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Bills' 2017 strength of schedule ranks as fourth-most difficult

Plenty can change between now and September.

But as it stands, the Buffalo Bills have the fourth-toughest slate of games in 2017, based on strength of schedule. The Bills' 2017 opponents had a record of 143-112-1 in 2016, a winning percentage of .561 that is behind only Kansas City (.576), Oakland (.572) and the Los Angeles Chargers (.568) for toughest in the NFL, according to research from the Minnesota Vikings' official website.

In addition to their AFC East opponents, the Bills will face the AFC West (visiting the Chargers and Chiefs while hosting the Broncos and Raiders) and NFC South (visiting the Falcons and Panthers while hosting the Buccaneers and Saints) teams. Buffalo also will host Indianapolis and visit Cincinnati by way of those teams finishing in third place − like the Bills did in the AFC East − in the AFC South and AFC North, respectively. The Colts have the "easiest" schedule, with an opponent winning percentage of .424.

The Bills play seven teams that made the playoffs in 2016 − two games against the Super Bowl-champion Patriots, two against Miami, then Kansas City, Atlanta and Oakland. The Chiefs, Broncos and Chargers − all with eight − are the only teams with more.

Strength of schedule is far from the only tool to evaluate how a team may possibly do in the next season. One suspension or injury can drastically change a team's outlook, as when the Bills got to face the Patriots without Tom Brady in 2016. Still, it shows that if the Bills are going to end a 17-year playoff drought, they'll have their work cut out for them.




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