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Mark Zinno: Grading The Ravens Schedule - The Right Way

The NFL released it's schedule last week and it a significant emotional event for a lot of fans. People get too wrapped up in the wrong things when they look at their favorite team's schedule. Here is the way to gauge how tough the schedule of your favorite team is - and this is in order of importance.

(Photo by Ryan S. Burkett / RSB Photography)

1) Where are your divisional opponents on the schedule? This is the most important thing. Win your division and you go to the playoffs. Win 5 of your divisional games and you are half way to a playoff berth and a division title.

2) How many back-to-back road games do they have?? Teams lose the back end of back-to-back road games over 50% of the time. Do they have and 3 game road trips? It's rare but it happens.

3) Travel? West coast games? It is hard on teams to have to go cross-country. Harder on west coast teams coming east, but it still is a grind to go cross-country and come back and play the next week.

4) Short weeks? Monday night games are great, but coaches hate it. They hate Thursday night games even more. If you get lucky, you have the benefit of being home on a short week.

5) Bad weather games on the road. Going into Buffalo in December sucks. They love it up there, but it sucks and it can be a disadvantage, despite some cold-weather teams are usually perennially poor.

6) Quality of QBs on your schedule. Having to play guys like Manning, Brady, Breed and Rodgers could amount to a lot of losses on your schedule. You'd much rather play names like Sanchez, Gabbert, and whoever is under center in Arizona!

If you stick to these guidelines, you will see that the Ravens have a wonderfully favorable schedule, despite being defending Super Bowl champs!

Follow me on Twitter @MarkZinno

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