Get Smart was one of my favorites growing up. I missed it in prime time, but like many Baltimoreans, got a chance to watch the classic 60’s shows on channel 45 in reruns.
One gag that would come up frequently was the Chief and Max arguing about whether the “why”, “when”, or “how” of a crime was more important (“If we know the ‘how’, we’ll know the ‘why’ and the ‘when’…’’).
As to the Ravens schedule, we knew the “who” and the “where” the day the season ended. Yesterday’s announcements were all about when our favorite team would play their known opponents.
The only potential chance to be robbed by the schedule makers is in the order, day of the week, previous opponent schedule, or placement of the bye. The Ravens have a number of fair elements in their schedule with no glaring difficulty.
Let’s start with the positives:
- The Ravens play two Thursday games. The opener on the road creates a mini-bye to prepare for divisional rival Cleveland. Because it immediately follows a preseason game where the Ravens will rest all of their regulars, it doesn’t come with the usual disadvantages. The 2nd Thursday game comes on Thanksgiving night against the Steelers at home. Home Thursday games are a big advantage and the Steelers will have to play 2 road games in 5 days.
- With only 18 total Thursday games, the Ravens got the maximum of 2, and the placement could not have been better.
- The Ravens play just 1 team coming off a Thursday mini-bye, the Bengals at home in week 10.
- The bye is week 8. That’s a good placement and it follows a potentially physical game against the Steelers at Heinz in week 7.
- Much more importantly, the Ravens do not play a single team coming off a bye. This is something the NFL needs to fix for competitive purposes. There are 32 bye weeks in the NFL this season and 32 teams (imagine that). Each team should play exactly 1 other team coming off a bye. Too difficult to schedule? Nope. Simply creating 16 divisional bye pairings followed by a game between those teams is all that is required for an equitable distribution of such games.
- Their longest road trip is consecutive Sundays at Buffalo and Miami.
- The game at Miami comes on a short week for the Dolphins who will play on Monday night in New Orleans before they play the Ravens.
- They have only 1 road game likely (as opposed to possibly, which would be all NFL games) to be impacted by weather, their week 17 matchup against the Bengals. That’s a substantial benefit for the Ravens passing attack.
If you’re a glass-is-half-empty person and need 2 minor negatives just so you can show your face at work to start complaining:
- The Ravens will play the Bengals in the finale. It’s the 4th consecutive season they’ll finish with the Bengals. I understand why they would not want to risk a meaningless Ravens/Steelers matchup for the final weekend, but it seems to me the Ravens should end up with the Browns occasionally.
- The Ravens lone Monday night game comes week 15 at Detroit and the week before one of their most important conference games against the Patriots.
It was sad to lose the home opener to the Orioles’ schedule. Any MLB team with a football teams in close proximity needs to avoid playing a home game on the potential opening Thursday. I also think the NFL should have moved that game to Wednesday, but the resulting schedule more than makes amends on a purely competitive basis.