Repeat after me…”The Ravens are entirely responsible for which teams they play.”
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 a single Thursday game, and it’s at home. There are 18 total Thursday games, 15 of which are up for grabs (excludes Thanksgiving presents to Dallas and Detroit plus the opener for the Giants). Playing 1 at home is a big advantage and it comes the week before a trip to Kansas City.
· The week 6 game against Dallas is the only game the Ravens play against a team coming off a bye. Since there are 32 opposing bye weeks to be distributed among 32 teams, that’s fair. I did not check to see which teams get hosed with multiple off-the-bye opponents this season, but don’t believe the NFL’s line of crap that scheduling fair byes is a nightmare. It doesn’t require an expert in set theory to see that divisional bye pairings followed by a game between those teams is all that is required for an equitable distribution of such games.
· They have no “road trip” worse than consecutive Sundays.
· They play just 1 Monday night game (week 1, vs. Cincinnati). Given there are 36 total Monday night team games, they got off light on these schedule busters. For the second straight year, most of their prime time games are innocuous Sunday night affairs.
· The have a mid-season bye (week prior to their second matchup with the Browns. Only 12 teams have their week off later.
· Their worst “road trip of the year is consecutive games at Pittsburgh, then at San Diego prior to the week 13 showdown versus the Steelers in Baltimore. While it’s not great to be playing 2 games in 3 weeks versus the Steelers sandwiching a trip to San Diego, the Steelers play on Monday night versus the Chiefs prior to the week 11 game.
This should be an excellent year for home weather with no late season night games. It is possible of course, that one of the December games could be moved to prime time.
If you are looking for a negative, it would be the fact that the Ravens play a quality opponent in week 17. It’s interesting to me that they play Cincinnati for the 3rd consecutive season in the regular-season finale. 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.