Panthers have toughest 2013 schedule, Broncos have easiest
Next season isn't going to be an easy one for Carolina. The Panthers have the toughest strength of schedule in the league heading into 2013.
|Cam Newton won't be smiling when he gets a look at the Panthers' schedule. (US Presswire)|
There are going to be a few potholes on the road to Super Bowl XLVIII for the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers, who finished 7-9 in 2012, have the toughest strength of schedule heading into 2013, according to numbers released by the NFL on Thursday.
The Panthers will play teams that combined to go 138-116-2 (.543) in 2012, which is in stark contrast to the Denver Broncos, who have the easiest strength of schedule heading into 2013. Denver's opponents went a combined 110-146 (.430) in 2012.
The Broncos aren't the only team in the AFC West with an easy strength of schedule, the Chargers, Raiders and Chiefs all have 2013 schedules that rank among the five easiest in the league.
So what does schedule strength mean in the parity-driven NFL? Not much apparently. The Baltimore Ravens won Super Bowl XLVII despite playing what was the fourth toughest schedule going into 2012. However, it is worth noting that of the four teams that earned first round byes in the 2012 playoffs, three of them -- San Francisco, Atlanta, New England -- played schedules that were ranked among the eight easiest in 2012.
Toughest 2013 schedules (Opponents' combined record, winning percentage)
1. Carolina Panthers: 138-116-2, .543
2. Detroit Lions: 138-118, .539
T-3. New Orleans Saints: 137-117-2, .539
T-3. St. Louis Rams: 137-117-2, .539
5. Baltimore Ravens: 137-119, .535
6. Green Bay Packers: 136-119-1, .533
7. Arizona Cardinals: 131-121-4, .520
8. Miami Dolphins: 133-123, .520
9. San Francisco 49ers: 132-122-2, .520
10. Minnesota Vikings: 132-124, .516
11. Seattle Seahawks: 130-122-4, .516
T-12. Cincinnati Bengals: 130-126, .508
T-12. New England Patriots: 130-126, .508
14. Jacksonville Jaguars: 129-125-2, .508
15. Atlanta Falcons: 128-126, .504
16. Chicago Bears: 128-127-1, .502
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 127-127-2, .500
18. Washington Redskins: 127-128-1, .498
T-19. New York Jets: 127-129, .496
T-19. Philadelphia Eagles: 127-129, .496
T-21. Cleveland Browns: 126-130, .492
T-21. Pittsburgh Steelers: 126-130, .492
23. Tennessee Titans: 124-130-2, .488
24. New York Giants: 123-133, .480
25. Dallas Cowboys: 121-134-1, .480
26. Houston Texans: 120-134-2, .473
T-27. Buffalo Bills: 121-135, .473
T-27. Kansas City Chiefs: 121-135, .473
29. Oakland Raiders: 120-136, .469
30. Indianapolis Colts: 117-137-2, .461
31. San Diego Chargers: 117-139, .457
32. Denver Broncos: 110-146, .430
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