The Baltimore Ravens 2020 regular season schedule has been released. Let’s take a look at some of the more noteworthy takeaways:
1. The Ravens open up at home against a division rival
The Ravens will get an opportunity to go 1-0 in the division after Week 1 when they play the Cleveland Browns at 1 p.m. est. They will look to get off to a good start to the season against one of only two teams that handed the Ravens a loss in 2019.
The Browns are coming off a disappointing 2019 season that began with high expectations, only to see it fly off the rails. They failed to earn a playoff birth and saw their head coach fired after only one season. The Browns are hoping this season will prove much more successful after committing to QB Baker Mayfield’s success this offseason. They hired former Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski to replace Freddie Kitchens as head coach. The Browns also signed prized tight end, Austin Hooper, in free agency, providing another weapon for Mayfield. They also committed to keeping Mayfield upright by investing in the offensive line in this year’s NFL Draft.
For the Ravens, they are coming off a historic season that shattered the expectations of even the most optimists. They went 14-2 and didn’t lose again after Week 4, against this very same Browns team. Lamar Jackson is coming off of a season where he earned MVP in only his first full year as the starting QB.
Mayfield and Jackson will forever be tied together after being the first and last pick in the first round respectively in the 2018 NFL Draft, and it will be interesting to see who gets the upper hand in Week 1.
2. The Ravens are a prime time favorite
The Ravens are scheduled to play five games in prime time this season, which would tie the 2011 team for the most in franchise history. Fans won’t have to wait too long for the first one, as they will play at home on Monday Night Football against the defending Super Bowl Champions Kansas City Chiefs. It will be a matchup between the last two regular season MVPs in Jackson and QB Patrick Mahomes. This should be one of the most anticipated games of the entire season.
The other four prime time games come within a five-week stretch between November 15th-December 14th, including three in a row during Weeks 12 through 14. This stretch will include a game on Thanksgiving against arch-rival Pittsburgh Steelers. This will be the first time the Ravens play on Thanksgiving day since 2013 when they beat the Steelers 22-20.
The other prime time games are Week 10 on the road against the New England Patriots on Sunday night, Week 13 at home on Thursday night against the Dallas Cowboys, and Week 14 on the road against the Cleveland Browns on Monday night.
3. No long road trips
The 2019 regular season was unusual for Baltimore, as they didn’t play consecutive home or road games at any point. This year is not much different, as they only have to be on the road for two weeks in a row one time: Week 9 at the Indianapolis Colts and Week 10 at New England.
The Ravens also have the advantage of not having any trips out to the west coast this year. In fact, they leave the eastern time zone only once all season: at Houston to play the Texans Week 2.
Read about the Carolina Panthers season schedule analysis here
4. Middle of the season is arguably the toughest stretch
The Ravens have generally an easy strength of schedule on paper. In fact, they have the easiest schedule in the NFL based on last year’s combined opponent’s winning percentage. But if there was a difficult stretch in 2020, it will probably begin in Week 6, when the Ravens go to Philadelphia to play the Eagles. This will kick off a seven-game stretch where the Ravens will play three playoff teams from last season (Eagles, Patriots, and Titans), both games against the always-tough Steelers, and two potentially strong opponent this year in the Colts and Cowboys.
Add in the Browns game in Week 14 and it would be fair to say that the Ravens play eight straight games against opponents with strong playoff aspirations this season.
If the Ravens survive that stretch, they finish the season schedule with a potentially softer final three weeks. All three opponents (Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Giants, and Cincinnati Bengals) are projected to finish among the bottom in the standings this year.
5. Bye week comes at a great time of the season yet again
Every NFL team prefers to have their bye week fall some time in the middle of the season. The Ravens bye week comes in week 8 for the second year in a row.
The bye comes during an opportune time for the Ravens, which is right during the difficult stretch of games mentioned above.
Overall, this schedule provides the Ravens with the opportunity to get back into the playoffs. It will be exciting to see how the regular season plays out for the Baltimore Ravens!