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NFL Schedule Release: What we already know about 2017 Ravens slate

NFL Schedule Release: What we already know about 2017 Ravens slate

BY TYLER BYRUM, @theTylerByrum

With the NFL schedule being released on Thursday night, the Baltimore Ravens already know which teams they will be up against to make postseason after missing out in back-to-back years. 

First the team will play six games against their division, both a home and an away matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Cleveland Browns. Throughout the past several seasons, the league has back-loaded the schedule with divisional matchups in order to keep most teams' playoff hopes alive. Typically three of those six games will be post-Thanksgiving, with one also within the season's first three weeks. As always (except last year), one of the Ravens-Steelers matchups will sure to be on primetime.

In this year's cycle, the Ravens will face off against the AFC South and the NFC North, which means three more playoff teams from last year, the Lions, Packers, and Texans. Tough road games will include at Green Bay and an 'away game' against the Jaguars played in London (typically scheduled in the middle weeks of the season).

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As the second place finishers in the AFC North, the squad will host the Dolphins and travel to Oakland for the 16 game schedule. Both those units took home the AFC Wild Card slots in 2017. 

The timing of the Green Bay and Oakland road games will be critical in the season. Field conditions inside Oakland Alameda Coliseum have never been the best when the Oakland Athletics games are still going on in September and potentially October. Meanwhile a trip to Lambeau in late November or December will surely be a dreaded matchup where temperatures hover around zero degrees.

Last year the team finished with a tough stretch against the Cowboys, Bengals, Dolphins, Patriots, Eagles, Steelers, and Bengals again. Make that three playoff teams and three divisional rivals in the final seven games. Odds would favor the Ravens getting a better balance this go around.

On Thanksgiving do not expect the Ravens to back in the limelight. With the team playing the Detroit Lions at home and the Redskins reportedly taking the primetime slot, there would be no room for Baltimore. In addition, they played against Pittsburgh on Christmas this past season. A shame for the team which is 2-0 on turkey day in their franchise's history.

There is also an indication for an uptick in primetime games for the Ravens with the team only having two last year, their lowest since 2006. Three total games were broadcast on national television. 

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Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

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USA Today Sports

Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

On Wednesday, February 14, a horrific school shooting claimed the lives of 17 innocent people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. 

The tragic event impacted people far and wide, and hit especially close to home for Ravens running back Alex Collins.

The former Arkansas star was born in Plantation, Fla., a suburb of Fort Lauderdale and went to high school just 15 miles south of Douglas High School. 

In the offseason, Collins took Irish dancing lessons to improve his footwork, and following the act of terror, the Ravens' tailback learned that one of his dance partners had been killed in the mass shooting.

17-year-old Cara Loughran attended The Drake school of Irish Dance with Collins in addition to two other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and was fatally shot by the gunman on Wednesday afternoon. 

Collins took to his Twitter account to issue this heartfelt message.

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“The school shooting yesterday hit home,” Collins wrote.

“We received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls, Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all their families and their teacher Chrissy.”

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Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

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USA Today Sports

Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will launch the NFL's 99th season by playing in the annual Hall of Fame game on Aug. 2.

The Ravens' first appearance in the Hall of Fame game, which launches the league's 2018 Enshrinement Week. Former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is among the inductees, along with former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

Lewis, who played 17 seasons with the Ravens, and Urlacher, who played all of his 13 seasons with Chicago, both were elected on the first ballot.

Lewis joins Jonathan Ogden as the only Ravens in the Hall of Fame. Both were selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1996 draft.

The other members of the Class of 2018 include Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. All will be inducted on Saturday, Aug. 4.

This will be the record-tying fifth time that the Bears will play in the Hall of Fame game. They won the previous four, most recently 27-24 over Miami in 2005.

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