- James Walker, ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter
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For two straight years, the Patriots had the easiest strength of schedule in the AFC East and one of the easiest in the NFL. In 2013, New England has the 14th-toughest schedule in the league.
Here are the complete strength of schedule ratings next season for the AFC East:
No. 8: Miami Dolphins (.520 winning percentage)
No. 14: New England Patriots (.508 winning percentage)
No. 19: New York Jets (.496 winning percentage)
No. 26: Buffalo Bills (.473 winning percentage)
What stands out most is that Miami has the eighth-toughest schedule next season. The Dolphins were 7-9 in 2012 and will be expected to make a jump in the second year under head coach Joe Philbin and quarterback Ryan Tannehill. However, a brutal slate for Miami that includes games against the Atlanta Falcons, Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals, the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens and two against the Patriots could make it tough for the Dolphins to make a playoff push.
The Dolphins have plenty of resources via the draft and free agency this offseason to build a stronger team. They definitely will need it to survive a tough upcoming slate.
The strength of schedule ratings are out for 2013, and (surprise!) the New England Patriots no longer have the easiest schedule.For two straight years, the Patriots had the easiest strength of schedule in the AFC East and one of the easiest in the NFL.