Weird schedule quirk gives Ravens prime chance to nab No. 1 seed

The Ravens finally got lucky here!
AFC Championship - Kansas City Chiefs v Baltimore Ravens
AFC Championship - Kansas City Chiefs v Baltimore Ravens / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

The Baltimore Ravens' schedule looks as unforgiving and fearsome as any in the league, as they have to play 10 games against teams who made the postseason last year. Only the Browns have a more difficult strength of schedule, as the Ravens play just five games against teams with losing records last year.

The Ravens will need to prove their mettle early on in the season, as Baltimore will open the campaign on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs. In the first five weeks, the Ravens will also need to square off against the Cowboys, Bills, and Bengals in consecutive weeks.

While Baltimore's past success may have played a part in their difficult 2024 schedule (as they will other first-place teams in the AFC), the schedule makers had mercy on them by giving them an advantage that could help them when the season starts to become a grind in December and January.

In terms of net rest differential (also known as how many more days of rest Baltimore has than their opponents), the Ravens have a whopping 16 extra days of rest than their opponents, as they play on Thursday multiple times and also have a Wednesday game on the schedule. Late, in the season, these rest days could be a real asset.

Baltimore Ravens get huge break from 2024 NFL schedule makers

Baltimore plays two Thursday night games against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1 and the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 5. Not only will the Ravens get a few extra days off after those games, but they will get more rest when they have off against the Houston Texans during their Christmas Wednesday duel.

The AFC is a murderer's row of talent, as the Chiefs, Bengals, and healthy Jets all look like teams who could fight for the AFC title. In the toughest division in football, Baltimore is well aware of the fact that one slip-up late in the season could have some dire consequences.

The Ravens' issues in the postseason may not be cured by this extra period of rest, as they have twice earned first-round byes and failed to reach the Super Bowl in both of those seasons, oftentimes after giving some of their best players a day off when Week 18 rolls around.

Where this will come in handy is seeding, as it could give the Ravens more chances at earning some home playoff games in a competitive conference.