NFL schedule release date 2020: When to expect an announcement, strength of schedule & more

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NFL schedule release date 2020: When to expect an announcement, strength of schedule & more 1

In a typical year, the NFL likes to set its schedule release date for roughly a week before the NFL Draft. For obvious reasons, though, 2020 is not a typical year.

The coronavirus pandemic has either outright canceled or postponed almost all sporting events around the globe for the coming months. In that sense, the NFL was fortunate to be in its offseason when the outbreak reached the United States, but now the NFL schedule release — and what that schedule might look like when it is released — is a big question mark for America’s most popular sports league.

Below is what we know about the NFL’s plans for its 2020 schedule release. We now know the date which the schedules will be announced, as well as the opponents for all 32 teams and, based on winning percentage from last season, the strength of schedule rankings.

MORE: Complete NFL Draft results

NFL schedule release date 2020

The NFL says it will release the 2020 schedule on Thursday, May 7. It will broadcast the proceedings live on NFL Network. That’s a few weeks later than the typical release date that comes the week before the draft, which this year was April 23-25.

The NFL is planning to schedule a full, 16-game season as of now. All NFL team facilities are currently shut down due to the pandemic, and offseason programs are being altered significantly.

The league likes to release its complete schedule roughly a week before the draft in part because it’s an open window for media coverage. Yet in 2020, with the COVID-19 pandemic having cleared the sports calendar through the spring and into the summer, the NFL forcing its schedule release before the draft was necessary if media coverage and fan attention is what the league craves. May and June are wide open.

Another issue is the doubt surrounding how the schedule will play out — and if it will play out at all. While there has been no official word on the status of the 2020 college and pro football seasons, late-summer sports like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been impacted by the virus, and some like ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit have speculated publicly that there will be no NFL season.

“The easy answer and the hard answer are the same answer — which is it’s too soon to tell,” NFLPA medical director Thom Mayer said on Adam Schefter’s podcast on March 30 when asked whether there will be a 2020 NFL season. “I think we’re going to know a lot more in late May, early June.”

On a less important level, the NFL pushing back its schedule release date in 2020 surely is welcomed by those who are tasked with creating the schedule. The difficult process takes months, and any extra time could help ensure fairness for all 32 teams as well as optimal prime-time lineups for the NFL’s broadcast partners.

Bill Belichick

Who has the toughest NFL schedule in 2020?

New England Patriots (.537 opponents win percentage)

HomeAway
Buffalo BillsBuffalo Bills
Miami DolphinsMiami Dolphins
New York JetsNew York Jets
Arizona CardinalsHouston Texans
Baltimore RavensKansas City Chiefs
Denver BroncosLos Angeles Chargers
Las Vegas RaidersLos Angeles Rams
San Francisco 49ersSeattle Seahawks

Thanks to the lowly Dolphins and the average-at-best Jets, the Patriots are dragged down by the 2019 records of their divisional opponents (44-52). But their rotational opponents in 2020 are tough.

New England draws Super Bowl-champion Kansas City in addition to first-place opponents Baltimore and Houston. And like everybody else in the AFC East, the Patriots have to play against the NFC West, one of if not the best division in football.

New England will have seven matchups with teams that won 10 or more regular-season games last year.

Lamar Jackson

Who has the easiest NFL schedule in 2020?

Baltimore Ravens (.438 opponents win percentage)

HomeAway
Cincinnati BengalsCincinnati Bengals
Cleveland BrownsCleveland Browns
Pittsburgh SteelersPittsburgh Steelers
Dallas CowboysHouston Texans
Jacksonville JaguarsIndianapolis Colts
Kansas City ChiefsNew England Patriots
New York GiantsPhiladelphia Eagles
Tennessee TitansWashington Redskins

Though the Ravens technically have the easiest schedule for 2020 in terms of opponents’ 2019 win percentage, chances are they won’t actually have the easiest schedule in 2020.

For one, we expect their division opponents in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Cincinnati to improve upon the 32-64 mark they posted last season. Likewise, other teams on their schedule like the Giants, Eagles and Colts could end up with more wins this year. And yes, as a first-place team, Baltimore still has to play Kansas City.

With all that said, only three teams on the Ravens’ schedule won more than 10 regular-season games last year.

2020 NFL strength of schedule rankings

Even though we don’t know the specifics of the 2020 NFL schedule like dates and kickoff times, we do know all the matchups. So based on 2019 win percentages, we can determine the NFL strength of schedule rankings for 2020.

Below are those rankings, from the toughest schedule in New England to the easiest schedule in Baltimore.

