The Denver Broncos’ official schedule will be released on April 16. We already know who they’re playing. Now we just need to know when they’ll be playing.
According to the NFL’s strength of schedule formula, the Broncos have the easiest schedule in the league. That’s thanks in large part to the rest of the AFC West stinking up the division. The NFL calculates its strength of schedule based off of last season’s regular season win-loss totals for the opposition. This coming season, the teams that the Broncos will face had a 110-146 record in 2012.
Just because the Broncos have the “easiest” schedule doesn’t mean that there isn’t a long and tough road ahead. The Broncos will play five playoff teams from last year including the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. In the last ten seasons, the NFL has had at least four new teams qualify for the playoffs, meaning that the teams didn’t qualify for the playoffs the year before.
The Broncos faced the second most difficult schedule in the league last year, and as we all know they finished 13-3. Needless to say, records from the previous season don’t mean much, especially with the draft where more and more quality impact players come in contributing right away. Look no further than Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III leading the Colts and the Redskins to the playoffs, respectively, in their first year.
There’s no reason the Broncos should take the foot off the gas now. If anything, the “easiest” schedule should translate to “kick them while they’re down.”