With the NFL draft and free agency wrapped up, fans now turn their attention to the upcoming schedule release. The official schedule will be released on May 11th at 8:00 PM, however, matchups have already been announced. The television event for the schedule unveiling will show when each team will face off, but we already know who will be playing who.
As always, some teams get an easier schedule than others based on the division they play in and other scheduling factors. There are three teams that stand out amongst the rest in terms of the easiest matchups this year based on the team’s 2022 records.
The Atlanta Falcons are a very exciting team coming into the 2023 season. They drafted the best running back in the 2023 draft class in Bijan Robinson and were a team that was very active in free agency. With all of their new additions, they are more than capable of making a real run at the NFC South title as long as quarterback Desmond Ridder makes a jump from his rookie season.
The Falcons rank as the easiest schedule for the upcoming season based on their opponent’s records in 2022. They will play the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, and Washington Commanders at home. While they will take on the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals, and New York Jets on the road. Last season, these opponents combined for a win percentage of 41.7%, and only three of them made the postseason.
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The New Orleans Saints made a big move to bring in Derek Carr to be their new starting quarterback for the 2023 season. With wide receiver, Michael Thomas appearing to be fully healed from an injury that has lingered the past two seasons, the Saints’ passing attack could be a real problem for opposing defenses. Along with this, if running back Alvin Kamara is able to avoid a suspension for an assault, they could be neck and neck with the Falcons for the NFC South crown.
The Saints will take on the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, New York Giants, and Chicago Bears at home. While they will have to match up against the Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, and New England Patriots on the road. In 2022, these opponents combined for a winning percentage of 42.7% just one percent better than the Falcon’s opponents’ win percentage. Along with this, only four of their opponents made the postseason last year.
The team with the third easiest schedule heading into the 2023 season is the Houston Texans. This is great for Houston as they traded their first-round pick in 2024 to the Arizona Cardinals so they could acquire the third overall pick in the 2023 draft to select edge rusher Will Anderson Jr. The Texans were very aggressive in both the draft and free agency. Along with trading up for the third overall pick, they also held the second overall pick and used it to pick who they hope will be their franchise quarterback in C.J. Stroud. Despite having one of the easiest schedules in the league heading into 2023, many projects the Texans to still finish as the second-to-worst team in the league.
Houston will face off against the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Denver Broncos, and Arizona Cardinals at home. On the flip side, they will take on the Cincinnati Bengals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, and New York Jets on the road. Last season, Houston’s upcoming opponents had a combined winning percentage of 43.1% and only four of them competed in postseason play.
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