These 15 NFL Teams Have the Easiest Schedules in 2017

Dak prescott and Ezekiel Elliott celebrate a win.

The Cowboys’ 2016 turnaround was aided by an easy schedule. | Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A lot has to happen for an NFL franchise to successfully complete a rebuilding project. Among other things, teams have to draft well, rid themselves of bloated contracts, make wise free agency expenditures, and ensure that they have the right coaching staff in place to complete a turnaround. One factor that can greatly expedite a rebuilding project, but also happens to be something that teams have no control over, is strength of schedule.

Now that we know the 16 opponents for all 32 NFL franchises, we have a good idea as to which teams will benefit from having a favorable schedule in 2017. Here is a look at the 10 teams with the easiest 2017 schedules (based on their opponents’ combined winning percentage in 2016).

A list of teams with the most difficult schedules in 2017 can be found here.

15. Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers prepares for a play.

Does Aaron Rodgers really need a favorable schedule? | Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Opponents’ combined 2016 overall record: 122-132-2
Opponents’ combined 2016 winning percentage: .480

Long story short, the Packers’ 2017 schedule shapes up nicely for them to make a serious run at locking up homefield advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs. They will have their usual six-game slate of games against their NFC North counterparts (which could easily result in six wins for the Pack); home games against the New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, and Cincinnati Bengals; and road games against the Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns.

Green Bay’s toughest tests will come in road games against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, and Atlanta Falcons, and a home game against the Seattle Seahawks.

14. Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears celebrate a touchdown.

The Chicago Bears will begin a new era in 2017. | Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Opponents’ combined 2016 overall record: 122-133-1
Opponents’ combined 2016 winning percentage: .479

For teams in the midst of a rebuilding project (such as the Bears), there’s really nothing better than a favorable schedule. While breaking in a new starting quarterback (Mike Glennon), Chicago will have six tough games against their fellow NFC North members.

But they will get a reprieve of sorts in home games against the Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, and San Francisco 49ers, and road games against the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Philadelphia Eagles.

13. San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers flex after a touchdown.

The 49ers could be in for a long season. | Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Opponents’ combined 2016 overall record: 119-132-5
Opponents’ combined 2016 winning percentage: .475

Despite the fact that they have one of the easier schedules in the league, if we picked today, the 49ers would be our frontrunner to land the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. That said, if new head coach Kyle Shanahan and new GM John Lynch can pull off a minor personnel miracle this offseason, the Niners could find themselves in a place where they could benefit from having only five games (two on the road) against 2016 playoff teams in 2017.

11. (tie) Cleveland Browns

Hue Jackson yells to his players.

Will an easy schedule help spark a Cleveland Browns turnaround? | Jason Miller/Getty Images

Opponents’ combined 2016 overall record: 119-135-2
Opponents’ combined 2016 winning percentage: .469

The Browns are still several years away from contending for a spot in the AFC Playoffs. But if they can come away with a strong 2017 draft class, the Dawg Pound could be in for a much more enjoyable season this fall.

With a 2017 schedule that features home games against the New York Jets, Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Minnesota Vikings, and road games against the Chicago Bears, Indianapolis Colts, and Los Angeles Chargers, the Browns would shock us if they don’t triple or quadruple their 2016 win total, which was one.

11. (tie) Detroit Lions

Matthew Stafford makes a run for it.

The Lions should contend for a playoff spot in 2017. | Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Opponents’ combined 2016 overall record: 119-135-2
Opponents’ combined 2016 winning percentage: .469

The Lions were one of the biggest surprises of the 2016 season. Their schedule for the upcoming season sets them up nicely for a return trip to the postseason in 2017. Detroit will have two games against the lowly Chicago Bears, as well as home games against the Cleveland Browns, Carolina Panthers, and Arizona Cardinals, and road games against the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, New Orleans Saints, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

10. Arizona Cardinals

Patrick Peterson celebrates during a game.

The Arizona Cardinals are in great shape to rebound in 2017. | Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Opponents’ combined 2016 overall record: 118-135-3
Opponents’ combined 2016 winning percentage: .467

The Cardinals were one of the most disappointing teams in the league in 2016. They entered the season with one of the league’s most talented rosters and legitimate Super Bowl aspirations, yet they struggled their way to a 7-8-1 overall record.

The Cardinals will again have one of the most talented rosters in the NFC, but will have the added benefit of an easy schedule in 2017. They will have two games against both the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams; home games against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Tennessee Titans; and road games against only three playoff teams (the Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, and Houston Texans).

9. Baltimore Ravens

Joe Flacco warms up before a game.

The Baltimore Ravens have a friendly schedule in 2017. | Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Opponents’ combined 2016 overall record: 117-137-2
Opponents’ combined 2016 winning percentage: .461

Despite missing the postseason for the last two seasons, the Ravens have been one of the most successful NFL franchises over the last decade. If they have a strong offseason, Baltimore’s schedule shapes up nicely for them to end their playoff drought in 2017. They’re fortunate enough to have two games against the Cleveland Browns; home games against the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts; and road games against the Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans.

8. (tie) Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks celebrate a touchdown.

