2015 NFL schedule: Analyzing the AFC West


We already know the plight of the Kansas City Chiefs. Their first four games are the toughest for any team in the league going by winning percentage from 2014, but the slate eases up significantly over the final seven weeks. In fact, only one of those final seven contests are against a playoff team from last year, the Baltimore Ravens.

So how about the Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders? What do their schedules look like? Well, let’s go over each one and discuss

Denver Broncos

Primetime games: 5
Longest trip: 2
Longest home stand: 2

Denver starts out with a tough stretch. Baltimore at home won’t be easy, followed by trips to Kansas City and Detroit in primetime slots. The schedule then eases up considerably for three weeks before the BYE week, but then turns brutal. Starting in Week 8, the Broncos play five teams in six weeks that had a winning record in 2014, including three of the four teams in the conference championship games.

On paper, Denver should finish strong with a pair of home games against two teams that struggle with pressure. The Bengals and Chargers are both talented, but will be hard-pressed to win at Sports Authority Field. This is no cakewalk for the Broncos, who have a litany of changes to deal with.

San Diego Chargers

Primetime games: 4
Longest trip: 2
Longest home stand: 2

This is one of the more balanced schedules you will ever see. The Chargers are lucky not to have any tough stretches that last a month, but also don’t have a place where a run is easy to see. San Diego has a fairly difficult start while facing a pair of playoff teams from last year in the Lions and Bengals. The end of the campaign is also challenging with three divisional road games in four during December/January.

With the Chargers, the question always seems to be consistency. San Diego began the season on fire in 2014, only to fall apart down the stretch before losing to the Chiefs in Week 17, ending playoff dreams. If the Chargers have postseason designs this year, Weeks 3-5 need to be a trio of victories.

Oakland Raiders

Primetime games: 1
Longest trip: 2
Longest home stand: 2

Oakland might want to win games early, because the late-season schedule promises nothing but pain. Over the last five weeks, the Raiders play teams that all had winning records in 2014, including three divisional games. Oakland starts the season with three games against the AFC North foes, including the Ravens and Bengals at home.

The Raiders are going to be improved this year after adding Curtis Lofton, Michael Crabtree and Dan Williams, along with head coach Jack Del Rio. However, this slate is going to be tough to navigate. There is no stretch which lends itself to Oakland getting on a roll, something of a confidence-booster for a young club.