Ravens Have Unique Schedule Advantage

The Baltimore Ravens will have a big rest advantage over their opponents.
Jan 28, 2024; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) passes the
Jan 28, 2024; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) passes the / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
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As with every other NFL team, the Baltimore Ravens' newly-released 2024 schedule comes with its share of pros and cons.

For the negatives, the Ravens have a brutal stretch to start the season with games against the Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys, Bufflalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals in the first five weeks. A Week 14 bye, the latest one possible, also isn't ideal.

For the positives, though, Baltimore has an advantage that no team has ever seen before. According to ESPN advanced stats whiz Brian Burke, the 2024 Ravens have the best net rest differential of any team since 2002 with an extra 16 days of rest compared to their opponents.

For those who need an explanation, rest advantage simply means the amount of time a team has had since its last game compared to an opponent's amount of time in that same scenario. For example, the Ravens play the Kansas City Chiefs to open the season on Thursday of Week 1, then play the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday of Week 2. As a result, the Ravens have an extra three days of rest over the Raiders, who play on Sunday of Week 1.

That begs the question, where are those extra days of rest coming from? Well, let's break it down.

  • +3 - vs. Las Vegas Raiders, Week 2
  • +1 - vs. Buffalo Bills, Week 4
  • -1 - at Cleveland Browns, Week 8
  • +3 - at Pittsburgh Steelers, Week 11
  • -1 - vs. Philadelphia Eagles, Week 13
  • +7 - at New York Giants, Week 15
  • +4 - vs. Cleveland Browns, Week 18

Playing three games in 11 days from Week 15 to Week 17 seems rough on paper, but thanks to the Ravens' late bye, it actually gives them a huge rest advantage late in the season.

Teams that have a large rest advantage typically outperform their expectations. For example, the 2022 Bills, who had the best net rest advanatage in the league that season at +12, had a projected win total of 11.5, but managed to win 13 games even though they had one canceled due to the Damar Hamlin injury.

Obviously, having a rest advantage doesn't guarantee success, but it does bode well for Baltimore's hopes.

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Jon Alfano