Somewhere, Pete Rozelle and all the folks who wanted parity in the NFL are smiling.
This is the Year of Parity. Without question. That's one reason the Ravens, despite struggling at times, remain in first at 5-2 during their bye week. The parity is especially apparent in the AFC where only three teams had a winning record heading into Sunday's games.
That's been a big boost for the Ravens.
It's way, despite the team's problems with defense and in road games, they're winning. The Ravens are getting a tremendous season from rookie kicker Justin Tucker -- take away all those long field goals and see what would happen -- and some big help from Jacoby Jones.
But the league is very balanced this year, especially in the AFC, and that's what the NFL wants. The NFL is the only league that has been able to create some sort of parity on a regular basis. Much of it is because of the way they do the schedule. They make teams that do well play tough schedules the following year while those who don't fare as well get an easier slate.
It's kind of mathematical and very simple in concept -- yet it works like a charm all the time.
That's why the games on the bye week don't really hurt the Ravens at all. The worst case scenario would have Pittsburgh beating Robert Griffin III and the Redskins. That would pull the Steelers back to one game behind the Ravens. The two teams still haven't met yet although that's coming shortly.
But if the Steelers lose, the Ravens will have a two-game lead over them and the Bengals, despite all of their problems.
That's how NFL parity works. Everyone has a chance. It also will make for a very interesting final two months.