This season, the AFC North is pitted against the NFC North and the AFC West. That makes for some interesting matchups. In looking at the schedule, however, I noticed a pattern. The NFL has granted a tremendous gift to the Pittsburgh Steelers at the expense of the Baltimore Ravens.
In scheduling eight games against the four teams expected to challenge for the division crowns in the AFC West (San Diego, Denver) and the NFC North (Minnesota, Green Bay), the NFL used the same formula.
The Ravens play first and are followed by the Steelers either 1 or 2 weeks later.
- San Diego Chargers. Week 2 vs. Baltimore. Week 4 at Pittsburgh. Baltimore beat San Diego 31-26. The Steelers beat the Chargers 38-28 and led 28-0 early in the second half.
The rest of the slate is as follows:
- Minnesota Vikings. Week 6 vs. Baltimore. The Vikings won when Raven kicker Steven Hauschka missed a last second field goal. Week 7 – the Vikings travel to Pittsburgh where Dick LeBeau and Mike Tomlin have been pouring over fresh game tapes provided by this weeks contest with Baltimore. A Super Bowl victory is the gift that keeps on giving!!
- Denver Broncos. Week 8 at Baltimore Ravens. Week 9 vs. Pittsburgh in Denver.
- Green Bay Packers. Week 13 vs. Baltimore Ravens at Lambeau Field. Week 15 at the Steelers.
Kudos to the Bengals for “running the table” the first time by beating the Steelers in Week 3 and the Ravens in Week 5. They’ll get to try it all over again in Week 9 (Baltimore) and Week 10 (Pittsburgh).
Note: By the way, a similar thing is happening with the Giants and Eagles. Of course, the Eagles loss didn’t provide a viable blueprint for the G-men in New Orleans.