The Ravens 2013 schedule of opponents includes some intriguing matchups that will surely inspire friendly debate at the office water cooler.
Each season fans weigh in on schedules primarily to: 1) Determine how strong or weak a schedule is; 2) Study the pacing of the schedule for home and away games including kickoff times and nationally televised games; and 3) Examine which games might be attractive road trips.
The actual schedule will not be released until sometime in April during an overly dramatic presentation by NFL Network, however we do know now which teams the Ravens will face next season.
The league determines a team’s schedule by essentially following four basic steps:
1) Games in Own Division
A total of 6 games (one home and one away) will be played against 3 teams in the AFC North.
2) Games in Another Division Within Own Conference (Rotation)
A total of 4 games (two home and two away) will be played against 4 teams within the AFC, but against teams in a division other than the AFC North. In 2012 that division was the AFC West. In 2013 it will be the AFC East.
3) Games in Standing Match-ups Within Conference
A total of 2 games (one home and one away) will be played against 2 teams in the AFC, but outside of their division. Since the Ravens will play the AFC East next season, they will then play the division winners in the AFC South and the AFC West.
4) Games in Another Division Outside Own Conference
A total of 4 games (two home and two away) will be played against 4 teams in a division outside their own conference. In 2012 that division was the NFC East. In 2013 it will be the NFC North. In this rotation teams alternate home and away. For example in 2009 the Ravens played the Packers and the Vikings on the road while hosting the Bears and the Lions. In 2013 they will do just the opposite.
So, add it up and the 2013 schedule of opponents will shake out as follows:
HOME: Bengals, Browns, Steelers, Patriots, Jets, Texans, Packers, Vikings
AWAY: Bengals, Browns, Steelers, Bills, Dolphins, Broncos, Bears, Lions