The 2021 NFL schedule has been made official. While fans of all teams are going to be excited to check out what's in store for the year ahead, some will be happier than others.
Whether it's an annoyingly difficult stretch at a key moment, a poorly positioned bye week or bad luck with injuries, plenty of things can go wrong with the luck of the draw on a team's schedule.
These three teams got screwed the most.
3. New York Jets
The big focus for the New York Jets in 2021 is getting Zach Wilson comfortable and developing at the NFL level. Playing on the road in Week 1, then against the New England Patriots (8th fewest passing yards per game allowed in 2020) in Week 2 and on the road against the Denver Broncos (NFL's seventh highest pressure rate in 2020) is going to make that difficult. If Wilson makes it unscathed through this stretch of the Jets' schedule it will be incredibly promising, but the team will also have to work hard to make sure his confidence doesn't take a hit early.
2. Carolina Panthers
If the Carolina Panthers hope to make it a quick rebuild and fight for a playoff spot in 2021, they'll need to get off to a hot start. Their final four-game stretch is about as tough as it gets. In Week 15 they're on the road for a December meeting with the Buffalo Bills, then they get a home game with the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, followed by road games against the New Orleans Saints and the Bucs again. Overall, five of their final eight games come on the road, with five of those eight coming against teams that made the playoffs in 2020. Two of the three that didn't — the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals — are also already looking like legitimate playoff contenders in 2021.
1. San Francisco 49ers
According to ESPN's Brian Burke, no team will have to travel more miles than the San Francisco 49ers in 2021. That's a problem for the whole NFC West, but the 49ers get the worst of it, travelling a total of over 25,000 miles over the course of the season. For context, the team with the fewest travel miles (the Cincinnati Bengals) has to travel under 10,000 miles. Add in an early bye week (Week 6) and road games in four of the final six weeks of the season, and nobody got it worse than the 49ers on Wednesday night.
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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.