Patriots’ 2023 Strength Of Schedule Forecasts Difficult Season
The New England Patriots, just like every other team in the NFL, spent the majority of their offseason sitting back and waiting to find out the specifics of their 2023 schedule while the league made a big to-do about the whole ordeal.
There’s one thing they’ve known for a long time, however. Things aren’t going to be easy in 2023.
The Patriots’ opponents for the 2023 season were revealed way back in January as the league concluded its regular season. In taking a look at opponent winning percentage, the NFL ranked teams on their strength of schedule ahead of the official release on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. Despite finishing in third place in the AFC East, New England will enter the upcoming season with the third-highest opponent winning percentage at .549.
That means only the Philadelphia Eagles (.566) and Miami Dolphins (.554) have a tougher schedule on deck.
The NFL determines its schedule on a few factors. Each team plays six games against divisional opponents (two games per team, one at home and one on the road), four games against teams from a division within its conference (two home; two road), four games against teams from a division in the other conference (two home; two road), two games against teams from the two remaining divisions in its own conference (one home; one road) and a 17th game against a non-conference opponent from a division that the team is not scheduled to play.
What makes the Patriots’ schedule worse than others? Those latter two factors take division ranking from the previous season into account.
That means the Patriots not only have to play the AFC East, AFC West and NFC East, but they also drew the Indianapolis Colts, Pittsburgh Steelers and New Orleans Saints due to their third-place ranking from one year ago.
The Buffalo Bills and New York Jets on the other hand, who both have easier schedules based off opponent winning percentage, drew teams like the Houston Texans (Jets), Atlanta Falcons (Jets) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Bills).
Tough luck, Patriots fans.
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