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Best storyline games from the Ravens’ 2022 schedule

Revenge games as well as highly anticipated matchups and rematches.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022 schedule for all 32 NFL teams was released on Thursday night. Now, they all know when and where they’ll be facing their home and away opponents this season.

Coming off a disappointing 2021 season, in which they were ravaged by injuries and finished last in the AFC North for the first time in the John Harbaugh era, the Baltimore Ravens have intriguing storylines for several of their games.

Week 1: @ New York Jets

The Ravens will open the season on the road, against a team and front office full of familiar faces. Assuming he’s available, it will be C.J. Mosely’s first time facing the team that drafted him in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

He made the Pro Bowl in four of his five seasons in Baltimore before inking a massive deal with the Jets in free agency following the 2018 season. He was on injured reserve when the Jets faced the Ravens in Week 15 of the 2019 season and his new team could’ve used him. They were shellacked 42-21 in one of the standout games of Lamar Jackson’s MVP-winning season. The Ravens’ projected starting right tackle, Morgan Moses, spent last season with the Jets and started 16 of 17 games. So, this will be somewhat of a revenge game for the eight-year veteran offensive lineman as well.

This game will also serve as a litmus test to see which general manager who got their humble beginnings in Baltimore built the better roster. Both Eric DeCosta and Jets’ head executive, Joe Douglas, began their careers with the Ravens and recently received high grades for their outstanding draft hauls. While season openers rarely mean much, they can serve as a tone-setter for the rest of a team’s season. Also, to showcase which front office built the strongest roster and surrounded their young franchise quarterback with the requisite weapons to succeed.

Week 2: vs. Miami Dolphins

The Ravens’ home opener will come against the team that essentially laid the schematical blueprint for their downward spiral during the second half of the season in 2021. The Miami Dolphins will be a trendy team to start the season with first-year head coach Mike McDaniel and a loaded arsenal of offensive weapons at wide receiver, running back, and tight end.

The Ravens will still be favored to win this game, though. If they can come out with a show of force in their first game of the season at M&T Bank Stadium, it’d rid their home turf of any lingering bad vibes — in addition to picking up what could be a pivotal win over a conference opponent.

Week 3: @ New England Patriots

The last time these two met, it was in a torrential downpour and Matthew Judon was still a Raven. Fast-forward to this fall, and the three-time Pro Bowler will be welcoming his former team into his new home stadium. Judon recorded a career-high 12.5 sacks in his first year with the Patriots and played an integral part in helping them return to the playoffs for the first time in the post-Tom Brady era.

This will be a battle between two teams that mirror each other in terms of how they seek to win games: with stingy defense, multiple tight end sets on offense, and a power run game to dominate time of possession. The Ravens fortified their trenches on both sides of the ball by building a bully of an offensive line and adding some younger interior defensive linemen.

Week 4: vs. Buffalo Bills

The Ravens are rarely viewed as underdogs in their own home, outside of when the modern Kansas City Chiefs or the Patriots of old come to town. However, they’re unlikely to be favored when the Buffalo Bills and Josh Allen travel to Baltimore for a surprisingly slated afternoon game.

Buffalo is the early betting favorite to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LVII (57) by many prominent oddsmakers. The last time these two teams squared off, swirling winds and high snaps caused the Ravens and Jackson to literally get knocked out of the 2020 playoffs. Baltimore’s secondary versus the Bills’ offensive weapons will be an entertaining matchup and make viewers wish it was nationally televised for the entire country to see.

Week 5: vs. Cincinnati Bengals | Week 18: @ Cincinnati Bengals

The Ravens and their fans couldn’t wait to have these two games circled on their calendars, to show the reigning division champions who really runs the AFC North.

The Cincinnati Bengals and Joe Burrow swept the Ravens in 2021. They took full advantage of a Ravens’ secondary that wasn’t at full strength in either matchup, and was utterly decimated by both injuries and positive COVID-19 tests in their second meeting. With major upgrades and reinforcements at safety and the return of their All-Pro cornerback tandem, the Ravens are well equipped to put the clamps down on Ja’Marr Chase and Co.

Baltimore will also be facing one of their former first-round picks for the first time since trading him away in the 2020 offseason. DeCosta dealt tight end Hayden Hurst to the Atlanta Falcons following the 2019 season. He signed a one-year deal with the Bengals this offseason to take over the starting role of C.J. Uzomah in their offense. While Hurst is a solid pass-catching option at the position, the Ravens have what many believe can be a tight neutralizer in 2022 first-round pick Kyle Hamilton. So, it will be interesting to see what happens when those two lineup across from each other.

