If you go by opponent win totals from the 2020 season, the Raiders come in with the 8th toughest schedule (.526). But as we know, things change from year to year in the NFL and going by the previous season’s win total isn’t always the most reliable way to tell just how tough a team’s schedule will be.
Another, and perhaps more accurate, measure could be to go by oddsmakers projected win totals.
That’s what one person did, compiling the oddsmakers projected win totals of each team’s opponent. The results move the Raiders to the toughest schedule in the NFL, while the 49ers — who are tied for 19th in SOS from last season, easily have the easiest.
Keep in mind, even oddsmakers’ projected win totals aren’t the end-all, be-all. It’s just a projection just as using the win totals from last season is hindsight.
If you’re wondering if this is a conspiracy against the Raiders (and I know you are), it’s really not. The schedule is cyclical. Most of the teams the Raiders face have been known for years.
The four that weren’t are decided by where the Raiders finished in the division. Their 8-8 finish had them finish second in the AFC West which means they face three other teams that also finished second in their division. In most cases, it takes a winning record to finish runner-up in a division. As is the case with the Dolphins (10-6), Colts (11-5), but not with the Bears (8-8).
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