OWINGS MILLS – The Ravens shouldn’t complain about their 2015 schedule. The last time they played five of their first seven games on the road, they went on to win the Super Bowl.
That was in 2000, when the Ravens’ legendary defense anchored by middle linebacker Ray Lewis led them to a title. The Ravens played five of their first seven on the road that year, and won three of them – at Pittsburgh (16-0), at Cleveland (12-0), and at Jacksonville (15-10). Then with a favorable late-season schedule, the Ravens won seven straight to end the regular season. They finished 12-4 and headed into the playoffs with momentum.
The Ravens would love to duplicate that this season, knowing that if they weather September and October, home games are stacked in November and December. Five of their first seven are on the road, starting with the Broncos (Week 1) and the Raiders (Week 2). It’s time for the Ravens to adapt a road warrior mentality, and coach John Harbaugh is already talking that language.
“It’s challenging, but certainly the whole league is challenging,” Harbaugh said following Tuesday’s practice.
“I don’t know how many other teams are faced with those challenges, but I’m sure other teams have their complaints as well. And who cares? Nobody cares. Nobody cares what our issues are. As a matter of fact, people are looking – our opponents are looking and our enemies are looking very favorably upon our challenges, and they’re hoping that our challenges will bring us down. We have to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
To win at Denver, the Ravens will likely need a stellar performance from quarterback Joe Flacco, who has done some of his best career work on the road (seven road playoff wins). Having turned the page on the preseason, Harbaugh believes the Ravens will hit the road with the right mindset.
“Denver is a very difficult place to play,” Harbaugh said. “It’s a huge stadium, it’s right on top of you, and it’s very loud. Obviously, they have a really good football team, which is the most important part of their home field advantage. They were 8-0 (at home) last year during the regular season. I don’t think they’ve lost too many games there the past few years. But, we’ve beaten them, and we’re very confident, and we believe we can go win anywhere, so that will be our mindset.”