The 2017-18 NFL schedule has been released and there are fans and pundits that are handicapping which teams have the hardest schedules.
In mid-April that is nearly impossible to predict as the NFL draft hasn’t taken place yet nor has training camp played itself out.
365 days ago no one would have predicted the rise of Dallas Cowboys’ QB Dak Prescott. The rookie turned the NFL upside down as did the implosion of the Green Bay Packers, the injury to Oakland Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr and more.
The NFL is a tricky landscape to maneuver and that is what makes it special.
That being said, the Raiders do have it rough this year simply because of their travel schedule. They have to shoot down to Mexico City for a game.
They also play Christmas night in Philadelphia and then head to Los Angeles on a short week to face the Los Angeles Chargers.
Side note is it as weird to read Los Angeles Chargers as it is to type it? Just curious, anyway back to the lecture at hand.
The Raiders run is brutal and will surely impact the team’s overall wellness during the last quarter of the year. If Oakland is fighting for any type of playoff positioning at that time, fatigue will surely play a big role in their ability to execute.
Bad travel aside, each year teams rise and fall at the whim of front office, sideline and locker room chemistry.
There’s also trades. With the draft looming next week, the face of a few franchises will be altered by significant trades.
By early September, the Cleveland Browns could be a contender for the AFC North if they play their hand correctly.
We all know that’s doubtful, but in the NFL it’s possible and that’s why it’s hard to look at any itinerary and say ‘this is a definite win or this is a definite loss.’
Unless, the discussion revolves around the New England Patriots and time will eventually catch up with them too.
So ultimately the question of ‘who has the toughest schedule?’ won’t be answered to until February and by then the answer will be a moot point.