It’s normally not wise to put too much weight into strength of schedule before the season because the league changes so much from year to year. Just look at last year’s Super Bowl champions as an example, who finished 5-12 this season. The Bengals were also projected to have a top five pick last season. You never really know what’s going to happen each week in the NFL, let alone each year, which is why it has become the most popular league in the world. However, at this very moment, the Falcons are slotted to have the easiest schedule in the league, based on opponents’ winning percentage from this season.
I’m not sure if the Falcons will have the easiest schedule of any team next year, but it should be very doable for a team that’s hoping to become contenders in 2023.
The NFC South is a dumpster fire. Tampa Bay went all in for Tom Brady, who could be playing elsewhere or retire next season. Regardless, they are way over the cap and weren’t a very good team this year. The Panthers have a solid defense, but it’s going to be tough for them to finish over .500 without a quarterback. And the Saints are in the worst position of them all. They don’t have a quarterback, their coach is in question, no cap space, and few draft picks. It’s unlikely they field a very competitive team for a long time.
It’s not far-fetched to say the Falcons have the best outlook of any team in the division. Ridder showed some promise at quarterback, and the offense as a whole was above average because of a dominant run game. But more importantly, the Falcons have all of their cap space and are set up to have a ton of cap space over the next two years. Against a weak NFC South with a last place schedule, there’s no reason they shouldn’t be competing for a playoff spot in 2023.
Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
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