Eagles have NFL's most difficult schedule in 2017

The Philadelphia Eagles have the most difficult draw in all the NFL.

In an Insider post for ESPN, Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders updates 2017 win projections for every team. A part of the forecasting formula that Football Outsiders uses is strength of schedule. The Eagles, turns out, have the toughest SOS in the league. The world champion Patriots, meanwhile, have the easiest road.

The NFC East in general faces an uphill climb, with the Dallas Cowboys (2), Washington Redskins (3) and New York Giants (4) all in the top five in strength of schedule.

The problem isn't just these teams beating up on each other for six games -- the NFC East also draws the two West divisions, which means facing many of the league's top defenses. Right now in the NFC East, it isn't good enough to be good. You need to be great. With an easier schedule, an NFC South or West team doesn't have to play as well as an NFC East team to make the postseason as a wild card.

Football Outsiders has the Eagles finishing with an identical 7-9 record from last year despite the addition of Alshon Jeffery to an offense that should also benefit from a more seasoned Carson Wentz.

Last season, the Eagles played four consecutive teams that had extra rest, including three straight coming off their byes. A league schedule-maker acknowledged that to be "very rare." There is good news on that front for the Eagles this year as they won't face any teams coming off their bye in '17, which should help ease the degree of difficulty some.