RankTeamOpponents’ 2019 win percentage
1New England Patriots.537 (137-118-1)
2New York Jets.533 (136-119-1)
3Miami Dolphins.529 (135-120-1)
4San Francisco 49ers.527 (134-120-2)
T5Buffalo Bills.525 (134-121-1)
T5Atlanta Falcons.525 (134-121-1)
T5Detroit Lions.525 (134-121-1)
T8Arizona Cardinals.518 (132-123-1)
T8Houston Texans.518 (132-123-1)
T10Minnesota Vikings.516 (131-123-2)
T10Los Angeles Rams.516 (131-123-2)
12Denver Broncos.512 (131-125)
T13Chicago Bears.508 (129-125-2)
T13Seattle Seahawks.508 (129-125-2)
15Green Bay Packers.504 (128-126-2)
T16Tampa Bay Buccaneers.502 (128-127-1)
T16Indianapolis Colts.502 (128-127-1)
T18Carolina Panthers.500 (127-127-2)
T18Kansas City Chiefs.500 (128-128)
20Tennessee Titans.498 (127-128-1)
21Las Vegas Raiders.496 (127-129)
22Jacksonville Jaguars.494 (126-129-1)
23Los Angeles Chargers.492 (126-130)
24New Orleans Saints.490 (125-130-1)
25Philadelphia Eagles.486 (124-131-1)
26New York Giants.482 (123-132-1)
27Cincinnati Bengals.477 (122-134)
28Washington Redskins.465 (118-136-2)
29Cleveland Browns.461 (118-138)
30Dallas Cowboys.459 (117-138-1)
31Pittsburgh Steelers.457 (117-139)
32Baltimore Ravens.438 (112-144)

2020 NFL schedule for all 32 teams

The opponents for each NFL team in 2020 were determined upon the conclusion of the 2019 regular season. The league’s scheduling formula guarantees all teams play each other on a rotating basis.

Every team plays …

  1. Home and away against its three division opponents
  2. The four teams from another division within its conference on a rotating three-year cycle
  3. The four teams from a division in the other conference on a rotating four-year cycle
  4. Two intraconference games based on the prior year’s standings (these games match a first-place team against the first-place teams in the two same-conference divisions the team is not scheduled to play that season)

Below are the opponents for each team in 2020.

Josh Allen

AFC East

New England Patriots

  • Home: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, San Francisco 49ers
  • Away: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks

Buffalo Bills

  • Home: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks
  • Away: Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans

New York Jets

  • Home: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, San Francisco 49ers
  • Away: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks

Miami Dolphins

  • Home: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Cincinnati Bengals, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks
  • Away: Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, Las Vegas Raiders, San Francisco 49ers
Baker Mayfield

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens

  • Home: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans
  • Away: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins
  • Away: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans

Cleveland Browns

  • Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Las Vegas Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins
  • Away: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, New York Jets, Tennessee Titans

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Home: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Chargers, New York Giants, Tennessee Titans
  • Away: Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins
Deshaun Watson

AFC South

Houston Texans

  • Home: Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots
  • Away: Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers

Tennessee Titans

  • Home: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Away: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings

Indianapolis Colts

  • Home: Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, New York Jets
  • Away: Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Las Vegas Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Home: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Away: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings
Patrick Mahomes

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs

  • Home: Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, New England Patriots, New York Jets
  • Away: Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Denver Broncos

  • Home: Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans
  • Away: Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Home: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Away: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, New England Patriots, New York Jets

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Home: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, New England Patriots, New York Jets
  • Away: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Dak Prescott

NFC East

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Home: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks
  • Away: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers

Dallas Cowboys

  • Home: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers
  • Away: New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings, Seattle Seahawks

New York Giants

  • Home: Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Away: Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks

Washington Redskins

  • Home: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks
  • Away: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers
Aaron Rodgers

NFC North

Green Bay Packers

  • Home: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans
  • Away: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Minnesota Vikings

  • Home: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans
  • Away: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Chicago Bears

  • Home: Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Away: Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Los Angeles Rams, Tennessee Titans

Detroit Lions

  • Home: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins
  • Away: Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans
Drew Brees

NFC South

New Orleans Saints

  • Home: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco 49ers
  • Away: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Las Vegas Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles

Atlanta Falcons

  • Home: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Las Vegas Raiders, Seattle Seahawks
  • Away: Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Home: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Los Angeles Rams, Minnesota Vikings
  • Away: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Las Vegas Raiders, New York Giants

Carolina Panthers

  • Home: Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Las Vegas Raiders
  • Away: Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Green Bay Packers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins
Russell Wilson

NFC West

San Francisco 49ers

  • Home: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins
  • Away: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

  • Home: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New York Giants, New York Jets
  • Away: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins

Los Angeles Rams

  • Home: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, New York Giants, New York Jets
  • Away: Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins

Arizona Cardinals

  • Home: Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins
  • Away: Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, New York Giants, New York Jets.

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