Schedule Skin

April 13, 2007 |

Happy Friday the 13th to all.  Be sure to avoid ladders, black cats, etc….

I love the release of NFL schedules in mid-April.  The most entertaining part about the release is that everybody looks at it once and immediately determines their favorite team’s record, before the draft, minicamps and training camps take place.

So in that spirit, here is my completely worthless attempt at analyzing the Ravens’ 2007 season.

It appears, on April 13, that the schedule offers the opportunity to get off to a decent start.  And that’s imperative, because from November 5 on, things look much tougher.  The bye comes in Week 8 (Oct. 28) and our purple birds will need to rest in order to deal with the brutal last 9 games.  For the Ravens to contend, they must hit the bye week no worse than 4-3, preferably 5-2.

Those first seven games: @ Cincy, Jets, Cards, @ Cleveland, @ SF, Rams, @ Buffalo.  All three home games are must wins, and even at this early stage, they appear winnable.  So stealing two roadies is the key.  Our April roster makes me think we are better than every one of those teams.  The opener is the toughest of the bunch.  Win that one and the Ravens could get off to a sizzling start. 

The next nine, post-bye: @ Pitt., Cincy, Cleve., @ SD, NE, Indy, @ Miami, @ Sea., Pitt.

Look again at that middle portion.  @ SD, NE, Indy.  This is the most critical path on the entire schedule.  Go 0-3 here, it’s goodbye playoffs.  But the fact that the Pats and Colts are in M&T gives me some cautious hope.  Maybe AD or Peyton are out for the year by then.  That’s the point here: none of us have any idea what the rosters will look like by December, and it’s an exercise in hyperbole only.  But it’s still fun, right?

Such sez: 11-5.  Sweeps of Pittsburgh and Cleveland, split with the Bengals makes them 5-1 in divisional play.  Road losses to Cincy, Buffalo, SD and Seattle.  Home loss to the Irsays again, but an inspiring Monday Night home win over the Patriots.  7-1 at home, 4-4 on the road.

I think the schedule is pretty fair to Baltimore.  The three west coast trips are spread apart sufficiently enough that jet lag and time differences should be minimized.  There are no three game road trips.  And best of all, there’s no Thursday night NFL Network appearance this year.  Those games need to be eliminated, but that’s another story for another blog.

11-5.  When does my application for playoff tickets arrive?

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Willis McGahee will wear number 23.  Thought you’d like to know.

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Let’s take 3 out of 4 this weekend, Birds.  Last night’s win was important; 4-6 seems like a better place than 3-7.

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I’ll be on-air tomorrow afternoon following Loyola lax.  Turn on, tune in and get involved.  Heavy NFL Draft discussion, O’s, etc. 

As always, you can e-mail me anytime at mark@wnst.net.

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