As reported by multiple outlets this week, the Pittsburgh Steelers have what is deemed as the second-easiest schedule in the NFL for 2020. This ranking is determined by combining the 2019 win-loss records of the Steelers 16 opponents for 2020. Of course, there’s no guarantee that each of these teams will be the same quality they were in 2019, but at this point there’s really nothing else to go on.
The combined win-loss total for the Steelers opponents for 2020 is 117-139. The Steelers will only have six games where their opponent had a winning record in 2019. Those games will be both matchups against the Baltimore Ravens along with their games against the Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, Houston Texans, and Tennessee Titans. The Steelers will also face the Dallas Cowboys in Texas who had the same 8–8 record as the Steelers in 2019.
The reason the Steelers have one of the easiest schedules is because of their games with their AFC North opponents as well as facing the NFC East. The NFC East gives the Steelers a lower winning percentage due to the fact it only produced 24 total wins among the four teams in 2019. The AFC North had the next fewest total wins of any division in the NFL with 30 wins.
The easiest schedule in the NFL for 2020 is held by the Baltimore Ravens. With the Ravens only having two different opponents in 2020 than the Steelers, one would assume they would have a more difficult schedule. Instead of facing the 10–6 Buffalo Bills like the Steelers will in 2020, the Ravens will face the 12-4 New England Patriots. The larger discrepancy lies in the teams AFC West as the ravens will face the 12-4 Kansas City Chiefs while the Steelers face the 7-9 Denver Broncos.
With the discrepancy of seven additional wins the Ravens will face from these two opponents, the reason they have the easier schedule is because they face the 8–8 Steelers while the Steelers opponent is the 14-2 Ravens. With these games occurring twice, it is a 12-game swing in favor of Baltimore. Therefore, the total record of the Ravens 2020 opponents from the 2019 season is 112–144.
While it is a cool numbers game to think about how the schedule shapes up, it will really make no difference as the 2020 season gets underway. In 2019 the Steelers lost to two teams who qualified for the playoffs but were among the bottom of the NFL in 2018. The San Francisco 49ers only had four wins in 2018 but reached the Super Bowl this past season while the Buffalo Bills flipped their record from 6-10 in 2018 to 10-6 in 2019.
Ultimately, the 2019 records of teams mean very little when games are played next season. But for now, it’s an interesting exercise in crunching the numbers during the off-season.