This past Thursday night the 2016 NFL schedule was released. The Ravens will be coming off of a 5-11 campaign and will look to rebound from their worst season since 2007 and the first losing season in the John Harbaugh era. Pictured below is the Ravens schedule for the upcoming 2016 season:
Here is what I love and hate about the 2016 schedule:
Love: Much easier road schedule
It goes without saying that the Ravens road schedule last season was brutal. Last year the AFC North played both western divisions in the AFC and NFC, respectively. That left the Ravens with playing four of their first seven games of 2015 out west. They even stayed in California in between their week one game in Denver and their week two game in Oakland. They came back to Baltimore in between their week six game in Santa Clara and their week seven game in Arizona. In no way am I using this as an excuse for the Ravens going 0-4 in their games played out west, but the first half of last season was extremely difficult for the Ravens because of how much time they were spending out west.
This season, the farthest the Ravens will have to travel is down to Arlington for their week 11 matchup against the Cowboys. Other than that, the Ravens will not have to travel outside of the eastern time zone. This also means that fans looking to make trips to these games will not have to travel far, making things easier for both the Ravens and their road-warrior fans.
Hate: No home Monday Night Football game…AGAIN
I do not know whether or not the ESPN crew has a bone to pick with Baltimore, or if this is just a coincidence, but the last time the Ravens hosted a Monday Night Football game was week one in 2012. This season in week 14 the Ravens will travel to New England to take on the Patriots on Monday Night. Out of their last 11 appearances on MNF, the Ravens have been the away team 10 times.
In 2014 John Harbaugh made a comment about the lack of home Monday Night games for Baltimore, but the NFL decided not to give the Ravens something they have had only once since 2008.
Love: Back-to-Back games at MetLife Stadium
This season the AFC North is slated to play both the AFC and NFC East divisions. We knew before the schedule release that the Ravens would be playing both the Jets and the Giants on the road, but we did not know that those games would be occurring in back-t0-back weeks.
In week six, the Ravens will play the Giants at MetLife Stadium, and the next week the Ravens will play the Jets in the same venue. I do not know if any other NFL team has traveled to New York to play the Jets and the Giants in back-to-back weeks, but this is an extremely rare occurrence and the Ravens have to be loving the fact that they will not be leaving the Atlantic region from weeks 4-10.
Hate: Playing in Cincinnati for week 17…AGAIN
This is a tradition that I am not a fan of. For the fifth time in six years, the Ravens will end the regular season in Cincinnati against the Bengals. The fact that the Ravens play on Christmas in Pittsburgh the week before this game makes it even more of an annoyance.
If the NFL wants to make the Ravens vs. Bengals week 17 game a tradition, why not swap the home team every other year? The Ravens hosted the Bengals in week 17 back in 2010, but how is constantly making the Bengals the home team fair? The Ravens do have the week one opener at home, but started off and ended on the road last season.
Please NFL, change it up next year.
Love: Perfectly balanced
Looking at the Ravens home and away opponents, if we tally up the wins and losses of each team they play at home and on the road, both come out with a 62-66 record overall. Also, three out of the eight teams that the Ravens will be facing both at home and on the road made the postseason – Bengals, Steelers, and Redskins for the home opponents, and the Bengals, Steelers and Patriots for the away opponents.
I know the teams will all be different next year and last year’s records mean nothing, but the schedule as a whole appears to be balanced.
Hate: Brutal final four games
The post-bye week schedule looks a lot more challenging than the pre-bye matchups, but those final four games on the Ravens schedule will be a big undertaking. Three out of those four games are on the road against teams that made the postseason last year. I hope the Ravens are in a good position after week 13, because their toughest challenges are going to come late in the season.
Indifferent: Ravens and Steelers on Christmas Day
Christmas occurs on a Sunday this year, so I guess that means we have to have some football, right? With Christmas being on a Sunday, 12 games will be played on Saturday – Christmas Eve, and two games will be played on Sunday. One of those games will be the Ravens and Steelers at 4:30 pm.
I do not know how I feel about this one. Yes, I am always down to watch the Ravens no matter what day it is. I am also fired up to watch the Ravens with my family and friends, regardless if they are football fans or not. On the other hand, am I going to be able to concentrate on the game with all of the distractions around? Am I going to want said family and friends (who love dearly) nagging me and asking me questions about the Ravens while the game is going on?
There is also the possibility that I could be watching the game with Steelers fans, which is a whole other issue that I do not want to get into.
I do not know what my Christmas plans are yet. But, it is surely going to be an interesting day to say the least. One thing is for sure, I will either be ready to gobble up the rest of the roast beast, or yell “Bah Humbug!” at the top of my lungs by the time this game is over.
What are your thoughts on the Ravens schedule? Be sure to leave a comment with your thoughts.