2021 NFL Strength of Schedule rankings for all 32 teams have been calculated for the upcoming season, and a couple of different methods are available.
The first method, the winning percentage method, is far from an exact science due to player trades, free agency, injuries, and the draft. This method is based solely on the combined record of a team’s opponents from the previous season.
Below are the strength of schedule rankings using the winning percentage method, which includes the combined opponent record and winning percentage from the previous season (2020).
Winning Percentage Method
|Rank||Team||Opp. Record (2020)||Opp. Winning % (2020)|
|4||Green Bay Packers||147-124-1||.542|
|8||Las Vegas Raiders||142-128-2||.526|
|T-11||Kansas City Chiefs||138-132-2||.511|
|T-19||San Francisco 49ers||132-138-2||.489|
|T-19||New York Jets||132-138-2||.489|
|T-19||New England Patriots||133-139||.489|
|22||New Orleans Saints||131-140-1||.483|
|25||New York Giants||128-142-2||.474|
|29||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||126-145-1||.465|
The Pittsburgh Steelers have the toughest schedule in 2021 using the winning percentage method, just ahead of the Baltimore Ravens. Chicago is third, followed by Green Bay in fourth and Minnesota in fifth.
The distance from first (Pittsburgh) to fifth-place (Minnesota) is 11 games in the win column.
The Eagles have the easiest schedule in 2021, according to the winning percentage method. Their schedule is easier than the 31st-ranked team, Dallas, by five games in the win column and seven games in the loss column.
SportsBettingDime offers an alternative NFL strength of schedule ranking again this season, saying that “this is how we should be calculating SOS.”
They use 2021 NFL win totals to provide their own NFL strength of schedule rankings. This is determined by “adding the projected wins of each team’s 17 opponents this season.”
Below are their rankings using that method. Their rankings differ of course, but you’ll notice some similarities, especially with a few teams with the toughest and easiest schedules this season.
Projected Win Totals Method
|Rank||Team||Proj. Wins of 2021 Opp.|
|1||Las Vegas Raiders||153.5|
|8||New Orleans Saints||148.9|
|10||New York Giants||148.3|
|11||Kansas City Chiefs||147.9|
|13||Los Angeles Rams||147.2|
|15||Green Bay Packers||146.3|
|17||New England Patriots||145.4|
|20||Los Angeles Chargers||144.9|
|21||New York Jets||144.1|
|29||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||142.6|
|32||San Francisco 49ers||138.2|
The Las Vegas Raiders have the toughest schedule in 2021, while the San Francisco 49ers have the easiest, according to the projected win totals method.
To compare, the Raiders are eighth while the 49ers are tied for 18th, according to the winning percentage method. The Steelers’ 2021 slate is ranked toughest by the winning percentage method and second-toughest by the projected win totals method.
The 2021 NFL Schedule is set for release on Wednesday, May 12 at 8:00pm ET. Week 1 of the 2021 season will be revealed on Wednesday morning.