, Giants, Lions, Chiefs, Chargers

8) Indianapolis Colts

The Colts nearly snuck into the playoffs in Shane Steichen’s first season as head coach and will try to make the dance with second-year QB Anthony Richardson returning from injury.

General manager Chris Ballard grabbed promising edge rusher Laiatu Latu and wide receiver Adonai Mitchell in the first two rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft, giving Steichen potential weapons on both sides of the ball.

Indy will need every advantage it can get, as division-rival teams like the Texans and Titans used free agency to buoy their rosters with outside additions.

  • Home: Texans, Jaguars, Titans, Dolphins, Bills, Steelers, Lions, Bears
  • Away: Texans, Jaguars, Titans, Jets, Patriots, Broncos, Giants, Packers, Vikings

MORE: 2024 NFL Season and Playoff Predictor

9) Kansas City Chiefs

Andy Reid and the Super Bowl-winning Chiefs will kick off the 2024 season with an AFC Championship Game rematch against the Ravens in Week 1. Kansas City will also be on TV for a whopping eight standalone games next year.

While the Chiefs faced one of the most challenging playoff schedules in NFL history, their regular-season slate ranked in the middle of the pack.

Patrick Mahomes and Co. will have to play the AFC North, which is always challenging. But games against the NFC South and their own AFC West — where neither the Chargers, Raiders, or Broncos present a realistic threat — should be reprieves for Kansas City.

  • Home: Broncos, Chargers, Raiders, Ravens, Bengals, Texans, Saints, Buccaneers
  • Away: Broncos, Chargers, Raiders, Steelers, Browns, Bills, Falcons, Panthers, 49ers

10) Philadelphia Eagles

Nick Sirianni’s Eagles underwent wholesale offseason changes following their 2023 collapse and should benefit from a manageable schedule next year. A rematch against the Buccaneers (who upset Philadelphia in the Wild Card round) is on tap, as are potentially high-scoring games against the Packers, Ravens, Bengals, and Rams.

The Eagles will play the NFL’s first-ever South American game, a Week 1 Friday matchup against the Packers in São Paulo, Brazil.

  • Home: Giants, Cowboys, Commanders, Panthers, Falcons, Packers, Steelers, Browns, Jaguars
  • Away: Giants, Cowboys, Commanders, Rams, Saints, Buccaneers, Bengals, Ravens

11) Washington Commanders

Washington’s rookie quarterback will face the imposing Eagles and Cowboys four combined times in 2024. But Jayden Daniels will also play the NFC South, while their cross-conference opponent could have been far better than the Titans.

Plus, the Commanders might be able to beat up on another division rival that happens to be next on our list.

  • Home: Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Falcons, Panthers, Bears, Browns, Steelers, Titans
  • Away: Cowboys, Eagles, Giants, Saints, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Bengals, Ravens

12) New York Jets

The Jets are all-in on 2024, a virtual requirement when your quarterback is 40 years old. Aaron Rodgers’ return has New York on the ascent, as does Buffalo’s offseason talent purge.

The NFL ensured that Gang Green would be on our screens next season. The Jets received six prime-time games, including a must-watch Monday night matchup against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1.

  • Home: Patriots, Dolphins, Bills, Texans, Colts, Broncos, Rams, Seahawks
  • Away: Patriots, Dolphins, Bills, Jaguars, Titans, Steelers, Cardinals, 49ers, Vikings

13) Seattle Seahawks

Although the upcoming campaign could be a transitional year for the Seahawks as they adapt to first-year head coach Mike Macdonald, Seattle undoubtedly has the roster to compete for a playoff spot in 2024.

How they fare against the 49ers and Rams — who went a combined 4-0 against the Seahawks in 2023 — will determine how far Seattle goes.

  • Home: Rams, Cardinals, 49ers, Packers, Vikings, Giants, Dolphins, Bills, Broncos
  • Away: Rams, Cardinals, 49ers, Bears, Lions, Falcons, Patriots, Jets

14) Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys had one of the NFL’s easiest 2023 schedules, allowing them to dominate cellar-dwellers like the Giants, Jets, Patriots, and Commanders. They might not have as easy a time next season, though, when their schedule ranks near the middle of the pack.

A cross-conference, intrastate matchup against the Texans will be a must-watch.

  • Home: Giants, Eagles, Commanders, Saints, Buccaneers, Lions, Ravens, Bengals, Texans
  • Away: Giants, Eagles, Commanders, Falcons, Panthers, 49ers, Browns, Steelers

15) New York Giants

The Giants will face a nearly identical schedule to the Commanders. But their Colts-Seahawks-Vikings opponent cluster is more difficult than Washington’s Bears-Titans-Cardinals slate.

New York’s order of games could become important in 2024. While the Giants didn’t draft a rookie quarterback, they could consider benching Daniel Jones near the end of the season to prevent his 2025 injury guarantees from kicking in.

  • Home: Commanders, Cowboys, Eagles, Saints, Buccaneers, Vikings, Ravens, Bengals, Colts
  • Away: Commanders, Cowboys, Eagles, Panthers, Falcons, Seahawks, Steelers, Browns

16) Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville collapsed down the stretch in 2023, losing five of its last six games while blowing its AFC South lead and eventually missing the playoffs together.

