At that moment, I thought it would be a HUGE victory for them to return to the AFC Championship Game the next season.
Looking at their schedule they will face a difficult set of opponents that includes matchups against all AFC No. 1 seeds, their strong division rivals and the NFC East.
This is 95% due to the way that the NFL schedule works and in part because they won the AFC North. It’s not some NFL conspiracy!
Here’s how the NFL scheduling works:
Each NFL season has 16 games for each of its 32 teams that are divided into the AFC and NFC each with 4 divisions: North, South, East, West.
Every year you play each team in your division twice (both home and away), that’s 6 games. For the Ravens that’s the Steelers, Bengals, and Browns.
Every year you play each team from another division within your conference once, that’s 4 games. For the Ravens that’s the AFC. It rotates through each division so you’ll play them every 4 years. If you played them at home this year you will then play them at their place in 4 years.
Every year you play each team from another division in the other conference once, that’s 4 games. For the Ravens that’s the NFC. It rotates through each division so you’ll play them every 4 years. If you played them at home this year you will then play them at their place in 4 years.
It’s a simple rotation.
That’s how 14 of your 16 games are decided each year. So for those 14 games each year, you can predict who they will play and where they will play the next year and the next year etc.
With your remaining 2 games, you will play two teams from within your conference (that are in divisions you are not already playing this year) and you will play the teams that finished with the same rank (within their own division) that you finished with (within your own division) last year.
The Ravens won their division, the AFC North, last year and that’s why they will play the Patriots and the Texans in their two “extra” games this year. Those are the two teams who won their divisions last year (that are not in divisions they are already playing this year).
The only items that the NFL really keep as discretionary are the Bye week (your week off), what week of the schedule you play each opponent (Week 1 or Week 2 etc), and who gets the Prime Time games such as Monday Night Football.
All of this means that this coming season the Ravens will be playing AFC West, the NFC East, and their own division the AFC North (in addition to the Patriots & Texans). So that means the Ravens play NY Giants, Patriots, P.Manning’s Broncos, Eagles, RG3 Redskins, Cowboys, Steelers 2 times, HOU, SD, & OAK.
Interesting side note: this year the NFL made a change regarding Thursday games. This year all 32 teams will get a Thursday night game. Honestly, I wish they would get rid of Thursday night games. Also, they decided that if you play away on Thursday night you must have a home game the weekend before. Additionally, they decided that there would be no more cross country trips for teams playing away on a Thursday night.
The other change that they made was giving up on preventing division opponents from having to play each other any closer than two weeks apart. It was the only way that they could keep the current system and the changes they were making.
As a result, the NFL’s most explosive rivalry between the Ravens and the Steelers will happen on November 18th and then again on December 2nd. http://bit.ly/HRoXa4
Before you start thinking that the result is that the Ravens schedule isn’t really that tough. Consider this list based on each NFL team’s scheduled opponents Win Loss record.
Top 5 teams with the toughest schedule: – Nik Bonaddio and Keith Goldner
1. Denver Broncos
2. Baltimore Ravens
3. NY Giants
4. Houston Texans
5. Dallas Cowboys
Well, the city of Baltimore is no stranger to work. It’s time for the Ravens to get to work!