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2024 NFL Schedule Winners and Losers

After getting bits and pieces of the 2024 NFL schedule over the last few days, Roger Goodell and company have finally dropped the entire slate for the upcoming season.

We still have nearly four months to sort through the entirety of this year's schedule, and while we will continue to focus in the microscope on the strengths and weaknesses of each NFL team's road ahead, it's always fun to share some instant reactions when the whole schedule is first made available to football fans.

Below, you'll find our initial reaction to the 2024 NFL schedule release. We've included our biggest "winners" and "losers" of the complicated labyrinth that includes home games, road trips, and the strength of opponents teams will face in the upcoming season.

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Winner - Los Angeles Chargers

Playing the division-rival Kansas City Chiefs twice a year certainly isn't a cakewalk, but L.A.'s other two divisional opponents - the Raiders and Broncos - don't exactly strike fear in anyone's hearts in their current forms. With Jim Harbaugh now at the helm and pushing a new hard-nosed philosophy, it's very possible the Bolts could find success right away...especially when taking their 2024 schedule into account.

Harbaugh and company will face the entirety of the NFC South as part of their out-of-conference schedule. Trips to Carolina and Atlanta and home matchups with New Orleans and Tampa Bay all seem like winnable games. Their toughest game outside of the division will be the "Harbaugh Bowl" in a Monday matchup at home in Week 12. Perhaps the highlight of the Chargers schedule is the last month of the season. If L.A. enters the home stretch on the borderline of playoff contention - a spot where they've firmly resided the last several years - they close the '24 campaign with a favorable trio of opponents in the Broncos, Patriots, and Raiders.

 

Winner - Atlanta Falcons

The offseason firing of Arthur Smith and the signing of Kirk Cousins signals the Falcons feel they are in "win now mode" (we won't talk about the NFL Draft). Their 2024 schedule looks as though they could do just that. After an admittedly tough opening stretch against the Steelers, Eagles, and Chiefs things really open up for the Birds, as after the first month of the season they face opponents with the lowest combined 2023 winning percentage on this year's schedule and just two teams that managed winning records last year!

Divisional opponents - Carolina, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay - are never an easy "W", though Atlanta compares favorably to the rest of the always-crazy NFC South on paper. After the first month of the season, all of the Falcons' toughest non-division games (Seattle, Dallas, L.A. Chargers) are at home, while they could face at least three rookie QBs (Minnesota, Denver, Washington) in the away portion of the schedule.

 

Winner - New York Jets

Obviously, the health and performance of QB Aaron Rodgers - who is returning from an Achilles injury that cost him all of 2023 - will be the ultimate factor in how successful the Jets are in 2024, but the schedule makers did Gang Green a few solids for the forthcoming campaign, most notably the opening stretch of the year.

Though they kick off 2024 with a brutal matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, New York still has a chance for a fast start, as their next four opponents (Titans, Patriots, Broncos, Vikings) sported a combined 25-43 record last year. The Jets' toughest 2024 road games come against divisional opponents and they also get the juicy perk of a closing stretch that includes hosting two West Coast squads (Seattle & L.A. Rams) in 1 pm ET home games following a Week 12 bye.

 

Loser - Pittsburgh Steelers

If there is one undeniable loser of the 2024 schedule, it's almost universally agreed to be Pittsburgh. The Steelers have tried to revamp their offense during the offseason by bringing in not only a new offensive coordinator in Arthur Smith but also two new QBs in Russell Wilson and Justin Fields. After taking a look at their brutal 2024 schedule, which some pundits are calling the toughest in league history, it might not matter if Pittsburgh had Patrick Mahomes under center.

Mike Tomlin and company will spend almost the entire first month of the season on the road, as they draw only one home game in their first four contests of 2024. Believe it or not, things actually get worse for the Steelers as the season goes along! Pittsburgh's first divisional game isn't until Week 11, which means six of their last eight games will be against the Ravens, Bengals, and Browns. Their other two opponents in the last month of the season? The Chiefs and Eagles. Thoughts and prayers to those who wave the Terrible Towel in 2024.

 

Loser - Cleveland Browns

Maybe Steelers fans can take some solace in the fact that they weren't the only AFC North squad to receive rugged treatment from the NFL schedule makers. After veteran Joe Flacco led the Browns to a Cinderella-type appearance in the NFL Playoffs last season, Cleveland could turn back into a pumpkin quickly in 2024.

Based on their opponents' 2023 records, Cleveland has the toughest schedule in the NFL this season. Not only do they face non-divisional powerhouses such as the Cowboys, Eagles, Chiefs, and Dolphins, but they'll be on the road for four of their first six games of the year - a stretch that includes three consecutive road games in Weeks 4, 5, and 6.

Though that stretch is followed by a three-game homestand, there are no guarantees against the Bengals, Ravens, and Chargers. Finally, the Brownies will play five of their last eight away from the Dawg Pound, while each of their last five opponents of 2024 made the NFL Playoffs last year.

 

Loser - Jacksonville Jaguars

Following a breakout 2022, the Jags and Trevor Lawrence looked primed to dominate the AFC South for years. However, with the emergence of Houston's C.J. Stroud, the potential of Indy's Anthony Richardson, and a revamped offensive system in Tennessee, the road to a division title suddenly looks a lot more difficult for Jacksonville.

Doug Pederson's bunch won't find much solace in their 2024 schedule. Jacksonville is the only team in the NFL with two international games on their schedule, which means they're the only team in the league with only seven games in their true home stadium. Thanks to that two-week residence in London across Weeks 6 & 7, the Jaguars will play in Duval County just four times over the first three months of the season. As if that lack of home-field advantage weren't enough, Jacksonville must travel to a pair of the NFL's most challenging environments for prime time games, going on the road to Buffalo for a Monday Night Football matchup and to Philadelphia for a Sunday Night Football tilt.



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