The Jaguars’ division has seemingly overnight become one of the most competitive in the league. Did GM Trent Baalke and HC Doug Pederson do enough over the offseason for Jacksonville to rebound next year? Adding LSU wideout Brian Thomas Jr. to replace Calvin Ridley will help, but the Jags have their work cut out.

  • Home: Texans, Colts, Titans, Patriots, Jets, Packers, Vikings, Browns
  • Away: Texans, Colts, Titans, Dolphins, Raiders, Bills, Eagles, Bears, Lions

17) Miami Dolphins

Few teams lost more talent during the 2024 NFL offseason than the Dolphins, who saw DT Christian Wilkins, G Robert Hunt, EDGE Andrew Van Ginkel, and others walk out the door in free agency.

Miami papered over many of its holes with smart, modestly priced deals and will now try to win its first AFC East title since 2008.

  • Home: Bills, Patriots, Jets, Jaguars, Titans, Raiders, Cardinals, 49ers
  • Away: Bills, Patriots, Jets, Texans, Colts, Browns, Rams, Seahawks, Packers

MORE: Ranking the NFL’s Week 1 Games

18) Denver Broncos

The Broncos are entering a potential reset year after opting to take on the majority ($53 million) of Russell Wilson’s dead money in 2024. However, Sean Payton might not see it that way, especially after selecting Oregon QB Bo Nix with the 12th overall pick.

  • Home: Chiefs, Chargers, Raiders, Browns, Steelers, Colts, Falcons, Panthers
  • Away: Chiefs, Chargers, Raiders, Ravens, Bengals, Jets, Saints, Buccaneers, Seahawks

19) Detroit Lions

The Lions lived up to all the hype in 2023, capturing the NFC North title while winning their first playoff game in over 30 years. Dan Campbell’s club will face a stiffer challenge next season, as the Packers, Bears, and Vikings are ascending, giving Detroit far more intradivisional competition.

Jared Goff will kick off the Sunday Night Football schedule against his former team, with the Lions facing the Los Angeles Rams in Week 1. Detroit managed a one-point win when these two clubs last met in the NFC Wild Card round.

  • Home: Bears, Packers, Vikings, Buccaneers, Rams, Seahawks, Jaguars, Titans, Bills
  • Away: Bears, Packers, Vikings, Cowboys, Cardinals, 49ers, Texans, Colts

20) Los Angeles Rams

After entering the season near the bottom of most NFL power rankings, the Rams surprised en route to 10 wins and a playoff appearance. Can they overtake the 49ers and win their first NFC West championship in three years?

Los Angeles has a slightly easier schedule than San Francisco, which has yet to appear on our list.

  • Home: 49ers, Cardinals, Seahawks, Packers, Vikings, Eagles, Bills, Dolphins, Raiders
  • Away: 49ers, Cardinals, Seahawks, Lions, Bears, Saints, Patriots, Jets

21) Arizona Cardinals

Arizona didn’t have many 2023 highlights outside of its upset victories over the Eagles and Cowboys. Still, Kyler Murray looked more comfortable in the Cardinals’ offense as the season progressed (as you might expect from a QB who didn’t play until Week 10 while recovering from a torn ACL).

Although Arizona might be a year away from contending, a draft haul that included WR Marvin Harrison Jr., EDGE Darius Robinson, CB Max Melton, and RB Trey Benson is cause for celebration.

  • Home: 49ers, Rams, Seahawks, Bears, Lions, Commanders, Patriots, Jets, Chargers
  • Away: 49ers, Rams, Seahawks, Packers, Vikings, Panthers, Dolphins, Bills

22) Green Bay Packers

Speaking of those Packers, Green Bay fielded the NFL’s youngest roster last year and filled many of its positional holes during free agency, adding contributors like RB Josh Jacobs and S Xavier McKinney.

Jordan Love and Co. nearly advanced to the NFC Championship Game in 2023. The arrow is pointing directly up for the Packers, who will face the Eagles in the NFL’s first-ever Brazil game in 2024.

  • Home: Bears, Lions, Vikings, Cardinals, 49ers, Saints, Colts, Texans, Dolphins
  • Away: Bears, Lions, Vikings, Eagles, Rams, Seahawks, Jaguars, Titans

23) Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders have a path to the playoffs after finishing 8-9 last season. An underrated defense added Christian Wilkins, but Las Vegas didn’t find a quarterback in the draft after signing Garder Minshew II in free agency. While the Raiders can beat up on the Chargers and Broncos, they’ll still need to get past the Chiefs.

  • Home: Chiefs, Chargers, Broncos, Browns, Steelers, Jaguars, Falcons, Panthers
  • Away: Chiefs, Chargers, Broncos, Ravens, Bengals, Dolphins, Saints, Buccaneers, Rams

24) Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore will get another shot at Kansas City after their 17-10 AFC title game loss in January. Fresh off his second MVP award, Lamar Jackson will face Mahomes to open the 2024 NFL campaign.

