With the Baltimore Ravens 2023 schedule out, it’s time to dissect the release by game and big picture. There’s good and bad in the Ravens’ schedule, which is to be expected. So, here are 10 takeaways from the schedule.
Week 1 at Home vs. Rookie QB
The Ravens are bullies when it comes to rookie quarterbacks, and it’s going to be an assumed throttling of the Houston Texans in Week 1 with rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud making his NFL debut. The Ravens have been near-perfect over the past six seasons in Week 1, going 5-1 and outscoring their opponents 215-61 in six seasons. They are also opening at home for the first time in three years.
Late Bye Week
Yes, it’s worrisome to see the Ravens not take their bye week after playing the Tennessee Titans in London, but a Week 7 bye is rather early in an 18-week slate. But a late-season bye week allows for the team to ramp up for a final five-week battle, and one that’s going to be necessary as you look at their final five games.
Three-Game Home Stand
The month of November treats the Ravens right with three consecutive games at M&T Bank Stadium. Weeks 9-11 they’ll be at home, and then after a Sunday Night Football game in Los Angeles they get their bye week. A team that’s getting a heavy dose of travel will have a refreshing midseason break after an early gauntlet of travel.
Early Division Road Games
By Week 5, the Baltimore Ravens will have gone to the Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers for their first of two games. It’s striking to see three division games, all being on the road, so early in the season. But, with it comes a chance to take an early lead in the race and do so while on the road.
No Opponents Coming Off Their Bye Week
The Ravens won’t be facing a team this season that is fresh off their bye week in 2023. So, no two weeks for opponents to scheme and strategize against Lamar Jackson and what is expected to be a potent offense and lethal defense.
The Ravens deferred to take their bye week after playing the Titans in Week 6, and that’s fine. A Week 7 bye is early and they’d prefer one later in the season, I respect it. But to catch the Detroit Lions, who are shaping up well and will have wide receiver Jameson Williams eligible could be an issue. The last time the Ravens played a game post-London, they suffered a 26-9 loss to the Steelers where quarterback Joe Flacco threw two interceptions, running back Alex Collins lost a fumble and the team went 5-of-13 on third down and 0-for-2 on fourth down conversions.
Christmas Night in San Francisco
This is an all-around rough one. A week after flying to Jacksonville, the Ravens are headed to San Francisco to take on one of the NFL’s strongest opponents on Christmas night. Back-to-back challenging opponents, both on the road in primetime and it’s Christmas no less! No holiday cheer when we’re up until 1 a.m. cranking out stories until the early a.m. hours.
Early Division Road Games
The games giveth, but they could taketh away. Sometimes, it takes awhile for a team to discover themselves and get on the path. But they could be in an ugly spot buried at the bottom of the AFC North if they struggle to grab a couple wins with these early division road games.
Bengals on Four Days Notice
After the Ravens play the Browns in Week 10 at home, they’ll welcome the Bengals four days later on Thursday night. Yes, this is a game worthy of primetime but both squads are going to be less than 100-percent. Also, the Bengals are coming off a far easier matchup with the Texans in Week 10.
End Game Gauntlet
The final four games could be a brutal knockdown in the playoff race if things fall out of sorts. Or, if the Ravens are in bad shape heading into the final stretch due to injury, unfortunate luck or being a play or two shy from a couple close games, these won’t be the end-of-season handouts you’d desire. Ravens will have to fight across the finish line in 2023.