Week 6: @ New York Giants

The Ravens will travel back to the Meadowlands to take on the other New York football team that calls MetLife Stadium home. When their offense takes the field, Don “Wink” Martindale will be calling plays against them in a live, non-practice setting for the first time since 2010. He was the defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos that year and the Ravens hung 31 points on his unit in a resounding win in Week 5.

Martindale and the Ravens decided to mutually part ways this offseason after he spent the previous 10 seasons with the team on the coaching staff. He served as the Ravens’ linebackers coach from 2012 to 2017 before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2018. The Ravens fielded some ferocious units during his tenure as the defensive play-caller but both decided to go in different directions after a horrid 2021 campaign — where the Ravens gave up the most passing yards in the NFL.

While he just lost his best cornerback — James Bradberry — as a salary cap casualty, Martindale is equipped with some young talented edge rushers. The Giants have Azeez Ojulari, who they drafted in second round last year, and Kayvon Thibodeaux — the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft. There’s also Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams on the interior of their defensive line, so expect Martindale to get creative with how he deploys them against the Ravens.

Week 7: vs. Cleveland Browns | Week 15: @ Cleveland Browns

Two weeks after having the opportunity to get revenge over the Bengals, the Ravens will get a chance to test the mettle of the new-look Browns with Deshaun Watson coming to town. Their second matchup could wind up being in primetime if both teams are surging down the stretch, since its current time slot is yet to be determined. Jackson and Watson have faced off twice in their young careers and the Ravens came out on top both times, with the 2019 league MVP looking like the superior talent in each.

The Ravens won’t be trotting out Alejandro Villanueva at left tackle against Myles Garrett like they did the last two times these two teams played. Ronnie Stanley should be back into the full swing of things by the time the first game comes around. Whether he’s paired with Moses or rookie Daniel Faalele, the team will have stud bookends either way for the second meeting.

While most of the hype has been around the other team in Ohio, the Browns could be just as much of a threat to the Ravens as the Bengals in returning to the top of the division.

Week 8: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Barring a potential rematch in the Super Bowl, this could be the last time that the Ravens and Jackson face off against Tom Brady. They will do so on short week, as the road team on Thursday Night Football presented by Amazon Prime Video. Brady and Jackson first played each other during the future Hall of Famer’s last season with the Patriots, where the Ravens snapped New England’s eight-game win streak.

The Ravens will also be playing against another one of their former first-round picks in wide receiver Breshad Perriman, who they drafted back in 2015. He spent half of last season with the Buccaneers and signed a one-year deal to return to the team in 2022. The most notable former Raven on Tampa’s roster is Ryan Jensen. Jensen has established himself as one of the league’s best centers since departing in free agency following the 2017 season.

Week 9: @ New Orleans Saints

The Ravens will be returning to the city that is near and dear to the heart of the franchise, since it was the site of their last Super Bowl appearance. It will also serve as somewhat of a homecoming for prized free-agent acquisition Marcus Williams, considering he spent the first five years of his career with the Saints and still has many close friends on the team.

Baltimore will also be playing against a fan favorite in veteran running back Mark Ingram, who was traded to the Saints last season. He spent the previous two with the Ravens, where he was voted to the Pro Bowl and tied a franchise record for touchdowns from scrimmage in 2019.

Week 11: vs. Carolina Panthers

There aren’t any major storylines for this matchup outside of the Ravens facing a pair of their former players, one on each side of the ball. Both Bradley Bozeman and Chris Westry signed one-year deals with the Panthers this offseason. Bozeman was a three-year starter with the Ravens having started in every game he appeared in from 2019 to 2021, including all of 2021 at center. Westry appeared in just six games for the team last year and only made two starts. He likely won’t open the season as a starter but injuries could open the door to a larger role for him in Carolina like it did Baltimore. Expect the Ravens to exploit him if that is the case, like opposing teams did him in 2021.

Week 13: vs. Denver Broncos

There aren’t many Ravens ties with this team outside of that they signed blocking tight end Eric Tomlinson in free agency. Tomlinson spent the last season and a half in Baltimore, but this should just be a good game nonetheless. The revamped Broncos’ roster will be coming to town with a new sheriff under center in Russell Wilson. Jackson carved up their secondary in Week 4 last year to the tune of 316 passing yards and a passer rating of 96.2.

Week 14: @ Pittsburgh Steelers | Week 17: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Sadly, both of these games are slated to be played in the early afternoon slot given the history of this legendary rivalry. However, with so many new names and faces, coupled with the uncertainty of what the Steelers will look like with Mitchell Trubisky or Kenny Pickett at the helm, it’s understandable.

Jackson has a losing record as a starter against the Steelers at 1-2 and hasn’t played well in any of those games. With a better offensive line and healthy running backs, he will be better equipped to turn that tide after watching his team get swept by Pittsburgh in two straight years.