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49ers, Falcons to have NFL’s toughest schedules in 2016

Courtesy of Kyle Terada, USA Today Sports

New San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly is going to have to hit the ground running if he’s going to turn around what was a disastrous 2015 campaign for the team.

According to this information from CBS Sports, San Francisco joins the equally disappointing Atlanta Falcons with the toughest schedules in the NFL next season.

Based on 2015 records, San Francisco and Atlanta will play opponents with a combined .555 winning percentage from a season ago.

Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers boast the easiest schedule with their opponents combining for a .446 winning percentage in 2015.

No one ever said football was fair. This is just another example of that.

Forced to play in the NFC West, San Francisco will have to take on both Seattle and Arizona twice in 2016. Those two playoff teams combined for a 23-9 record a season ago. Taking divisional opponents out of the equation, San Francisco also matches wits with the AFC East and NFC South.

This means games against three more teams (New England Patriots, New York Jets and Carolina Panthers) with winning records a season ago. Taking on the defending NFC champion Panthers on the road is going to be especially difficult.

Coming off a five-win campaign under one-and-done head coach Jim Tomsula, San Francisco also boasted the third-toughest schedule during the 2015 season. Playing in the NFC West obviously factored into the equation there.

For the Falcons, taking on the NFC West and the AFC West will prove to be difficult. Not only will they have to log a lot of travel miles out west, that’s four games against teams that earned a playoff spot last year.

Four of Atlanta’s eight road games will take place in the Pacific Time Zone, two of them (Los Angeles and Oakland) in California.

Add in two outings against the 15-win Panthers, and Dan Quinn’s squad is going to have a tough go at it following a disappointing 2015 campaign.

Taking on the NFC East and AFC South, the Packers shouldn’t be too concerned over what looks to be an easy schedule. The Houston Texans and Washington Redskins won these two divisions with identical 9-7 records.

Meanwhile, Green Bay has four games against the lackluster Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions on the schedule.

A second-place schedule will also have them going up against the Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles to complete their 16-game slate. That means Green Bay will play just five games against teams with a winning record from a season ago.