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Fixture rankings: Crows do it tough, but Cats and Bombers all smiles

EXCLUSIVE: Week off before the 2016 finals series Simon Lethlean reveals to afl.com.au a radical new element to the 2016 Fixture

The weighting rule: the fixture explained
• Click here for the full fixture
• Top teams light up Friday nights
• AFL introduces week off before finals
• WATCH: Fixtures rated, Adelaide-GWS
• WATCH: Fixtures rated, Hawthorn-Western Bulldogs
• What each club said

ADELAIDE faces the toughest draw in 2016, based on the simple formula of tallying the number of wins its opponents next year managed in 2015.

At the other end of the scale, Geelong and Essendon hit the jackpot with seemingly easier draws.

Adelaide's 2016 opponents won 251 games combined in 2015, with Geelong and Essendon's opponents next season winning a total of 232 and 229 games respectively in 2015.

North Melbourne, Hawthorn, Richmond and West Coast all have tough draws too based on this formula, but their road to the finals is similar to Greater Western Sydney and Collingwood, who both missed finals in 2015.

Because the Crows won their first final in 2015, they jumped into the top six, meaning they were drawn to play top-six teams three times in 2016.

The Crows therefore play West Coast, Fremantle and North Melbourne twice in 2016 as well as return bouts against the reasonably performed Collingwood and Port Adelaide.

By contrast Geelong only plays one team from the top six next season – Adelaide – twice, as well as return fixtures against the Western Bulldogs, Greater Western Sydney, Essendon and the Brisbane Lions.

After finishing 15th in 2015, Essendon is the only team that does not play a top-six team from 2015 twice next season.

TEAMS COMBINED WINS IN 2015*
Adelaide
251
North Melbourne 
247
Hawthorn
246
GWS
244
Collingwood
241
Richmond 
240
West Coast
239
Brisbane Lions
238
Sydney Swans
238
Western Bulldogs
238
Fremantle  
236
Gold Coast  236
Melbourne  
236
Carlton
233
Port Adelaide
233
St Kilda      
233
Geelong    
232
Essendon  
229      

*Combined wins in 2015 of each club's 2016 opponents. 

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs