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Ravens News 5/8: Strength of schedule and more

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NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens Mitchell Layton-USA TODAY Sports

Ranking the top 10 NFL defenses for 2020 season: Ravens lead the way by prioritizing pass coverage - Jared Dubin

1. Ravens

Did you know that the Ravens finished last season fourth in defensive DVOA? Did you know that they snagged Calais Campbell and Derek Wolfe up front, retained Matt Judon with the franchise added, picked up the best coverage linebacker in the draft with Patrick Queen, added even more depth and versatility to the defensive line with Justin Madubuike, and will now have Marcus Peters for a full season? Do you realize how much depth there is in this secondary? Jimmy Smith is the third-best corner on this team. Brandon Carr isn’t even going to start. Oh, and they have Earl Thomas patrolling center field. There are no weaknesses here. Expect big things.

2020 NFL strength of schedule rankings: Ravens and Steelers have it easiest, Patriots face roughest ride - John Breech

Don’t be surprised if the Ravens repeat as division champs, and that’s because Baltimore has BY FAR the easiest strength of schedule in the NFL at .437. To put that in perspective, no other team in the NFL has an SOS below .455.

Takeaways on the Ravens’ 2020 Schedule - John Eisenberg

This surely ranks among the most compelling home schedules the Ravens have offered. Aside from the usual AFC North matchups, the slate of games at M&T Bank Stadium includes: 1) an early-season matchup with the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Chiefs, that will rank among the league’s most anticipated games of 2020; 2) the Cowboys’ first trip to Baltimore in eight years; and 3) a chance for the Ravens to avenge January’s bitter playoff exit when the Tennessee Titans visit. And those AFC North matchups are hardly routine this year. A season-opener against the Cleveland Browns will provide another referendum on whether the talented Browns are starting to get their act together.

What the Ravens should like about their schedule: 1) the bye is right where you want it, in late October, offering the players the break they need halfway through the season; 2) if they’re in a down-to-the-wire fight for a division title or playoff spot, the last three games are relatively forgiving with back-to-back home games against the Jacksonville Jaguars (6-10 last season) and New York Giants (4-12), followed by a season finale in Cincinnati (1-15); 3) the Ravens don’t have far to travel on the short weeks after their Monday night games

Baltimore Ravens’ schedule 2020: Lamar Jackson will face league’s easiest schedule - Jamison Hensley

Game-by-game prediction

Sept. 13: vs. Cleveland, Win

Sept. 20: at Houston, Win

Sept. 28: vs. Kansas City, Loss

Oct. 4: at Washington, Win

Oct. 11: vs. Cincinnati, Win

Oct. 18: at Philadelphia, Loss

Oct. 25: vs. Pittsburgh, Win

Nov. 1: Bye

Nov. 8: at Indianapolis, Loss

Nov. 15: at New England, Win

Nov. 22: vs. Tennessee, Win

Nov. 26: at Pittsburgh, Loss

Dec. 3: vs. Dallas, Win

Dec. 14: at Cleveland, Win

Dec. 20: vs. Jacksonville, Win

Dec. 27: vs. N.Y. Giants, Win

Jan. 3: at Cincinnati, Win

Brutal after bye: The Ravens had better rest up during the Week 8 bye because the toughest part of the NFL’s overall easiest schedule (at least based on 2019 records) comes immediately after it. For five straight weeks, Baltimore lines up against teams whose playoff probability is 57 % or higher by Caesars Sportsbook. The Ravens play at Indianapolis (where they’re 0-6 in franchise history), at New England (where they haven’t won since the 2012 AFC championship game), home against Tennessee (which delivered the playoff upset in Baltimore last season), at Pittsburgh (where they’ve lost to Ben Roethlisberger in four of the past five regular-season meetings) and home against Dallas (who beat Baltimore in the teams’ last meeting with a then-rookie Dak Prescott).

Most forgiving 2020 NFL schedules: Ravens, Bucs are smiling - Marc Sessler

Baltimore Ravens

Laced with the NFL’s softest strength of schedule, the Ravens are tasked with just one occurrence of back-to-back road contests. They open the season at home against a Browns team with a newbie coaching staff and finish with manageable home dates against the Jaguars and Giants before visiting the Bengals in Week 17. The club’s clash with Kansas City comes at home in Week 3, while Baltimore’s much-anticipated revenge tilt against the Titans after last season’s playoff loss to Tennessee also unfolds at M&T Bank Stadium. The bye lands nicely in Week 8.