The Seattle Seahawks had plenty to celebrate when the NFL released their 2017 schedule. | Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images

Opponents’ combined 2016 overall record: 115-138-3
Opponents’ combined 2016 winning percentage: .455

The Seahawks have everything in place to make another serious Super Bowl run in 2017. Their dominant defense will remain in tact, Russell Wilson is still in the prime of his career, and their offense as a whole should be vastly improved with a strong offseason. On top of all that, the NFL also rewarded Seattle with a favorable schedule.

They will have two games against both the San Francisco 49er and Los Angeles Rams; home games against the Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, and Indianapolis Colts; and road games against the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars.

8. (tie) Houston Texans

J.J. Watt salutes.

The Houston Texans are in great shape to make a return trip to the postseason in 2017. | Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Opponents’ combined 2016 overall record: 115-138-3
Opponents’ combined 2016 winning percentage: .455

In 2016, the Texans won the AFC South for the second consecutive season, despite getting a terrible return on the investment they made in quarterback Brock Osweiler last offseason. Now that Osweiler moved to the Browns, Houston will add a quarterback this offseason (possibly Tony Romo). If they can find the right guy, we expect them to contend for one of the top two seeds in the AFC Playoffs thanks to their favorable schedule.

In addition to playing in the weakest division in the league, the Texans also have home games scheduled against the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers, and road games scheduled against the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, and Los Angeles Rams.

6. (tie) Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers get pumped up for a game.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have Super Bowl aspirations in 2017. | Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Opponents’ combined 2016 overall record: 115-139-2
Opponents’ combined 2016 winning percentage: .453

The Steelers came within one game of playing for a Super Bowl title in 2016. And they have everything in place to make another deep postseason run in 2017. Their offense, behind Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, and a dominant offensive line, may be the best in the league; their defense is young, but got better and better as the 2016 season wore on; and lastly, their 2017 schedule is unusually easy for a team of Pittsburgh’s caliber.

The Steelers have two games against the Cleveland Browns essentially guaranteed wins — as well as home games against the Tennessee Titans, Minnesota Vikings, and Jacksonville Jaguars, and road games against the Chicago Bears and Indianapolis Colts.

6. (tie) Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings scream after a touchdown.

The Minnesota Vikings own the NFC’s easiest schedule in 2017. | Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Opponents’ combined 2016 overall record: 115-139-2
Opponents’ combined 2016 winning percentage: .453

The Vikings got off to a hot start in 2016, but things eventually fizzled; they finished the year with an 8-8 overall record. While this team has several holes to fill (mostly on the offensive side) this offseason, they will benefit greatly from having a much easier schedule in 2017. They’ll have their usual two games against the Chicago Bears; home games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, and Los Angeles Rams; and road games against the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins.

4. Cincinnati Bengals

Andy Dalton fist pumps after throwing a touchdown pass.

The Bengals had to have been thrilled when they saw their 2017 schedule for the first time. | Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Opponents’ combined 2016 overall record: 115-141-0
Opponents’ combined 2016 winning percentage: .449

The Bengals saw their streak of five straight trips to the postseason come to an end in 2016. They still have the bulk of their core in place, and with a strong offseason, Cincinnati should be back in playoff contention in 2017 — especially when you factor in their extremely favorable schedule. They have two games against the lowly Cleveland Browns; home games against the Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, and Indianapolis Colts; and away games against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, and Tennessee Titans.

3. (tie) Jacksonville Jaguars

Blake Bortles organizes the offense.

The Jaguars’ rebuilding project should be aided by an easy schedule. | Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Opponents’ combined 2016 overall record: 111-142-3
Opponents’ combined 2016 winning percentage: .439

It’s been nine seasons since the Jaguars posted a winning regular-season record. After years of landing early draft picks and high-priced free agents, it’s only a matter of time until the Jags end their postseason drought. With one of the league’s three easiest schedules, Jacksonville could be in for a major turnaround season in 2017.

As we’ve already mentioned, the AFC South is the weakest division in the league, which alone gives the Jaguars six winnable games. On top of that, they also have home games against the Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, and Los Angeles Chargers, and road games against the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets.

3. (tie) Tennessee Titans

Marcus Mariota throws his arms in the air.

The Tennessee Titans are on the verge of something special. | Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Opponents’ combined 2016 overall record: 111-142-3
Opponents’ combined 2016 winning percentage: .439

The Titans are on the rise. They have a potential franchise quarterback; one of the league’s premier rushing attacks; an elite offensive line; and a young, but talented defense. And in 2017, they have a favorable schedule of games. Not only do the Titans play in the weakest division in the NFL, the Titans also have home games against Los Angeles Rams, Cincinnati Bengals, and Baltimore Ravens, and road games against the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers.

1. Indianapolis Colts

Andrew Luck looks for a receiver.

The Indianapolis Colts have the easiest schedule in the NFL in 2017. | Al Bello/Getty Images

Opponents’ combined 2016 overall record: 107-146-3
Opponents’ combined 2016 winning percentage: .424

The Colts reached the AFC Championship Game in 2014, but failed to make the postseason in the two seasons since. It’s not secret that their quarterback, Andrew Luck, is one of the most talented players in the league. But for Indianapolis to truly reclaim a spot amongst the AFC’s best teams, they must improve Luck’s supporting cast. With that being said, the Colts will have an excellent chance to bounce back in 2017.

Indy’s schedule the easiest in the league features six games against AFC South teams; home games against the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers; and away games against the Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, and Los Angeles Rams.

Statistics courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference. Strength of schedule data courtesy of CBS