Three-time Super Bowl champion and Fox Sports NFL analyst Mark Schlereth looks ahead to the new season.
The Chiefs might have a solid chance at making it to the playoffs next season. Kansas City’s 2020 opponents were 128-128 last season. It’s not the hardest schedule a team has but it’s also not the easiest. Patrick Mahomes will need to be as sharp as ever to get back to glory. Kansas City has tough matchups with the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots on their docket this season.
The Texans were pretty close to beating the Chiefs in the AFC Playoffs, but Mahomes kicked it into a new gear and led the team on a crazy comeback. Houston has one of the toughest schedules going into the new season. Not only do they have the Chiefs in Week 1, but they have to face the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2. Houston could easily start the year losing its first two games.
Here are the teams who have the hardest schedules.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Munson)
The Buffalo Bills, Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions are all among the teams with the toughest schedules. The Bills made the playoffs last season but suffered an early exit, the Falcons went 7-9 and it could be the last chance for Dan Quinn to have a solid season, and the Lions were among the league’s worst in 2019 and will have an uphill battle trying to right their ship.
Combined Opponents 2019 Record: 134-121-1
4). SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) passes against the Green Bay Packers during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
There’s no rest for the weary. The 49ers may have won the NFC Championship but in 2019 they will have the fourth-toughest schedule in the upcoming season. Not only do they have to play a regular NFC West schedule, but they get the New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys deep into the season.
Combined Opponents 2019 Record: 134-120-2
3). MIAMI DOLPHINS
Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores speaks to members of the media before the start of practice at the NFL football team's training camp, Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, in Davie, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
The Dolphins got their quarterback, added a ton of new defensive players and had a great rookie class. Now, it’s time to win some football games but the 2020 season is going to be difficult if their opponents hold up their end of the bargain. The Dolphins have the third-toughest schedule with NFC West opponents lined up as well as the defending Super Bowl-champion Kansas City Chiefs.
Combined Opponents 2019 Record: 135-120-1
2). NEW YORK JETS
FILE – In this Sept. 8, 2019, file photo, New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (14) makes a pass during an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Steve Luciano, File)
It’s expected to be a make-or-break year for Jets quarterback Sam Darnold and coach Adam Gase in 2020. But having one of the toughest schedules might put a damper on things come 2020. New York is going to have an incredibly tough time with some of the opponents they have on their 2020 docket.
Combined Opponents 2019 Record: 136-119-1
1). NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
New England Patriots quarterback Jarrett Stidham (4) warms up before the football game between the New England Patriots and Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on December 1, 2019 in Houston, TX. (Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Losing Tom Brady couldn’t have come at a worse time for the Patriots. New England has the toughest schedule going into the 2020 season. They have to play the defending-champion Kansas City Chiefs and the team with the best record in 2019, the Baltimore Ravens. Along with tough AFC West opponents, things might not go according to plan for the Patriots in 2020.
Combined Opponents 2019 Record: 137-118-1