The 2009 NFL Schedule has been released finally. In most of our minds, the Ravens got a decently fair schedule to work with. It does not look like we will be playing 15 straight games to end the season, nor does it show that we will have one stretch of games where we are on the road three consecutive games.
The league has stated that we have the 28th easiest schedule in the league this year based on the 2008-2009 records of our opponents. I think this is fair enough to say considering we are playing the Lions, Browns and Bengels in a total of 5 of our games.However, I am not fooled by the so called 28th easiest schedule in the league. Take a look at some of our stretches we have.
- Week 1-3: I love the fact that we will be hosting the Chiefs at home for the opener, but do not be fooled by their record last year. This team has changed drastically over the offseason, finally getting what seems to be a quality QB in Matt Cassel. Their defense could be alot better this year with the addition of Zach Thomas and last year's beast of the draft, Glenn Doresey getting a full year under his belt. We then head off to the west coast to face the Chargers and this is going to be a challenge for us. This team is hungry and want to show the NFL that they can still hang with the best. We then head back home to face those good old Browns.
- Week 4-7: Going on our 2nd road game of the year, the Ravens will be heading up to New England to face Brady and the Pats. Now, SD will be a challenge for us in week 2, but this will be our first real test. People have said we do not beat good teams, well here is our chance to put that to rest and rough up Brady a little. Coming back home to face the Bengels will be a good rest after beating the Pats. Then heading back on the road to face our purple buddies, the Vikings. We said no one can run on us before we played the best rushing team in the league last year, the Giants. You know what happened. Lets see if we can contain the best Running Back in the league. Maybe they will let both of us wear purple. Bye week comes after week 6 and it will be very much needed for the rest of the season we have
- Week 8-10: Sure, we get Denver at home then the helpless Bengals and Browns. But, we play the 2 AFC North games on the road, the Browns game being on Monday Night Football. This is going to be a very important stretch for us to win because it will give us confidence heading into our toughest 3 game stretch. I think we should all be more excited to play at Cleveland on MNF rather then at home. It will feel so good to go into the city and win with all the fans loving life cause their team is 3-5 and coming fresh off a bye week. Again this stretch will be very important heading into the next one.
- Week 11-13: By far our toughest group of 3 games the whole season. Coming off a hopeful win on Monday Night Football at Cleveland the week before, we get to host the always lovable Indianapolis Colts in week 11. Peyton Manning seems to have us figured out, but this is a totally different team (and secondary) that he torched earlier in the season last year. We follow up a Colts win with our game of the year, Sunday Night Football at home against the dark side, the Pittsburgh Steelers. This game is going to be wild. We do not get to face our most hated rival until 3 months into the season and it will be a all out war. Both teams should be in position to win the division in the few weeks that follow, but we will be foaming at the mouth to finally get another shot at them. New season, nothing from last year matters anymore. Last game of this stretch will be in the historic Lambeau Field on MNF. This is going to be a fun game to watch, because everyone loves watching games in the NFL's current most historic stadium. Aaron Rodgers and that very young Packer team is going to have a lot on their plates, especially after we just beat the Colts and Steelers. Getting at least 2 of 3 in this stretch is very important, with the Steeler game as a must. Our final four games should be a little bit of a breather, but no excuse to get lazy.
Week 14-17: Heading into the end of the season, we sort of get a break. After our tough 3 game stretch from week 11-13, we get to host the most dangerous team in the NFL last year, the Detroit Lions. I do not even know what to expect in this game. They might get negative points on us. Following this, we take on another NFC North foe, the Chicutler Bears. Really happy we got this game at this time so IF the Bears are in contention towards the end, then we can shut down Cutler and make him cry again. The 2nd to last game of the season comes in Pittsburgh and we will be heading back to Hienz Field for the first time since the AFC Championship game. Most likely, this game will have playoff implications and be a big time win for both teams to get. I think the AFC North champion is decided in this game. Last game of the year, Oakland. Heading back over to the Black Hole. Will Joe line up at WR again? Or will Steve Hauschka be making tackles playing outside line backer.
The schedule says that we are playing teams that did not fair well last year, but I do not buy into it too much. There are some solid teams throughout this schedule, but our team is going to be solid as well. There should be no excuse why we cannot win the division this year. Everyone has a full 18 games under their belts now and should mesh together even better. Lets go!