The NFL released it’s 2015 schedule in April. The Baltimore Ravens have known their opponents but now they know exactly when they will play them. Since we’re on the cusp of football season here are the takeaways from their schedule’s release.
The Ravens will open the season in Denver versus the Broncos once again. The Ravens and Baltimore Orioles share parking lots and the Orioles play home on Sunday September 13th and Monday September 14th and like in 2012 the Ravens will have to open the season away. The Ravens play five of their first seven games away. They open in Denver and then travel to Oakland to face the Raiders, and then in weeks six and seven they face the 49ers and then the Cardinals.
The Ravens have three of their division games in weeks three through six, one of them being a prime time game (Steelers), and their last three in weeks 12, 16 and 17. Unlike last season, where there was a chance for the Ravens to steal the division early, the division winner will likely be dubbed towards the end of the season.
Strength of Schedule
The Ravens will play the 11th toughest schedule in the league. Of their 13 opponents, they will face five 2014 playoff teams in seven games (vs Bengals, vs Steelers, vs Seahawks, @Bengals, @Steelers, @Broncos, and @Cardinals), and four teams with losing records in five games (vs Browns, vs Rams, vs Jags, @Browns, @Raiders). The Ravens’ 2015 opponents finished 2014 137-117-2.
West Coast Trips?
The Ravens requested that they play the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers in back-to-back weeks to avoid two cross country trips. However, that request was not granted and it may be because the Green Bay Packers, Cincinnati Bengals, and Minnesota Vikings face the same problem. The Ravens got the short end of the stick and not only will they have to make two west coast trips, but they will have to make them with only three weeks in between. There is a bright spot though, they play in San Francisco and then travel to Arizona to face the Cardinals so they can potentially knock out two western teams back-to-back in one trip.
No Thanksgiving game
This year the Ravens will not be participating in any turkey day game action. They were not granted a Thanksgiving day game although it would have been nice to see them play maybe the Steelers or Seahawks while eating some turkey.
The toughest stretch for the Ravens may come in weeks three and four when the host the Bengals on September 27th, but then have to face the Steelers in Pittsburgh Thursday night on October 1st. They have back-to-back division games and then they only have a short week to prepare for the Steelers.
The Ravens were awarded a week nine bye. This comes at a decent time right in the middle of the season. The teams past bye weeks have been in week 7 or 8 in four of the last six seasons. Last year it was in week 11.
To my surprise and most likely many others, the Ravens have five prime time games. Yes, I said five. Of course both Steelers games are prime time. They play in Pittsburgh on October 1st on Thursday Night Football, in Arizona against the Cardinals on October 26th on Monday Night Football, in Cleveland versus the Browns on Monday Night Football, and they host the Seahawks on December 13th on Sunday Night Football, and the Steelers on December 27th on Sunday Night Football.
The Ravens will close the season with two division opponents (vs Steelers and @Bengals). They have closed on the road in four of the last six season. Most likely one of these two games will crown the division champs (no shade to the Cleveland Browns).
Weather & Games
I think it’s a plus that the Ravens make that trip to Denver in September before it gets cold. Also the week 13 match up in Miami on December 6th will be a nice vacation and escape from up north weather for the team and fans.
- Week six the Ravens make a trip to San Francisco where they will face former Ravens Anquan Boldin and new 49er, Torrey Smith in a Superbowl XLVII rematch.
- Week one the Denver Broncos and their new head coach and former Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak come to town. It should also be noted that there has been talk of the Ravens still running the system Kubiak was a part of in 2014. C Gino Gradkowski was also traded to the Broncos for 2016 draft picks in April.
- Week eight when the San Diego Chargers come to town, they will also be bringing former Raven Jacoby Jones who was cut by the Ravens in February.
- Week 11 Baltimore native and St. Louis Ram WR Tavon Austin will play his 1st game in Baltimore since he entered the NFL.
- Week 10 former Raven RB Bernard Pierce, who was cut by the Ravens after an arrest, and the Jacksonville Jaguars make a trip to Baltimore.