Not to sound grim here but the Ravens' 2015 schedule is cardboardy. Digestable, yes, but a steak that requires a dozen chews before letting it test the pipes. John Harbaugh, coordinators Marc Trestman and Dean Pees will hop into the think tank and brainstorm ways to take down FIVE teams that pulled the sled to the postseason last winter: Denver, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Arizona, and Seattle.
If that's Tier 1 difficulty, then Tier 2 consists of four teams that finished with 8-8 records or better: San Francisco, San Diego, Miami, and Kansas City. After that, stands a couple of lethal defenses that could hold down their own fort, Level 3: Cleveland (7-9) and St. Louis Rams (6-10). The Raiders and Jaguars aren't categorized as they're known as the prodigal sons of the NFL, and currently are on their walks back home.
Which teams will the Ravens breeze through? Which teams will take Joe Flacco down? Here we go, we rank the Ravens opponents, from breeze-bys to final-drives:
16 -- 11.15.15 Jaguars
Projected stat line for Flacco: 33/46, 401 yards, 3 TDs
15 -- 9.20.15 2 @Raiders
We've shut down Michael Crabtree before (hello, Super Bowl ring!) and until the game tape is released on DVD, Amari Cooper is still an unproven rookie.
13 -- 1.3.16 @Bengals
Week 16, considering we're 15-0, should be rest day for the first stringers. #PlayoffByeClinched
12 -- 9.27.15 Bengals
Cincy took two games from us in 2014. We flip the script on them in 2015.
10 -- 11.22.15 Rams
My favorite defense in the league, they have a loaded front seven. Marc Trestman will need to make brilliant play calls at M&T Bank Stadium.
9 -- 9.13.15 @Broncos
Peyton Manning is Peyton Manning. No win at Mile High comes easy. We need to pray for Elvis Dumervil's injury so that he's 100 percent for the season opener.
8 -- 12.27.15 Steelers
The Steelers will bring their "A" game to Baltimore regardless if they've a winning record or not. Week 1, Week 6, Week 15, doesn't matter. Neither team wants to lose this rivalry game.
7 -- 11.30.15 @Browns
Playing in Cleveland makes me cringe. Call me ... I'm skeptical.
6 -- 10.26.15 @Cardinals
You underestimate Arizona's defense? Let me introduce you to my friend Hannah. The Cards' stingy 11 allowed 18.7 points per game in 2014.
5 -- 11.1.15 Chargers
Phillip Rivers is surrounded by play-makers. Stevie Johnson, Melvin Gordon, Malcolm Floyd, and Keenan Allen. And Jacoby Jones.
4 -- 12.6.15 @Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill may catch his first wind with all the millions of dollars blowing in his face. $77 million. Kenny Stills and Jordan Cameron revamp this offense, along with Lamar Miller.
3 -- 12.20.15 Chiefs
Justin Houston and Tamba Hali are the 2.0 versions of Doom and Terrell Suggs. Sloppy wet day in Maryland doesn't make it easier.
2 -- 10.1.15 @Steelers
The hype is too real. Their trashcan throwing drill (backshoulder fade practice) is not.
1 -- 12.13.15 Seahawks
Defending Super Bowl runner-ups. Russell Wilson's relationship status with Ciara could be the deciding factor of this game's outcome.