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Ravens News 4/18: Schedule takeaways, draft sleepers and more

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AFC Championship - Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Five Biggest Takeaways From Ravens’ 2019 Schedule - John Eisenberg

Their schedule is perfectly balanced, alternating home and road contests throughout. Two of the three prime-time games are at home, including a Sunday night matchup against the defending Super Bowl champions. The start is relatively forgiving, featuring a road-and-home doubleheader against teams that won a combined 10 games last season and changed head coaches. In fact, four of the first six games are against teams that changed head coaches after a losing 2018. Is the schedule entirely lovable? Of course not. The Ravens will face three conference finalists from 2018. A Monday night game in California (against the defending NFC champions) means a very short week will ensue. Two overall trips to the West Coast is two more than the Ravens have made in some years. Generally, though, while the caliber of the opponents is high, they’ve been given a fair and workable 2019 schedule.

In terms of opponent’s 2018 win percentage, Baltimore will face the 20th most difficult schedule in 2019.

Perfectly balanced: Baltimore Ravens’ schedule is fair and rare -Jamison Hensley

Game-by-game predictions

Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley is predicting a 9-7 finish:

Sept. 8: at Miami, Win

Sept. 15: vs. Arizona, Win

Sept. 22: at Kansas City, Loss

Sept. 29: vs. Cleveland, Win

Oct. 6: at Pittsburgh, Loss

Oct. 13: vs. Cincinnati, Win

Oct. 20: at Seattle, Loss

Nov. 3: vs. New England, Loss

Nov. 10: at Cincinnati, Win

Nov. 17: vs. Houston, Loss

Nov. 25: at LA Rams, Loss

Dec. 1: vs. San Francisco, Win

Dec. 8: at Buffalo, Win

Dec. 12: vs. New York Jets, Win

Dec. 22: at Cleveland, Loss

Dec. 29: vs. Pittsburgh, Win

Early oddsmakers have set the Ravens win total at 8.5 games.

2019 NFL schedule release: Ten juicy revenge games on tap - Dan Hanzus

Earl Thomas vs. Seattle Seahawks

Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 7 at 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX

The Seahawks were not willing to give Earl Thomas the long-term deal he believed he deserved. The star safety sat out all of training camp and the preseason, then suffered a season-ending leg injury in Week 4. As he was carted off the field, Thomas made his disgust with the Seahawks’ decision-makers clear, raising his right arm and extending a middle finger at his own sideline. It was an ignominious end to what had been a brilliant run in Seattle, including six Pro Bowl nods and a Super Bowl ring in nine seasons. Thomas is now the crown jewel of the Baltimore Ravens’ secondary. You think he’ll be amped to be hitting humans wearing Seahawks helmets in his return to Seattle?

The schedule also features several ‘revenge’ games for former Ravens. Terrell Suggs will return to Baltimore in Week 2 and C.J. Mosley’s Jets come to town in Week 15.

2019 NFL Draft: These 10 sleepers will prove to be awesome value picks - Chris Trapasso

Ben Burr-Kirven, LB, Washington

Burr-Kirven diagnoses quickly, is an efficient block-shedder and traffic-sifter in the run game, tackles well, and is excellent in coverage thanks to lightning-quick route-recognition skills and the athleticism to close on the football in a hurry.

Terronne Prescod, OG, NC State

Loaded with experience, the 6-5, 320-plus pounder fared well in the Wolfpack’s zone-heavy blocking scheme, a feat in itself given his size. He has vice grips for hands, and while his lateral twitch will be tested against quick one-gappers at the NFL level, he’s anchor is outstanding against bull rushes or any type of power move.

Phil Haynes, OG, Wake Forest

Haynes’ athleticism popped on tape, and at the combine. At Wake Forest, he was routinely quick to notice and stop stunts or delayed blitzers in their tracks, responsibilities not easily carried out by slower-footed guards, and he made his presence felt as a combo-blocker in short areas.

Eastern Michigan edge defender Maxx Crosby and UC Davis receiver Keelan Doss also project as late round sleepers.