December 29, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18, right) shakes hands with Oakland Raiders free safety Charles Woodson (24) at Coliseum. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 34-14. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

NFL strength of schedule 2014: Broncos, Raiders headline hardest schedules

Bad news, Oakland Raiders fans. The strength of schedule for the upcoming NFL season has already been determined, and the Raiders will have one of the hardest schedules in 2014. They are joined by the division rival Denver Broncos at the top of the list, but they are very different situations.

Oakland has a weak roster that could set the team up for another long year, while the Broncos will be just removed from the Super Bowl and reloaded with talent looking to make another run.

The Broncos are hoping to use their free agent acquisitions to return to the big game, and being battle tested throughout the season may prove to be in their favor.

Here are the five hardest schedules for the 2014 NFL regular season, according to the strength of schedule:

NOTEStrength of schedule is determined by the combined 2013 record of all 16 opponents.

1. Oakland Raiders, opponents 2013 record: 148-108 (.578)
2. Denver Broncos, opponents 2013 record: 146-110 (.570)
3. St. Louis Rams, opponents 2013 record: 144-111-1 (.564)
4 (T). San Diego Chargers, opponents 2013 record: 144-112 (.563)
4 (T). San Francisco 49ers, opponents 2013 record: 144-112 (.563)

Will having the hardest schedule in the NFL this season hurt the chances of the Broncos, Chargers or 49ers returning to the playoffs? Sound off in the comments section below with your thoughts and predictions.

Tags: Denver Broncos NFL Oakland Raiders

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