AFC North schedule analysis: Bengals have edge

When the 2009 schedules were released, the AFC North caught a break by matching up against the weak AFC West and mediocre NFC North. In fact, the Steelers' schedule was rated the 4th easiest in the NFL, the Ravens' schedule was 5th easiest, and the Bengals' was 11th (mainly because they had to play the Ravens and Steelers twice each). These ratings were based on opponents' 2008 winning percentages.

At nearly the midpoint of the 2009 season, things are not looking so easy, due to the improvement of teams such as the Vikings, PackersBroncos, and the Bengals themselves. Let's take a look at how the schedules are rated now, based on 2009 opponent winning percentage (opp pct), and more important, which AFC North team has the most favorable schedule remaining.

RAVENS Week Opponent Opp Pct Score Result
1 vs Chiefs 0.143 38-24 W
2 at Chargers 0.571 31-26 W
3 vs Browns 0.125 34-3 W
4 at Patriots 0.714 21-27 L
5 vs Bengals 0.714 14-17 L
6 at Vikings 0.875 31-33 L
8 vs Broncos 0.857 30-7 W
9 at Bengals 0.714 - -
10 at Browns 0.125 - -
11 vs Colts 1.000 - -
12 vs Steelers 0.714 - -
13 at Packers 0.571 - -
14 vs Lions 0.143 - -
15 vs Bears 0.571 - -
16 at Steelers 0.714 - -
17 at Raiders 0.250 - -
Overall 0.550
To date 0.571
Remaining 0.534

The Ravens' schedule has become much more difficult at 0.550. In addition to the aforementioned teams, the Ravens must play the undefeated Colts and have already lost to the Patriots. Having completed the brutal (0.571) portion of their schedule, the Ravens now face the merely difficult (0.534) portion, which includes the Colts, the Bengals, two games against the Steelers, and a road game against the 4-3 Packers. So far, the Ravens are 2-3 against tough opponents; if they continue at the same pace, they could finish 10-6.

STEELERS Week Opponent Opp Pct Score Result
1 vs Titans 0.143 13-10 W
2 at Bears 0.571 14-17 L
3 at Bengals 0.714 20-23 L
4 vs Chargers 0.571 38-28 W
5 at Lions 0.143 28-20 W
6 vs Browns 0.125 27-14 W
7 vs Vikings 0.875 27-17 W
9 at Broncos 0.857 - -
10 vs Bengals 0.714 - -
11 at Chiefs 0.143 - -
12 at Ravens 0.571 - -
13 vs Raiders 0.250 - -
14 at Browns 0.125 - -
15 vs Packers 0.571 - -
16 vs Ravens 0.571 - -
17 at Dolphins 0.429 - -
Overall 0.461
To date 0.449
Remaining 0.470

The Steelers' opponents had a 0.434 winning percentage in 2008, but so far in 2009, they have a 0.461 percentage. Despite having 12 opponents in common with the Ravens, the Steelers' schedule is softened by the collapse of the Titans and, to a lesser extent, the Dolphins. So far this season, the Steelers are 3-0 against lousy teams and 2-2 against teams with a winning record, both losses coming on the road. If the Steelers maintain this pattern, they will finish 12-4 or 11-5.

BENGALS Week Opponent Opp Pct Score Result
1 vs Broncos 0.857 7-12 L
2 at Packers 0.571 31-24 W
3 vs Steelers 0.714 23-20 W
4 at Browns 0.125 23-20 W
5 at Ravens 0.571 17-14 W
6 vs Texans 0.625 17-28 L
7 vs Bears 0.571 45-10 W
9 vs Ravens 0.571 - -
10 at Steelers 0.714 - -
11 at Raiders 0.250 - -
12 vs Browns 0.125 - -
13 vs Lions 0.143 - -
14 at Vikings 0.875 - -
15 at Chargers 0.571 - -
16 vs Chiefs 0.143 - -
17 at Jets 0.500 - -
Overall 0.495
To date 0.576
Remaining 0.432


The Bengals schedule, originally rated the toughest of the three, now appears easier than the Ravens' schedule at 0.495. At 0.576, the Bengals have faced a crushing schedule to date, with six of seven games against opponents with winning records. Impressively, the Bengals have compiled a 4-2 record in those six games. Their schedule gets considerably easier at 0.432, with only four opponents having winning records, although three of those games are on the road. Even so, if the Bengals continue at this pace, they could easily finish at 12-4.


Steelers Ravens Bengals
Original Rating 0.434 0.438 0.465
Current Rating 0.461 0.550 0.495
Games To Date 0.449 0.571 0.576
Games Remaining 0.470 0.534 0.432


As this summary chart shows, all three teams face considerably more difficult schedules than originally thought, but the Ravens clearly have the most difficult schedule overall and the most difficult remaining schedule. The Steelers still have a relatively easy schedule, but the Bengals have the advantage of being 5-2 with the easiest remaining schedule.


P.S. Yes, I'm a Steelers fan visiting your site. I'm not saying which team is better or even which will win the division. I am just presenting data and saying what will happen if the teams continue at their current pace. Based on the above analysis, I wish the Ravens good luck Sunday against the Bengals.

The opinions posted here are those of the administrator of this blog and his loyal readers. They are in no way official comments from the team, and should not be misconstued as such, even though he thinks he could do just as well or even a better job!

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Baltimore Beat Down

You must be a member of Baltimore Beat Down to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Baltimore Beat Down. You should read them.

Join Baltimore Beat Down

You must be a member of Baltimore Beat Down to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Baltimore Beat Down. You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.