2020 NFL schedule: Ravens get huge travel-related advantage, Seahawks will fly the most miles – CBS Sports


The travel industry has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, but the Seattle Seahawks might be able to single-handedly revive it later this year and that’s because they’re going to be racking up a lot of flight miles during the 2020 NFL season. 

The Seahawks will be traveling a total of 28,982 miles in 2020, which is more than all four teams in the AFC North will travel combined (27,878) this season. The Seahawks will also be traveling 6,000 miles more than anyone else this year. The team that will be traveling the second-most miles is the Chargers, who will be racking up 22,228 in frequent-flier miles. The Seahawks will also have more than four times the travel miles of the Ravens, who have the NFL’s lowest travel number this year at 6,420. 

The Ravens are traveling the fewest miles of any team since 2016, when the Steelers traveled just 5,138 miles. The 2016 Steelers rode their travel advantage all the way to the AFC title game, which is the farthest they’ve advanced in any season since 2010. 

The team that travels the fewest miles has averaged 9.8 wins per season over the past six years, which is how long we’ve been tallying travel miles. On the other hand, the team that travels the most miles has averaged just 4.8 wins per season over the past six years. Also, the team that travels the most miles hasn’t made the playoffs a single time over that span, which isn’t great news for the Seahawks. 

Speaking of the Seahawks, someone in the NFL scheduling department must have a bone to pick with them, because a big reason Seattle will be traveling more than any other team is because they weren’t given the one traveling advantage that was given to EVERY other team in the NFC West: Back-to-back road games on the east coast. The 49ers, Cardinals and Rams all saw their travel cut down considerably thanks to a friendly schedule that will allow them to turn two road trips into one. The Rams get road games against the Eagles and Bills in back-to-back weeks, and since they’ll likely be staying out east, that will cut down on their travel. The 49ers (at Giants, at Jets) and Cardinals (at Panthers, at Jets) also have back-to-back road games in the eastern time zone. 

Although the Seahawks have to play four games out east (Philadelphia, Washington, Miami, Buffalo), the NFL didn’t schedule any of those games in back-to-back weeks. If the Seahawks need anything else to complain about, they’ll also be taking longest single-week road trip in the NFL this year. Their Week 4 game at Miami will cover 5,448 miles round trip, which is almost more miles than the Ravens will travel for the entire season (6,240). 

The Seahawks are one of just three teams that will have to travel more than 5,000 miles roundtrip for a game this year (The 49ers do it twice — at Jets and at Patriots — while the Patriots do it once with a game against the Chargers). The 49ers would have had to do it three times because they play in New York twice in 2020 (versus the Giants and Jets), but the NFL scheduled those games in back-to-back weeks so that San Francisco only had to make one trip. The Patriots also caught a break for their Week 13 game against the Chargers, because they’ll be playing in L.A. again against the Rams in Week 14, which means they only have to take one road trip for two games. 

Although western division teams almost always rank at the top of the travel miles list, the AFC East teams will be doing some serious traveling this year as the Dolphins, Bills and Patriots all ranked in the top-10 for most travel miles. 

Now, if you’re wondering whether or not flying a bunch of miles can actually impact the way a team plays, the answer to that question seems to be maybe, but only if the team is going on an extremely long road trip. 

Although flying seems pretty simple these days, flights of over 2,000 miles still seem to have a negative effect on road teams. In the 15-season period from 1997-2011, teams that traveled 2,000 miles or more for a road trip had a winning percentage of just .398, according to Grantland.com. On the other hand, teams that traveled 1,000 miles or less for a road game had a winning percentage 32 points higher at .430.

Between 2014 and 2018, road teams traveling under 2,000 miles had an overall winning percentage of .427 (486-652-4) while teams that got stuck on a one-way flight of 2,000 miles or more for a road game had a lower winning percentage of .415 (51-72). (London games don’t count in this total since both teams in London had to travel over 2,000 miles and therefore were basically on equal footing). 

The good news for the Seahawks is that they might actually be the one team that doesn’t have any problems with taking a long road trip. In 2019, the Seahawks had five games where they took a one-way flight of 2,000 or more miles and they went 5-0 in those games. The rest of the NFL combined to go 15-10 under those circumstances. 

With that in mind, here’s a look at each team’s travel miles for the upcoming season along with how many games they’ll play where they have to travel 2,000 or more miles. 

2020 NFL Travel Miles

(Road games where team travels more than 2,000 miles in parentheses)

1. Seahawks: 28,982 (5)
2. Chargers: 22,228 (3)
3. Rams: 22,004 (4) 
4. Dolphins: 21,183 (3)
5. Raiders: 20,967 (1)
6. 49ers: 20,368 (2)
7. Bills: 20,066 (2) 
8. Cardinals: 19,456 (2)
9. Cowboys: 19,286 
10. Patriots: 19,266 (2)
11. Broncos: 18,148
12. Jets: 17,246 (2)
13. Giants: 15,928 (2)
14. Chiefs: 15,782
15. Buccaneers: 15,766 (1)
16. Jaguars: 15,234 (1)
17. Eagles: 14,890 (2)
18. Texans: 14,514
19. Saints: 13,954
20. Redskins: 13,650
21. Vikings: 12,836
22. Panthers: 12,648
23. Packers: 12,316
24. Falcons: 12,214
25. Lions: 10,166
26. Bears: 9,928
27. Titans: 8,994
28. Colts: 8,772
29. Bengals: 7,516
30. Browns: 7,342
31. Steelers: 6,600
32. Ravens: 6,420

Note: There are multiple teams this year that are expected to combine two road trips into one, and that’s been taken into account. For instance, the Patriots will be staying out in Los Angeles in December when they play consecutive games against the Chargers and Rams. There are seven other teams that will likely see their travel miles cut due to two consecutive games being played on the same coast. Here’s a list of those teams: Chargers (at Bucs, at Saints), Raiders (at Falcons, at Jets), Jets (at Seahawks, at Rams), Dolphins (at 49ers, at Broncos), Patriots (at Rams, at Chargers), Rams (at Eagles, at Bills), 49ers (at Giants, at Jets), Cardinals (at Panthers, at Jets). 

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