In what is one of the most anticipated moments of the offseason, the NFL finally released the regular season schedules for all 32 teams yesterday. For the Ravens, there’s no shortage of interesting matchups and storylines at play as the team looks to defend their status as the AFC North champions, or “Kings of the North”.
The landscape of the NFL will evidently change after the upcoming draft, for some teams even significantly. Come September, the Ravens and each of their opponents will certainly have tweaked their current rosters.
However, taking in all the information we know currently, let’s get to the predicting.
Week 1: vs. Miami Dolphins, September 8, 1:00 PM (Away)
Baltimore opens their season on the road in Miami. The Dolphins, who finished 7-9 last season, are entering the season with a new head coach (Brian Flores) and starting quarterback (Ryan Fitzpatrick). Baltimore’s defense can force the turnover-prone Fitzpatrick into enough mistakes to control the tempo on both sides of the ball. Look for the Ravens to set the tone early and come out of Miami with a victory.
Prediction: Win, 23-16 (1-0)
Week 2: vs. Arizona Cardinals, September 15, 1:00 PM (Home)
Seeing Terrell Suggs playing at M&T Bank Stadium garnering a different uniform will certainly be an odd, unfamiliar sight. His new squad, the Cardinals, are in an interesting spot. Whether the Ravens will be facing off against Josh Rosen or Kyler Murray in Week 2 remains to be seen. The Ravens haven’t lost a home opener since 2015 and that trend should continue this season. Baltimore is simply a better team on both sides of the ball and they’ll feed off the home crowd’s energy to secure a second consecutive victory.
Prediction: Win, 27-17 (2-0)
Week 3: vs. Kansas City Chiefs, September 22, 1:00 PM (Away)
The Ravens head back on the road to Arrowhead Stadium, where they suffered a heartbreaking loss in Week 14 of last season. Baltimore had a great chance to win that contest but the Chiefs managed to escape with a 27-24 victory in overtime. Now, the Ravens will have a shot to avenge this defeat in Week 3 of the 2019-20 season. The Chiefs have arguably the most explosive offense in the league and they’ll give the Ravens defense their first true test of the season. Except them to put up a good fight but ultimately come up short again.
Prediction: Loss, 20-28 (2-1)
Week 4: vs. Cleveland Browns, September 29, 1:00 PM (Home)
Gone are the days where scheduled matchups against the Cleveland Browns were labeled “trap games”. The hype surrounding Cleveland has only intensified this offseason and for good reason, as they made some marquee additions. However, you can expect the Ravens to be extremely motivated to make a statement in Week 4 and remind everyone who won the division last season. In their first of two meetings, the Ravens will narrowly fend off Baker Mayfield and company in a thriller.
Prediction: Win, 30-27 (3-1)
Week 5: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, October 6, 1:00 PM (Away)
We’ve seen in the past that after exhilarating victories, the Ravens often fail to keep that same energy in the following game. The Ravens will be riding high into Pittsburgh following their statement victory over Cleveland, but you can expect the Steelers will be extra motivated to defeat Baltimore and prove they still belong at the top of the division. The “sky is falling” narrative surrounding Pittsburgh may be a pit premature. This is still a talented football team and they’re going to be competitive, especially against the Ravens.
Prediction: Loss, 23-26 (3-2)
Week 6: vs. Cincinnati Bengals, October 13, 1:00 PM (Home)
The Ravens travel back home in Week 6 to take on the Bengals, their third consecutive matchup against a divisional foe. Losing one contest to a rival is bad enough, but potentially dropping two in a row? Yikes. The Bengals catered over the second half of last season and finally fired longtime head coach Marvin Lewis. The Ravens defeated the Bengals at home last year in Lamar Jackson’s first career start and the same outcome will occur this time around.
Prediciton: Win, 24-17 (4-2)
Week 7: vs. Seattle Seahawks, October 20, 4:25 PM (Away)
Baltimore heads to Seattle to face Russell Wilson and the “12th man” in their final game before the bye. The Ravens and Seahawks are fairly similar in the sense that they’re run-first, defensive teams with mobile quarterbacks. Earl Thomas is already great, but an angry version of ETIII looking for revenge after an ugly split with his former team? Luckily, the Ravens have that guy on their side. Thomas’ knowledge of the Seahawks offensive schemes will prove helpful and he’ll come up with a timely interception against Russell Wilson.
Prediction: Win, 20-17 (5-2)
Week 9: vs. New England Patriots, November 3, 8:20 PM (Home)
The scheduling gods certainly did Ravens fans a favor here. Sunday night football? Check. Hosting the defending champions check? Check. The last time Baltimore played the Patriots at home on Sunday night, which occurred in 2012, Justin Tucker’s last-second field goal just narrowly made it through the uprights and the Ravens won 31-30. Don’t expect a similar outcome this time around, though. Bill Belichick should be able to devise a good gameplan to slow down Lamar Jackson.
Prediction: Loss, 24-30 (5-3)
Week 10: vs. Cincinnati Bengals, November 10, 1:00 PM (Away)
Paul Brown Stadium has not been kind to the Ravens in the past. Last season, the Ravens traveled to Cincinnati in Week 2 for a Thursday Night tilt and were thoroughly defeated by 11 points. Will the Bengals hold down the fort again this year? I don’t believe so. Baltimore was the more talented team in Week 6 and thus is the case here later in the season. The Ravens have a tough road schedule overall and this is a game they can’t afford to drop. It won’t be easy, but the Ravens will make enough plays to squeak out a victory.
Prediction: Win, 24-20 (6-3)
Week 11: vs. Houston, November 17, 1:00 PM (Home)
DeShaun Watson comes to town in Week 11 and it will be the first time the Ravens have played against him. Like the Ravens, the Texans won their division last season, made the postseason and got bounced in the opening round. Houston has by far the best offensive weapon on either team in DeAndre Hopkins, one of the best receivers in the league. Can Marlon Humphrey and company do enough to slow him down? They certainly have as good a shot as any team. However, a few key plays from Watson and Hopkins will the difference in an otherwise back-and-forth affair.
Prediction: Loss, 24-27 (6-4)
Week 12: vs. Los Angeles Rams, November 25, 8:15 (Away)
The Ravens head out west for the second time this season to take on the Los Angeles Rams in Week 12, primetime matchup on Monday Night. This represents the first time all season, however, that the Ravens face 2018 playoff teams in back-to-back weeks. The Rams aren’t just any postseason opponent, though. Los Angeles got to the super bowl last season and returns largely their same core. Eric Weddle revenge game? Probably not, but the former Ravens’ knowledge of Baltimore’s offensive tendencies and schemes should give the Rams an advantage.
Prediction: Loss, 21-31 (6-5)
Week 13: vs. San Francisco 49ers, December 1, 1:00 PM (Home)
The Ravens and 49ers have played each other just once since their super bowl matchup in 2012 which, frankly, feels like forever ago. Both teams are obviously in different places today than they were then. San Francisco finished 4-12 last season but they lost franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to an ACL injury early in the year. Garoppolo’s return obviously makes them a more potent squad, but exactly how much they’ll improve is murky. The Ravens should bounce back at home and avoid a three-game skid.
Prediction: Win, 27-20 (7-5)
Week 14: vs. Buffalo Bills, December 8, 1:00 PM (Away)
Traveling to Buffalo in the beginning of December is not exactly the ideal scenario for any NFL team. However, the Ravens are well-suited for cold-weather football. The Bills added -ex-Ravens wide receiver John Brown in free agency and he should compliment quarterback Josh Allen’s skill set well. Brown could potentially get loose for a big play or two against his former team, but it won’t be enough for the Bills to pull off the upset. The Ravens will grind out a victory on the backs of Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards.
Prediction: Win, 23-14 (8-5)
Week 15: vs. New York Jets, December 12, 8:20 PM (Home)
The Ravens third and final primetime game of the season comes in Week 15 against the New York Jets. Normally, a matchup between the Jets and Ravens wouldn’t bring much drama or interesting storylines with it. However, two ex-Ravens, C.J. Mosley and Ty Montgomery, are now playing for New York and Le’Veon Bell was reportedly close to joining Baltimore in free agency before signing with the Jets. In the battle of sophomore quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Lamar Jackson, I see Jackson and the Ravens coming out on top.
Prediction: Win, 21-16 (9-5)
Week 16: vs. Cleveland Browns, December 22, 1:00 PM (Away)
Per usual, the Ravens end their season with two divisional matchups. This time they face the Browns in Week 16, not Week 17, as was the case last season. At this point in the season, these two teams will likely be jostling for playoff positioning, meaning this matchup is all the more important. Baltimore will be well-rested after having an extended gap between their last game and this one, but I don’t think it will amount to a win. Mayfield will make the necessary plays down the stretch to help Cleveland pull out a close one.
Prediciton: Loss, 23-28 (9-6)
Week 17: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, December 29, 1:00 PM (Home)
The Steelers caught the Ravens on a down week earlier in the season, but you can bet Baltimore will be more than ready this time around. The Ravens will likely need a victory here for their postseason chances and they’re no stranger to such scenario in the final week of the regular season. Baltimore will do just enough to slow down James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster to secure an important Week 17 victory.
Prediction: Win, 24-21 (10-6)
Analysis: The Ravens rebound from losing several players in free agency to match their win total from last season. So long as Baltimore manages to win four division games and handles their business against the likes of Miami, Arizona, Buffalo, and San Francisco, this is more than feasible. If not, they’ll have to compensate by doing better against the five playoff teams they play from last year: Patriots, Rams, Texans, Seahawks, and Chiefs.
What are your thoughts on these predictions and how do you see the schedule playing out? Comment down below, vote on the poll and share your thoughts!
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