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|
|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.