The NFL released the 2020 schedule last night. Here are our thoughts on the road the Ravens will face…
First, this caveat from Adam Schefter:
The first half of the schedule has a nice pace to it – home and away, and ends with a Week 8 bye. Some tough games but travel is very limited, less than 3,300 miles total, with four of the 7 games at M&T Bank Stadium. Of course, the blue chip game is the Monday Night affair against the World Champion Chiefs. It’s the second half that is a bit odd but not necessarily bad.
Following the bye, the Ravens travel to Indianapolis and New England during Weeks 9 and 10. After the two roadies, the Ravens host the Titans on November 22nd and then four days later they travel to Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers Thanksgiving Night. That’s a daunting stretch. We all know the grudge match against Tennessee will be a war, and then to have to go on the road to take on the Steelers a little over 72 hours later places the Ravens at a physical disadvantage against a divisional foe.
That said, if they can get through that stretch with at least two wins, it sets up well for the balance of the season. After back-to-back Thursday night games which is highly unusual (Steelers, Cowboys) the Ravens take on four opponents that failed to make the postseason in 2019, the first being the Browns. The Ravens will have 11 days off before they head to Cleveland for another Monday Night contest meanwhile the Browns will return home following a trip to Nashville – advantage Baltimore.
Overall it’s tough to complain about the schedule but as we know, things change over the course of a season. Some teams that look like tough outs today will struggle. Others that look like bunts, will be formidable.
At the end of the day, I can’t wait to hear these words:
“ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL?”
The most important aspect of the Ravens’ schedule is the travel. Given that the team will have to travel the fewest amount of miles of any team, that’s a big deal for a team that had some tougher travel commitments last season. They also avoided some of the tougher back-to-back road game stretches they’ve faced in the past. You can’t really ask for a better setup. However, the organization can’t get caught up with the media hype that this is a favorable schedule. They still have a thinner margin of error because they’re chasing the Chiefs — and there is now only one team that gets a bye week in the playoffs this season.
The NFL appears to be the only major sports league giving hope to its fans. This schedule reminded viewers of the NFL’s continued efforts to have the regular season start on time.
The prime time games will all be against top-tier teams, and the nation will enjoy seeing Lamar Jackson perform on the big stage.
At quick glance, I can see Baltimore going anywhere between 11-5 and 13-3. No opponent is to be taken lightly, but Baltimore remains the most innovative team in football, and that bodes well in the long run.
The Ravens were given plenty of respect with this schedule. A record high five prime-time games, the fewest amount of travel miles, and a Monday night home game (Harbaugh griped about that a few years ago). Not only a Monday night home game but one against the current Super Bowl champions and the current MVP. Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes are currently the two biggest stars in the league and all football fans want to watch that game.
Finally, a Thanksgiving game; the team’s first, of course, was in 2011. That was an incredible game as the Harbaugh brothers faced off for the first time. Then there was the Mike Tomlin-Jacoby Jones trip game on Thanksgiving 2013. I’m getting tired of uneventful Thanksgivings with Detroit, the Cowboys and every other boring NFC team getting these games. I guess the post-turkey sleepiness and those games go together like peanut butter and jelly.
– While experts say the Ravens have the easiest schedule in the NFL, it’s impossible to really know how hard it’ll be and frankly, it doesn’t matter.
– As of now, I see a few very difficult stretches: The first few weeks of the season with Cleveland, Houston and KC; The six games following the BYE, most notably going from a home matchup with Tennessee to Pittsburgh and then back home to face Dallas.
– The great thing about the schedule is that the final quarter appears favorable (@ CLE, v. JAX, v. NYG, @ CIN). If Baltimore can head into that last period with a winning record, they should be well-positioned for a division crown and a high seed in the playoffs.
– If I had to predict the losses (and I’m not saying they’ll lose all of these), I think they’re likely to come somewhere from v. Kansas City, @ Philadelphia, @ Indianapolis, @ Pittsburgh, or @ Cleveland.