Toughest, easiest remaining schedules for NFL playoff contenders

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Schedule matters in the NFL. Last year, the Philadelphia Eagles had the second-hardest schedule by Football Outsiders metrics and went 7-9. This year, the Eagles' schedule ranks 30th so far, and they've got the best record in the NFL at 8-1. The New England Patriots rode the NFL's easiest schedule to a 14-2 record last season; the Carolina Panthers rode the easiest schedule to a 15-1 record the year before.

The timing of home and road games matters as well. Last year, the Denver Broncos started defending their Super Bowl 50 title with a 6-2 record, thanks in part to five home games in the first eight. They played five road games over the final eight, and went 3-5 the rest of the way.

Which teams have the most favorable and least favorable schedules in the second half of the season? To figure that out, we looked at the expected winning percentage of a perfectly average team against each team's remaining schedule. This method incorporates both the quality of the teams left on the schedule (based on Football Outsiders' DVOA ratings, explained here) and the split of home and road games.

Probabilities for playing teams such as Green Bay and Houston are adjusted for backup quarterbacks, and the probability of beating Dallas is adjusted during running back Ezekiel Elliott's suspension.

Note that our list includes only teams with at least a 10 percent chance of making the playoffs.