As much as I'd like to criticize the league for the Patriots soft schedule, it's not something they have control over. The schedule is completely determined based on rotating divisions and the standings.
Didn't a team's schedule used to be based on their record the year before?
For example, if a team had a poor record the year before they would have an easier schedule the following year, and a team who had a better record the year before would warrant a harder schedule the following year...all based on the the records of teams the previous year.
I thought that is how it worked a handful of years ago before they changed it...but maybe I'm wrong.