Why Ravens are drafting after Steelers

February, 6, 2014
2/06/14
11:35
AM ET
The Baltimore Ravens finished third in the AFC North this season, one spot behind the Pittsburgh Steelers.

So, why are the Steelers drafting ahead of the Ravens? I continue to receive this question from readers, so I decided to explain it once again. There are different tiebreakers for determining a team's standing in the division and the draft.

The Ravens and Steelers both finished 8-8 last season, the first time since 1999 that neither team had a winning record. The Steelers officially finished second in the AFC North (and get the second-place schedule in the 2014 season) because their record in the division (4-2) was better than the Ravens' mark (3-3).

The draft, however, breaks ties according to strength of schedule because it must separate teams leaguewide, not just in a division or conference. The Ravens had a much tougher strength of schedule (opponents had a .484 winning percentage) than the Steelers (.469). When a team has the same record against a weaker schedule, it's considered the worse team. This is why the Steelers have the No. 15 overall pick.

The Ravens and Cowboys have the same strength of schedule, and the only way to break that tie is by a coin flip that will occur later this month. This determines whether the Ravens are selecting No. 16 or No. 17.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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