We’ll have a lot to break down from when the calendar releases in the next few days (and the top 15 games will be released here). But here are a handful of teams that still have a right to complain and may feel like a 17-game season is even longer because of the way it’s presented.
1-2. Half of AFC West
Raiders Calendar: BAL, @PIT, MIA, @LAC, CHI, @DEN, PHI, BYE, @NYG, KC, CIN, @DAL, WAS, @KC, @CLE, DEN, @IND, LAC
Chargers schedules: @WAS, DAL, @KC, LV, CLE, @BAL, BYE, NE, @PHI, MIN, PIT, @DEN, @CIN, NYG, KC, @HOU, DEN, @LV
This post was originally supposed to be Raiders specific, as they start the season against Baltimore on Monday Night Football, then head to Pittsburgh, then host a really good Dolphins team before heading to Los Angeles and hosting the Bears October 10. On the back of their after-goodbye schedule, Vegas has both Chiefs games, a Thanksgiving game in Dallas and a season-ending slate against the Browns on December 18 or 19, the Broncos, Colts in Indianapolis and the Chargers. Getting hosed down by the Calendar Gods isn’t a concept alien to the Raiders, either. In 2019, they had more than 30,000 air miles on their schedule, while the two New York teams combined traveled less than 25,000 miles.But a glance at all the schedules in the West, despite the generous conference release date with the NFC East, in the basement, reveals some tough pockets. The Chargers, for example, start the season in Washington and host the Cowboys, arguably the top two teams in the NFC East. Then they travel to Kansas City, play a prime-time game against the Raiders, turn on rest to welcome the Browns, and travel to Baltimore before their goodbye (after the bye, New England turns profile, by the way).
3. Ours de Chicago
Calendar of ours: @LAR, CIN, @CLE, DET, @LV, GB, @TB, SF, @PIT, BYE, BAL, @DET, ARI, @GB, MIN, @SEA, NYG, @MIN
The Bears have one of the toughest schedules in the NFL in terms of brute force data based on last year’s winning percentages. And while the league’s schedule officials have done a solid job of spreading landmines, it will be a thick forest to walk through, especially if Chicago plans to insert a rookie quarterback at some point. Some particularly thorny stretches include Oct. 17 through Nov. 21, where the Bears face off against the Packers, Buccaneers in Tampa, 49ers, Steelers in Pittsburgh and Ravens after the start. They also have a season-ending stretch that includes the Cardinals, Green Bay in Lambeau, the Vikings on Monday Night Football, and the Seahawks in Seattle.This makeup is an interesting choice for Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy. If the hope is to reach the playoffs, there will be a ton of pressure to score wins during a smoother part of their schedule at the start of the year. The weak side podcast now has its own feed! Subscribe to listen to Conor Orr and Jenny Vrentas every week.
4. Ravens de Baltimore
Ravens schedule: @LV, KC, @DET, @DEN, IND, LAC, CIN, BYE, MIN, @MIA, @CHI, CLE, @PIT, @CLE, GB, @CIN, LAR, PIT
After a plum schedule in 2020 with extremely limited travel, the Ravens are put to the test in 2021. It’s hard to overestimate just how steep the climb gets after the farewell. After back-to-back winnable road games against the Dolphins on Thursday Night Football (November 28) and the Bears (a solid placement for their Thursday night game given they get the mini bye up close after their real bye), Baltimore welcomes the Browns, travels to Pittsburgh, travels to Cleveland and welcomes the Packers. Then, after a game against the Bengals in Cincinnati, they close their regular season with back-to-back home games against the Rams and Steelers, both of whom will likely play a part in the playoff conversation.
5. Detroit Lions
Lions Calendar: SF, @GB, BAL, @CHI, @MIN, CIN, @LAR, PHI, BYE, @PIT, @CLE, CHI, MIN, @DEN, ARI, @ATL, @SEA, GBThe Lions open the season against the 49ers, Packers and Ravens and end the season in Seattle and against the Packers. Assuming Aaron Rodgers is active, that certainly throws a wrench into their patella digestion plans. Post-bye (November 6), the Lions also have dates with the Steelers and Browns, both on the road. Depending on how good the Cardinals and Falcons are, there’s a chance that the end of their season will be essentially a plank walk, testing the outer limits of Campbell’s defense with dates against an Air Raid attack, a Shanahan attack, a McVay attack and another offense from Shanahan to close the season.
6. Caroline’s Panthers
Panthers Calendar: NYJ, NO, @HOU, @DAL, PHI, MIN, @NYG, @ATL, NE, @ARI, WAS, @MIA, BYE (December 5), ATL, @BUF, TB, @NO, @ To
While it doesn’t look like the Panthers are quite ready to emerge on the scene as playoff contenders, any hope of such a run will have to come through the reigning Super Bowl champions twice in three weeks. . The back of the Carolina calendar, which asks them to play Buffalo on December 18 or 19, to host Tampa Bay, to travel to New Orleans and then to Tampa is a daunting task, especially if the Saints are able. to maintain some relevance without Drew. Brees under the center. Carolina starts the season against former club Sam Darnold and gets the No. 1 Houston Texans in their Thursday night football appearance on September 23, two important wins. They’ve also won games against NFC East which could help them grab some early season wins. However, after playing against the Falcons in Atlanta on Halloween, the Panthers are scheduled to take on the Patriots, travel to Arizona, host the Washington football team, and travel to Miami before the break.More NFL coverage: