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Power ranking the Ravens’ most difficult matchups of the 2023 season

Breaking down the easiest and hardest games following the schedule release

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Baltimore Ravens Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Every team’s 2023 schedule was officially unveiled last night. For the Baltimore Ravens, a trip overseas to London, a Christmas Day matchup, and four primetime games stand out as highlights. Overall, the Ravens’ strength of schedule is easier than 2022.

Out of all the team’s 17 matchups on the slate, which ones profile as most difficult? Let’s break it down by ranking each game in terms of difficulty, going from easiest to hardest.

1) Week 1 — Ravens vs. Texans

The Ravens’ season opener profiles as their easiest matchup of the season on paper. They’re at home, for one, against a Texans team that won just three games last year and four games in each of the prior two seasons. On top of that, Houston will be starting first-round pick C.J. Stroud at quarterback. Traditionally, M&T Bank Stadium has not been a friendly place for rookie signal-callers. Baltimore has a significant talent and experience advantage in this matchup across the board.

2) Week 14 — Ravens vs. Rams

It’s hard to believe playing the 2021 Super Bowl champions is one of the easiest matchups of the year. However, this 2023 Rams team is not nearly the same as they were two seasons ago. Los Angeles will get key stars back from injury next season but have lost a ton of talent regardless. The Ravens will get them at home off a bye week — a spot where John Harbaugh teams have historically been very successful.

3) Week 8 — Ravens @ Cardinals

The first NFC West opponent the Ravens will face this year is the Cardinals. While this is another west coast trip, Arizona profiles as a retooling/rebuilding team with a first-year head coach and quarterback returning from a torn ACL. Kyler Murray may very well be back to full health by this time, late October, which obviously changes the dynamic of this matchup. Still, the Ravens have a talent advantage across the board.

4) Week 3 — Ravens vs. Colts

Baltimore’s last September matchup is their second home game of the season, where they’ll host the Colts. The last time Indianapolis came to town, the Ravens won a Monday night thriller via a huge comeback effort. This Colts’ team now has a new first-year head coach and rookie quarterback in Anthony Richardson. It’s possible veteran Gardner Minshew could be their starter this early in the season. Either way, this isn’t a terribly difficult spot for the Ravens.

5) Week 9 — Ravens vs. Seahawks

The Ravens have not played the Seahawks since 2019, which was the infamous, “yeah coach let’s go for it!” game during Lamar Jackson’s MVP season. Let by a resurgent Geno Smith season in 2022, the Seahawks surprised many and snuck into the playoffs with a 9-8 record. However, while they’re certainly not a pushover, the Ravens match up well on paper and will be returning home after a favorable matchup against the Cardinals.

6) Week 6 — Ravens vs. Titans (London)

In mid-October, the Ravens will travel to London for only the second time in franchise history to play the Titans. This is technically a “home” game for Baltimore but obviously that is negligible. The last time the Ravens played in London, they were thrashed by another AFC South foe — the Jacksonville Jaguars — by a score of 44-7. Things should go better this time around against a Titans team whose roster is a bit in-flux. Still, Tennessee and head coach Mike Vrabel know the Ravens well, and the factor of travel and unfamiliar playing territory can’t be overlooked.

7) Week 10 — Ravens vs. Browns

Following back-to-back games against NFC West teams, the Ravens will play their second game against the Browns in Week 10 at home. The Browns last beat the Ravens in Baltimore in 2019; before that 2015. This game will conclude a three-game homestand for the Ravens, but the Browns are a formidable opponent who have played them well in recent matchups.

8) Week 4 — Ravens @ Browns

Six weeks prior to hosting the Browns, the Ravens play them on the road. That makes this a little more difficult as a road divisional matchup. The Ravens lost in Cleveland last year by a score of 13-3, but were without Lamar Jackson in the lineup. They’ll look to avenge that result in this early-season matchup with Jackson back under center.

9) Week 7 — Ravens vs. Lions

Following the team’s London game, the Ravens will go back home to host the Lions. Detroit has only beaten the Ravens once ever in six total meetings back in 2005. Two of their last three meetings saw the Ravens win in dramatic fashion via late-game heroics from Justin Tucker. This year’s Lions team is up-and-coming and many people are pegging them as a division winner and/or playoff team. The Ravens have the advantage of being at home, but the factor of returning from overseas adds to the difficulty level.

10) Week 17 — Ravens vs. Steelers

In the regular season finale, for the second straight season, the Ravens will host the Steelers. Baltimore’s 13-16 lost to the Steelers in Week 17 in 2021 officially eliminated them from playoff contention, so they’ll be hungry for a difficult result this time around. This game will likely have postseason implications again as well. The Ravens actually have not beaten the Steelers at home since 2019. This will conclude a two-game homestand for Baltimore to conclude the regular season.

11) Week 5 — Ravens @ Steelers

Following a trip to Cleveland in Week 4, the Ravens will quickly pivot to another road divisional matchup in Pittsburgh. The Ravens escaped this matchup with a two-point victory in December last season. Back-to-back AFC North games makes this a tougher matchup, whereas the Steelers will be coming off a lighter matchup against the Texans.

12) Week 12 — Ravens @ Chargers

The Ravens travel to Los Angeles to play the Chargers for the first time since SoFi Stadium opened in 2020. While there isn’t a great home-field advantage, the Chargers are a plenty talented team with a high-octane offense led by Justin Herbert. It helps that the Ravens will enter this matchup off a Thursday night game the week prior, giving them an extra few days of rest before a west coast trip.

13) Week 15 — Ravens @ Jaguars

The Ravens will travel to Jacksonville for a second straight season in 2023. Their one-point loss to the Jaguars in Week 12 last season was the last time Jackson played a full game. The Ravens were in prime position to win that game but blew a two-possession lead late in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars wound up winning nine games in 2022 and winning their division, proving to be a formidable opponent. Trevor Lawrence is a rising star at quarterback and this matchup is on Sunday night, so the Ravens will have their work cut out for them.

14) Week 11 — Ravens vs. Bengals

The Ravens conclude a mid-season, three-game homestand with a Thursday night matchup against the Bengals. The magnitude of this game, with the potential for jockeying in the divisional standings between these two teams, is significant. Cincinnati’s talent goes without saying and playing them on a short week doesn’t it any easier.

15) Week 2 — Ravens @ Bengals

The second week of the season sees the Ravens travel to Cincinnati, the sight of their heartbreaking playoff defeat in last year’s wildcard round. The Ravens will have Jackson under center this time around, altering the dynamic of the matchup. Jackson has never lost a road game to the Bengals as a starter but they’ve since developed a better home-field advantage, winning all but one home game in 2022. This early-season tilt could set the stage for how the division will shake out during the rest of the year.

16) Week 17 — Ravens vs. Dolphins

The Ravens’ last two matchups against the Dolphins have been disastrous. In 2021, the Ravens’ offense fell apart in primetime in Miami. Then last year, the Ravens blew a 28-point lead in the second half and lost at home. Now, playing them for the third straight season, they’ll have a chance to exorcise recent demons. It won’t come easy, even playing again at home, as the Dolphins have a high-octane offense. Come Week 17, the Ravens will be coming off a short week and this game figures to have large playoff ramifications.

17) Week 16 — Ravens @ 49ers

Prior to hosting the Dolphins, the Ravens are traveling to San Francisco for a primetime tilt with the 49ers on Christmas Day. San Francisco won 13 games last season and returns much of their same roster. Despite questions at quarterback, they’re undoubtedly one of the top teams in the NFC. The Ravens have never played the 49ers on the road in the Lamar Jackson era, so this will be a first. The stakes of this matchup will be huge.