The Denver Broncos will not be benefiting from a third place schedule in 2017. According to CBS Sports, they will have the toughest strength of schedule to start the season.
They play eight teams that won 10 or more games. Fully half their season in 2017 will be against playoff caliber opponents. Fortunately, most of those teams will be coming to Mile High. The finalized schedule is expected to be released sometime around the middle of April, so for now we only know the teams home and away opponents.
Home: Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Cincinnati Bengals
Away: Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Indianapolis Colts
The good news is that the three teams right behind the Broncos are their three AFC West division rivals. Misery does love company.
2017 NFL Strength of Schedule
And before you say strength of schedule doesn’t matter, here is a note from CBS Sports that I found really interesting.
In three of the past four seasons, the team with the easiest schedule has gone on to make at least the conference title game.
Could we see the Colts in the AFC Championship game this year?
Thanks to the commenter who pointed out that the Atlanta Falcons had the toughest strength of schedule in 2016, so that could actually work out in the Broncos favor too.