The NFL schedule will be released on May 11, but we already know the matchups and locations for each team. With that information, DraftKings Sportsbook assigned win totals to each team, and we used those numbers to uncover three teams with the easiest schedule in 2023-24.
Atlanta Falcons (8.5 projected wins)
The NFC South will be a common theme throughout this article, as there are no superior teams that emerge from this division. On top of that, each NFC South member will play every team from the AFC South this season, which is arguably the easiest division in all of football.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to be the toughest team in the AFC South, and the Falcons will play them in a neutral site game in London on October 1.
The AFC and NFC South opponents account for 10 of the 17 scheduled games for Atlanta. Four more will be played against each NFC North member, which isn’t the most intimidating crossover when considering Aaron Rodgers left the division and the Minnesota Vikings are expected to take a step back.
For Atlanta, all eyes will be on the young skill position players. Second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder wasn’t bad towards the end of last season, but Falcons’ fans will look for him to take a major step forward.
Drake London and Kyle Pitts make for exciting pass-catchers while rookie running back Bijan Robinson gives this team an explosive playmaker in the backfield. The NFC South is wide open, and the Falcons could find themselves in a position to claim the crown if those young players hit their stride.
New Orleans Saints (9.5 projected wins)
Here we go again with another member of the NFC South.
Everything mentioned in Atlanta’s write-up also holds true for the Saints. They will play 10 games against the two weakest divisions, the NFC and AFC South, while crossing over with four games against the NFC North.
New Orleans will play expected AFC South leader Jacksonville at home, which is key. Trips to the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings could be tricky, and the Saints will also have to travel to take on the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Rams. Still, those teams are hardly juggernauts heading into 2023, and this schedule is very manageable.
The Saints are favored to win this suspect NFC South division that did not produce a single winning record last season. While it feels like New Orleans is more the “de facto” favorite than an “earned” favorite, it has a solid defense along with the most stable quarterback position in the division.
While the other NFC South teams are turning to young signal-callers or transitional free agents, the Saints landed former Las Vegas Raiders QB Derek Carr in the offseason. Say what you want about Carr, but he’s more proven than the likes of Desmond Ridder (ATL), Bryce Young (CAR), and Baker Mayfield (TB).
San Francisco 49ers (11.5 projected wins)
San Francisco is actually tied for the third-easiest schedule with two other teams, the Carolina Panthers (yet another NFC South squad) and Chicago Bears. If you want to see the complete strength of schedule rankings, check out our handy and sortable chart here.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the 49ers have the second-best odds to win the NFC. They also are tied for the best odds to make the playoffs. Their favorable schedule has plenty to do with that.
Let’s face it, the NFC West has fallen off in recent seasons. The Arizona Cardinals have the worst odds to win the conference. The Los Angeles Rams aren’t ahead of them by much. While the Seattle Seahawks impressed last season, they are still a fringe playoff team that doesn’t pose a serious threat to San Francisco’s bid at another NFC West crown.
San Francisco then plays every team from the AFC North and NFC East. Those crossovers aren’t the easiest possible combination, but they are hardly devastating. Getting the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, and Dallas Cowboys at home definitely helps.
The 49ers will play at the Philadelphia Eagles in a must-see game on December 3, but the rest of their road schedule is very manageable.
Armed with one of the best defenses in football, the 49ers have high expectations despite some uncertainty at the quarterback position. Veteran Jimmy Garoppolo has moved on, and second-year QB Brock Purdy is listed atop the depth chart. San Francisco is reportedly taking calls on Trey Lance, who was the Week 1 starter last year.