The Ravens had an eventful offseason, losing 60% of their offensive line plus contributors like RB Gus Edwards, WR Odell Beckham Jr., EDGE Jadeveon Clowney, LB Patrick Queen, and S Geno Stone.

A step back isn’t out of the question for Baltimore, especially given the team’s demanding schedule. However, John Harbaugh and Jackson always seem to have found a way.

  • Home: Bengals, Browns, Steelers, Broncos, Raiders, Bills, Eagles, Commanders
  • Away: Bengals, Browns, Steelers, Chiefs, Chargers, Texans, Cowboys, Giants, Buccaneers

25) Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota grabbed McCarthy in the draft to finalize an offseason that saw the Vikings bring in free agents like RB Aaron Jones, EDGEs Jonathan Greenard and Van Ginkel, and LB Blake Cashman.

Sam Darnold could start ahead of McCarthy to begin the 2024 campaign, but the Michigan product should be throwing to Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison by midseason.

  • Home: Bears, Lions, Packers, Cardinals, 49ers, Falcons, Texans, Colts, Jets
  • Away: Bears, Lions, Packers, Rams, Seahawks, Giants, Jaguars, Titans

26) Tennessee Titans

The Titans are going for it in Brian Callahan’s first season as head coach. Tennessee went on a spending free this offseason, adding RB Tony Pollard, WR Calvin Ridley, C Lloyd Cushenberry, and CBs L’Jarius Sneed and Chidobe Awuzie.

Will those additions be enough for the Titans to compete in 2024? Or are they simply looking for a definitive answer on second-year QB Will Levis?

  • Home: Texans, Colts, Jaguars, Patriots, Jets, Bengals, Packers, Vikings
  • Away: Texans, Colts, Jaguars, Dolphins, Bills, Chargers, Bears, Lions, Commanders

27) San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers will face one of the NFL’s most difficult slates after narrowly losing Super Bowl 58 to the Chiefs. However, sportsbooks don’t mind, as San Francisco is still tied for the league’s highest 2024 win total (11.5).

Brock Purdy and Co. went 5-1 against the NFC West in 2023, with their only loss coming in a meaningless Week 18 game against the Rams in which Darnold started. Can they dominate the division again next season?

  • Home: Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks, Bears, Lions, Cowboys, Jets, Patriots, Chiefs
  • Away: Cardinals, Rams, Seahawks, Packers, Vikings, Buccaneers, Dolphins, Bills

28) Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers were left for dead after Week 15, but a three-game winning streak with Mason Rudolph center propelled Pittsburgh into the playoffs and kept Mike Tomlin’s non-losing-season streak alive.

Can he continue to work his magic with either Russell Wilson or Justin Fields starting for the Steelers in 2024?

  • Home: Ravens, Bengals, Browns, Chiefs, Chargers, Jets, Giants, Cowboys
  • Away: Ravens, Bengals, Browns, Broncos, Raiders, Colts, Eagles, Commanders, Falcons

29) Cleveland Browns

Cleveland faced a tough schedule in 2023 and won’t be spared during the upcoming season. Kevin Stefanksi’s effort against that slate of opponents — while working through myriad injuries at QB and other critical positions — earned him his second Coach of the Year award.

  • Home: Steelers, Bengals, Ravens, Chiefs, Chargers, Dolphins, Cowboys, Giants
  • Away: Steelers, Bengals, Ravens, Broncos, Raiders, Jaguars, Eagles, Commanders, Saints

30) Houston Texans

C.J. Stroud and the Texans took advantage of one of the NFL’s easiest schedules last season, winning the AFC South before advancing to the Divisional Round.

Things won’t be quite as simple in 2024. But Houston earned an A for its free agency efforts after trading for WR Stefon Diggs and RB Joe Mixon and signing veteran EDGE Danielle Hunter.

The Texans were exciting enough to land a Christmas Day matchup against the Ravens.

  • Home: Colts, Jaguars, Titans, Bills, Dolphins, Ravens, Bears, Lions
  • Away: Colts, Jaguars, Titans, Jets, Patriots, Chiefs, Packers, Vikings, Cowboys

KEEP READING: NFL Power Rankings With Each Team’s Must-Watch Game

31) Buffalo Bills

Buffalo’s salary cap crunch forced the team to move on from many of its established veterans, including WRs Diggs and Gabe Davis, CB Tre’Davious White, and DBs Jordan Poyer and Micah Hyde.

Josh Allen’s presence means the Bills’ window is never closed, but a step back wouldn’t be surprising.

  • Home: Patriots, Dolphins, Jets, Jaguars, Titans, Chiefs, Cardinals, 49ers
  • Away: Patriots, Dolphins, Jets, Texans, Colts, Ravens, Rams, Seahawks, Lions

32) New England Patriots

Good luck, Pats. Any argument against New England drafting a rookie quarterback started with the club’s lack of weapons. But the Patriots’ daunting schedule is also a factor and could force Mayo to start veteran Jacoby Brissett over Maye to begin the year.

  • Home: Bills, Dolphins, Jets, Texans, Colts, Chargers, Rams, Seahawks
  • Away: Bills, Dolphins, Jets, Bengals, Titans, Jaguars, 49ers, Cardinals, Bears

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