Last night, the NFL continued its relatively new tradition of unveiling what order teams would play each other. It was just a thrill ride of an evening highlighted by the announcement of a Cleveland Browns/Buffalo Bills national television game and Rex Ryan bashing the Orioles for no particular reason. Fresh off the non-stop excitement that is NFL Schedule night, I am seeing the Ravens’ schedule through purple glasses!
Given last year’s scheduling disaster, I am pretty excited for what the Ravens have ahead of them. First, let’s look at the Thursday night games. With the expanded NFL Network schedule, everyone has to play a Thursday night game. The Ravens have two, but that is not all bad. Thursday Night Football is particularly hard on the road team as they have to travel and get ready for a game. The Ravens away game is the first game of the season meaning there is no Sunday game before it. This means that the Ravens will be fresh off the offseason and then have a week and a half to prepare for the Super Bowl unveiling against the Cleveland Browns. In addition, I think the Thursday Night Football game against the Steelers on Thanksgiving will be outstanding and well worth the short week.
The second part of last year’s schedule was the 19 day stretch from Pittsburgh to San Diego to Baltimore, two of those games against the Steelers. The travel on this year’s schedule seems very reasonable. It helps that we are only playing one team from the western divisions. The Ravens certainly had a tough schedule because that is what happens when you finish first in your division. They just don’t have some of the challenges that they had last year, which will bode well for this season.