The Ravens have plenty of work to do if they want to get back to the playoffs -- but their schedule might work to their advantage.
The Ravens face the fifth-easiest schedule this coming season based on the 2013 winning percentage of their 2014 opponents, according to ESPN.com. According to the ESPN data, the Ravens' 2014 opponents had a winning percentage of .461 this past year; only Jacksonville (.453), Houston (.441), Tennessee (.438) and Indianapolis (.430) have an easier road.
In addition to the facing their AFC North rivals twice each, the Ravens will play Jacksonville, Tennessee, Atlanta, Carolina and San Diego at home, and will play at Houston, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Tampa Bay and Miami.
No doubt John Harbaugh wants to hear nothing about an easy schedule and will point to trips to Indianapolis and New Orleans and non-divisional games against four playoff teams. The Ravens play five games against teams that finished 4-12 or worse (Cleveland twice, Houston, Atlanta, Tampa Bay), but the Texans and Falcons were riddled by key injuries and could bounce back quickly.
Oakland (.578) faces the toughest schedule next season according to the ESPN data, followed by Denver (.570) and St. Louis (.564).
Incidentally, using the same formula, the Ravens faced the fifth-toughest schedule this past season. And the three teams that faced the easiest schedules -- Denver, San Diego and Indianapolis -- all made the playoffs.