NFL schedule release 2014: A look at the 4 NFC West schedules

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL schedule release means we can figure out which NFC West team has the best schedule, and why the 49ers got hosed compared to the others! Well, maybe not entirely.

The 2014 NFL regular season schedule was released Wednesday evening, which means we've now had almost a full day to break it down and make our wild and crazy predictions. One other way to look at the schedules is comparisons across the division. Here is a rundown of the NFC West schedules, with links to the respective blog article on the schedule release.

Week 49ers schedule Seahawks schedule Cardinals schedule Rams schedule
1 @ Cowboys vs. Packers vs. Chargers (MNF) vs. Vikings
2 vs. Bears @ Chargers @ Giants @ Buccaneers
3 @ Cardinals vs. Broncos vs. 49ers vs. Cowboys
4 vs. Eagles BYE BYE BYE
5 vs. Chiefs @ Washington (MNF) @ Broncos @ Eagles
6 @ Rams (MNF) vs. Cowboys vs. Washington vs. 49ers (MNF)
7 @ Broncos @ Rams @ Raiders vs. Seahawks
8 BYE @ Panthers vs. Eagles @ Chiefs
9 vs. Rams vs. Raiders @ Cowboys @ 49ers
10 @ Saints vs. Giants vs. Rams @ Cardinals
11 @ Giants @ Chiefs vs. Lions vs. Broncos
12 vs. Washington vs. Cardinals @ Seahawks @ Chargers
13 vs. Seahawks (Turkey) @ 49ers (Turkey) @ Falcons vs. Raiders
14 @ Raiders @ Eagles vs. Chiefs @ Washington
15 @ Seahawks vs. 49ers @ Rams (TNF) vs. Cardinals (TNF)
16 vs. Chargers (Sat) @ Cardinals vs. Seahawks vs. Giants
17 vs. Cardinals vs. Rams @ 49ers @ Seahawks

The most interesting thing about the schedule might be the same bye week for the Cardinals, Rams and Seahawks in Week 4, and then the 49ers in Week 8. The easy response would be putting them all together in the same week, but it's obviously not that simple. Speaking of the difficulty, check out Peter King's article about the schedule makers. It's a really interesting read if you're into this kind of thing.

The Rams are the only one of the four teams with a 3-game road trip. They have to travel to the Chiefs, 49ers and Cardinals Weeks 8-10. Prior to that road trip, and coming out of their Week 4 bye, they travel to face the Eagles, then play back-to-back home games against the 49ers and Seahawks. That's a brutal stretch for them. Oh, and after the three road games, they return home to face the Broncos. Yikes!

The Seahawks schedule gets them the Broncos at home, which is obviously a benefit. The MMQB article has an interesting rundown of what would have been a brutal stretch. One iteration of the schedule that appeared close to set had the Seahawks traveling to St. Louis, Washington and Kansas City over three straight weeks. That would have resulted in 11,010 air miles in 15 days. For comparison, the 49ers apparently have a little over 20,000 air miles the entire season. Not that I would have had a problem with that happening to Seattle!

The Seahawks have two back-to-back road games on their schedule (Rams/Panthers, 49ers/Eagles). The 49ers have three such sections of their schedule, including Rams/Broncos, Saints/Giants and Raiders/Seahawks. The third one doesn't really count because it's a bus ride to the Coliseum. It's a road game in terms of environment, but it could be a lot worse.

Who do you think has the "toughest" and "easiest" schedules from these four teams? The 49ers have their work cut out for them, but I still like that close to the season. They do have to play Seattle twice in three weeks, but even with the physicality of those games, it's not the end of the world. But maybe the NFC West gets decided during that stretch. My guess is they end up splitting, but one team could have a chance going into the second game to make a statement.

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