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NFC West teams face similiar schedules

PHOENIX – The NFL schedule was released on Tuesday and the teams in the NFC West have one thing in common.

They all rank near the bottom of the league in strength of schedule of their opponents next season.

It’s a reminder of how bad the division was last season as every team plays each team in their division twice, meaning each team in the NFC West gets to play six games against teams with a .500 or worse record.

However, every team in the division has to play tough games against the entire NFC East such as the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants and Washington Redskins.

In addition, all NFC West teams have to play every AFC North team including the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns.

The division winner Seattle Seahawks have the toughest schedule in the division, based on last season’s records of their opponents, but still only have the 24th toughest schedule making it the easiest schedule among the division winners.

Their opponents 2010 record was 125-131.

Prime time games include playing at home against the Eagles in Week 13 on Thursday Night Football and in Week 14 face the division rival St. Louis Rams on Monday Night Football.

Seattle also will face the Atlanta Falcons at home in Week 4 and on the road against the Chicago Bears in Week 15.

Speaking of the St. Louis Rams, they have the 26th hardest schedule in the NFL with their opponents 2010 record at 122-134.

Besides the Monday Night match-up with the Seahawks, the Rams also play on Monday Night in Week 2 on the road against the New York Giants.

Additional tough games include at home against the New Orleans Saints in Week 8 and on the road against the Green Bay Packers in Week 6.

The San Francisco 49ers have only the 30th hardest schedule in the NFL with their opponents 2010 record at 119-137.

Their prime time games are in Week 12 on the road against the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday Night Football and in Week 15 at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday Night Football.