Easy paths for 49ers, Cardinals, Seahawks

November, 5, 2009
11/05/09
6:23
PM ET
NFC strength of schedule: Weeks 1 through 8
Team Opp. record Opp. win pct.
Atlanta Falcons
30-19 .612
Detroit Lions
30-22 .588
San Francisco 49ers
30-22 .588
Arizona Cardinals
28-23 .549
Tampa Bay Bucs
28-23 .549
Seattle Seahawks
27-23 .540
St. Louis Rams
29-28 .509
Green Bay Packers
26-27 .491
New Orleans Saints
25-27 .481
Carolina Panthers
23-27 .460
New York Giants
26-31 .456
Chicago Bears
22-28 .440
Dallas Cowboys
21-29 .420
Minnesota Vikings
23-35 .397
Philadelphia Eagles
20-31 .392
Washington Redskins
16-35 .314
NFC strength of schedule: Weeks 9 through 17
Team Opp. record Opp. win pct.
Washington Redskins
43-22 .662
Carolina Panthers
42-24 .636
New York Giants
36-21 .632
Philadelphia Eagles
38-26 .594
Tampa Bay Bucs
38-26 .594
Dallas Cowboys
36-29 .554
Chicago Bears
36-30 .545
St. Louis Rams
30-27 .526
Detroit Lions
34-31 .523
Minnesota Vikings
28-29 .491
Green Bay Packers
28-35 .444
Atlanta Falcons
29-37 .439
Seattle Seahawks
26-40 ,394
San Francisco 49ers
25-39 .391
Arizona Cardinals
24-42 .364
New Orleans Saints
23-41 .359
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Dawood asks via Facebook: I was wondering if you can make a chart such as this one, but for NFC West teams.

Mike Sando: I've put together an NFC answer to Tim's AFC chart, courtesy of Elias Sports Bureau via ESPN Stats & Information. I also flip-flopped the chart so Weeks 1 through 8 appeared on top, with Weeks 9 through 17 on bottom.

The charts show strength of schedules for NFC teams based on games played (top chart) and games yet to play (bottom chart). NFC West teams have played four of the seven toughest schedules in the NFC to this point.

Looking ahead, however, the Cardinals, 49ers and Seahawks face relatively easy roads ahead. They play three of the four easiest remaining schedules for NFC teams, based on records to this point in the season. The poor Rams draw an even tougher second-half schedule while contributing to a Saints schedule heretofore known as the Big Easy.

Check out the Redskins. They have struggled against the easiest schedule in the NFC to this point. The toughest remaining schedule in the NFC awaits. Good luck, Jim Zorn. You're going to need it.

The Cardinals appear to be in good position to maintain their one-game lead in the division, but a 49ers victory over Arizona in Week 14 -- at Candlestick -- could make things tougher. I see Arizona winning at least five more games, beating the Seahawks, Rams (twice), Titans and Lions. That would put them at 9-7 even if they lost to the 49ers again.

In that case, the 49ers would also need to win nine games if they were to win the division title. To do that, the 49ers would have to win six of their final nine, including against Arizona. The way I see things, they would probably have to win their next two, both at home, against the Titans and Bears. I would also have them beating the Jaguars, Lions and Rams. Picking up another victory somewhere along the way -- say, at Seattle -- would be huge.

The Seahawks, meanwhile, might have a tough enough time getting from 2-5 to 7-9. They could get to 7-9 by beating the Lions, Rams, 49ers, Bucs and Titans. Contending for the division title might require additional victories over, say, the Cardinals and Texans, both on the road. That will be tough.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

NFC WEST SCOREBOARD