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NFL 2015 Strength of Schedules for all 32 teams

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The NFL will release the 2015 schedule later tonight. We take a quick look at the strength of schedule for all 32 NFL teams this morning.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

No other sport seems to have as much interest in the schedule release as the NFL does. Maybe that is a by-product of having just 16 regular season games, but fans love when the schedule is made public, and they can start carving it up to see how many prime time games their favorite team has, where the schedule makers were tought on them for a three- or four-game stretch, where there are "easy" games, and, most importantly, which games they will be able to attend. That will all start tonight as the league releases the schedule at 8pm ET.

The NFL will finalize the schedule of 16 games per team spread over 17 weeks tonight, but the opponents for all 32 teams was finalized back in December. The league breaks any individual team's schedule into groups, the first of which is the six games the team will play, three at home and three on the road, against the other three teams in the division. Four more games will be played, two at home and two on the road, against the teams of another division within the conference, and then the same for a division from the other conference. This means, all four teams within a conference will face the same opponents for 14 of the 16 games. The other two games will feature a team facing the teams from the other two divisions in the conference that finished in the same position as the original team.

Explaining it with more specifics, and potentially making it easier to follow, the Miami Dolphins are in the AFC East, meaning they will face the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, and New York Jets twice every year, once in Miami and once on the road. The league then rotates the division versus division matchups, with the AFC East facing the AFC South and the NFC East this season. That gives Miami the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts from the AFC South and the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants from the NFC East at home in 2015, while they will visit the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans from the AFC South and the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins from the NFC East. In 2016, the AFC East will pair with the AFC North and the NFC West, followed by the AFC West and NFC South in 2017, just to give you a look at the rotation.

That gives Miami 14 of the 16 opponents. The Dolphins finished third in the AFC East in 2014, meaning they will then play the third place team from the two other AFC divisions, in this case the AFC North (Baltimore Ravens) and AFC West (San Diego Chargers).

Using this known rotation and placement formula, teams know their opponents for the next season as soon as the regular season ends each year. Then it is just a waiting game until April to get the week-to-week schedule. Knowing the opponents for each team also allows us to determine who has the "hardest" schedule or the "weakest" schedule each year. Using winning percentages from the 2014 season, the Pittsburgh Steelers will have the toughest time in 2015, while the Atlanta Falcons find themselves with the easiest slate of games (it helps when your entire division finishes below .500). Here is the full list of the strength of schedule, based on 2014 winning percentages:

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (.579)

2. Cincinnati Bengals (.563)

3. San Francisco 49ers (.561)

4. Seattle Seahawks (.559)

5. Arizona Cardinals (.557)

6. St. Louis Rams (.553)

7 (tie). Oakland Raiders / Kansas City Chiefs (.545)

9. Cleveland Browns (.543)

10. Denver Broncos (.541)

11 (tie). Baltimore Ravens / Minnesota Vikings(.539)

13. Chicago Bears (.531)

14. Green Bay Packers (.529)

15. Detroit Lions (.527)

16. San Diego Chargers (.518)

17. Miami Dolphins (.492)

18. New York Jets (.488)

19. Buffalo Bills (.486)

20 (tie). Washington Redskins / New York Giants (.478)

22. New England Patriots (.477)

23. Philadelphia Eagles (.475)

24. Dallas Cowboys (.467)

25. Jacksonville Jaguars (.463)

26. Tennessee Titans (.435)

27. Carolina Panthers (.434)

28. New Orleans Saints (.429)

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (.425)

30. Houston Texans (.417)

31. Indianapolis Colts (.417)

32. Atlanta Falcons (.409)