Well, the excitement of the NFL schedule release is finally behind us after all was revealed on Wednesday night. As fans are putting together their fall road trips, here at home the Ravens are hoping to continue their success at M&T Bank Stadium in the month of September and beyond.
For those that haven’t heard by now the Ravens will open up their 2014 season at home against the Bengals before a Week 2 showdown in prime time against the hated Steelers.
While it’s silly to start predicting records, one thing that is of utmost importance (as Russell Street Report head honcho Tony Lombardi pointed out in his latest article) is they must start fast out of the gate and take advantage of playing at home.
The month of September has been one of success for the Ravens under head coach John Harbaugh.
Under Harbs, the Ravens are 11-0 in September home games, ranking as the NFL’s best such mark since 2008. Even more impressive is the Ravens’ overall September record dating back to 2005, a time during which they have won 14 straight home games.
It’s no secret around the league that coaching assistants will start prepping immediately for the first few games of the season to stay ahead of the curve. While they may not exactly know opposing teams’ rosters completely, they do know schemes and what past film shows, not to mention the familiarity of the coaches they face within the division.
With just one game (vs. Atlanta Falcons, series split 2-2 overall) at M&T Bank Stadium in the month of October, it makes it that much more important for the team to capitalize on the three September home games. That stretch includes the much-anticipated Week 4 matchup against Carolina.
The Ravens play four games in the month of November, including two at home (Titans, Chargers), and their recent history of success at home during that month is one they hope to carry over in 2014. During the Harbaugh era, the purple and black are 11-1 in November home games, tying the Saints for the NFL’s best such mark since 2008.
Entering the month of December, the Ravens, per ESPN Stats & Info, will face the easiest remaining NFL Schedule based upon 2013 wins and losses records. Their December opponents (Dolphins, Jaguars, Texans and Browns) were a combined 18-46 last season.
Since 2000, the Ravens are 33-25 in December games including a 14-11 record since 2008. At home in the friendly confines of M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens are 10-5 under Harbaugh in the year’s final month. With a Week 15 home game against the Jaguars and their season finale here against the Browns, the team will look to continue their December success and, hopefully, enter the postseason on a roll.
Every season is a new one in the “Not For Long” league. Predicting wins and losses, while fun, certainly isn’t practical just by looking at a schedule. Rosters aren’t set, teams haven’t even taken to the field for the most part and there is a long, long time until September.
Anything can happen between now and the home opener – and probably will. The good news is that recent history favors the Ravens and, on paper, the schedule sets up rather nicely. At this point, that’s really all we fans can ask for.
Well, that and some sales on flights to Miami.
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