Ranking the Toughest Schedules in the NFC North

Orrie SielaffCorrespondent IAugust 14, 2011

Ranking the Toughest Schedules in the NFC North

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    The NFL Preseason has just begun and football is about to captivate the country for yet another exciting season.  Nearly every division in the NFL will have an exciting battle for first place and a coveted playoff spot.  

    The NFC North figures to be one of the best divisions in football this year.  Two of its teams, the Bears and the Packers, were the best of the NFC last season, with Green Bay beating Chicago in the NFC Championship Game last January.  In addition, the Lions figure to be much improved from last year.  The Vikings appear to be in rebuilding mode, but still present a challenge.  

    So which team was given the easiest path to the division title?  Let's Begin...

4. (Easiest) Minnesota Vikings

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    Vikings Home Games

    Tampa Bay, Arizona, Oakland, Denver, New Orleans, Green Bay, Detroit, Chicago

    Vikings Away Games

    San Diego, Kansas City, Carolina, Atlanta, Washington, Green Bay, Detroit, Chicago

    Although they do have to play each of the better teams in the division, the remaining parts of the schedule are easy.  Home games versus Arizona, Oakland, and Denver are all winnable games.  The road game at Washington is also a good matchup for Minnesota.  

3. Detroit Lions

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    Lions Home Games

    Atlanta, Carolina, Kansas City, San Diego, San Francisco, Green Bay, Minnesota, Chicago

    Lions Away Games

    Dallas, Oakland, Denver, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Green Bay, Chicago, Minnesota

    The Lions may have the second-easiest schedule in the NFC North, but it is still a challenging one.  A tough road schedule is eased by an easier home slate.  Home games versus Carolina and San Francisco should be easy games.  

2. Green Bay Packers

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    Packers Home Games

    New Orleans, Denver, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Minnesota, Detroit, Chicago

    Packers Away Games

    Carolina, Atlanta, San Diego, New York Giants, Kansas City, Minnesota, Chicago, Detroit

    The Packers have four very tough road games.  Atlanta, San Diego, New York, and Kansas City will all be difficult games for Green Bay.  Things get easier at home with games versus Denver and Oakland.  The defending champs have their work cut for them.  

1. (Toughest) Chicago Bears

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    Bears Home Games

    Atlanta, Carolina, San Diego, Kansas City, Seattle, Green Bay, Minnesota, Detroit

    Bears Away Games

    New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, Oakland, Denver, Minnesota, Green Bay, Detroit

    The Bears edge out the Packers for the most difficult schedule in the division.  Three very tough road games versus three playoff-caliber NFC teams (NO, TB, PHI) will test Chicago.  Home games against Atlanta, San Diego, Kansas City, and Seattle are also challenges.  There are very few easy match-ups for the Bears this season.