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Strength of schedule

Ravens face tough early-season slate

That’s a tough initial schedule that the league has given to Baltimore. If you’re hoping for players who will come out of the gates hot, I would shy away from the Ravens.

Ravens open at KC, of course. Then they’ll host Las Vegas; nothing too notable there. But their next three are at Dallas, vs. Buffalo and at Cincinnati. That’s a difficult run to open the season.

Per last year’s numbers, Baltimore’s first five opponents combined to go 51-34; that’s the 2nd-best mark among schedules in the first five weeks. And the Ravens are the only team that opens against five teams that allowed an combined average of under 20 points per game last year.

The Jaguars are the only team who open with five opponents with a better combined win-loss record, but without the low-scoring defense component. The other two notably difficult schedules (through five games) belong to Dallas and Atlanta. (The Cowboys and Falcons, like the Ravens, rank in the bottom 5 whether using points or wins/losses.)

By wins and losses, the 49ers, Bengals and Bears project to play the easiest schedules through five games. Five other teams, however, open against defenses that tended to allow more points (with Tampa Bay No. 1 in this regard).

In the chart below, you’re looking at the composite numbers for the first five opponents for each team. This is Weeks 1-5 for most teams, but Weeks 1-6 for teams that have a bye in those first five weeks. I’ve got them ranked by win-loss percentage. The final column shows where the team ranks (1 thru 32) in points allowed using last year’s numbers (1 = easiest, 32 = hard).

For teams with top-5 schedules using points, I put them in bold. For teams with bottom-5 schedules in points, I tagged them with black dots.

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE (G 1-5)
TeamWLPctPtsRk
San Francisco3253.37622.87
Cincinnati3451.40022.013
Chicago3748.43522.96
NY Jets3748.43521.222
Carolina3847.44721.224
Cleveland3946.45923.42
Washington3946.45922.78
LA Chargers3946.45921.520
Miami3946.45921.421
Las Vegas3946.45921.223
Seattle4144.48223.23
Pittsburgh4144.48221.715
Tampa Bay4243.49425.01
Green Bay4342.50623.24
NY Giants4342.50623.05
Tennessee4342.50622.211
Houston4342.50621.616
New Orleans4342.50621.519
Denver4342.50621.025
• Kansas City4342.50619.931
Detroit4441.51822.310
LA Rams4441.51822.112
Minnesota4441.51820.727
Indianapolis4540.52920.926
• Philadelphia4540.52920.428
Buffalo4738.55321.814
New England4837.56521.518
Arizona4936.57622.69
• Dallas4936.57620.029
• Atlanta5035.58820.030
• Baltimore5134.60019.832
Jacksonville5233.61221.617

—Ian Allan

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