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Schedule focus: November

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Schedule focus: November

(Third installment of a month by month examination of the Ravens' 2012 schedule.)

Nov. 4Ravens at Cleveland BrownsCleveland Stadium, Cleveland, 1 pm
Skinny: The sight of the Ravens always seems to depress the football fans in the franchises former city. Theres usually an early burst of cheering followed by quiet as the Ravens slowly pull away.

Opponent: The Browns latest attempt to become more competitive revolves around amping up their offense, which averaged just 13.6 points a game in 2011. A pair of rookie first-round picks, running back Trent Richardson (No. 3 overall) and quarterback Brandon Weeden, are the centerpieces of that effort.

Nov. 11Oakland Raiders at RavensM&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, 1 pm
Skinny: The Raiders have never won in Baltimore, losing four straight games starting with the Ravens inaugural contest on Sept. 1, 1996, at Memorial Stadium.

Opponent: The Raiders are on their third head coach in four years. Can you name him? (Tick, tick.) Its Dennis Allen, formerly the defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos. Early returns are favorable. It will be interesting to see if the team operates any differently now that the legendary Al Davis has passed away.

Nov. 18Ravens at Pittsburgh SteelersHeinz Field, Pittsburgh, 8:20 pm
Skinny: The Ravens and Steelers played both of their games in the first half of the season in 2011. It didnt feel right. Now they play two in three weeks starting with this one.

Opponent: Hines Ward is gone along with several other members of the Steelers old guard, but the biggest change is on the sidelines, where Todd Haley has taken over for Bruce Arians as offensive coordinator. The Steelers offense didnt fare especially well against the Ravens defense in 2011, so it will be interesting to see how Haley approaches these rivalry games.

Nov. 25Ravens at San Diego ChargersQualcomm Stadium, San Diego, 4:05 pm
Skinny: Eleven months later, the Ravens return to the scene of their worst beating of 2011. It was so bad the Ravens are considering altering their West Coast travel plans after examining sleep-pattern studies.

Opponent: Watching the Chargers pound the Ravens last December, it was hard to fathom how such a dynamic team could miss the playoffs. But something always seems to go wrong in the end for the Chargers. They have one of the leagues most high-powered offenses, and they used their top two draft picks to add defensive players. As usual, and understandably, expectations are high.

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Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

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USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Jackson, Ravens rookies report to training camp

Football is back in session for the Ravens.

Their rookies are set to report to the Ravens' training facility in Owings Mills, Md Wednesday. Veterans report next Wednesday, the 18th.

The team is reporting to training camp a bit earlier than most NFL teams. Due to Ray Lewis being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Aug. 4 in Canton, Oh, the Ravens will face the Chicago Bears in the annual Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 2. Teams participating are eligible to begin training camp earlier.

This rookie class is already generating national attention. While the Ravens stand by Joe Flacco as their QB1, first-round pick Lamar Jackson could cause a shakeup at some point during the season. And when it comes to much-needed offensive help, tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews could begin to provide relief. 

Third-round pick Orlando Brown Jr. begins his journey with the Ravens in a more sentimental fashion. His father, Orlando "Zeus" Brown, also played tackle for the Ravens from 1996-98 and then again from 2003-05. Brown passed away in 2011. 

Stay with NBC Sports Washington throughout the next several weeks as we keep a close eye on the Ravens' preseason. 

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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

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Early 2018 NFL playoff odds have Ravens in similar situation

There's only six months until the NFL playoffs and we've got no time to waste.

OK, maybe we're getting a little ahead of ourselves but online betting site, Oddshark, released their early 2018 NFL playoff odds and the Ravens are in a similar situation as previous years.

The Ravens are sitting at +135 — tied for 13th with the San Francisco 49ers — for the best odds to play January football. This would place them in the seventh seed among AFC teams and just outside contention.

The Patriots (-1500), Steelers (-550), Chargers (-145), Jaguars (-140), Texans (-135), and Chiefs (+120) are seeded above them respectively. 

During the 2017 season, the Ravens were constantly in the hunt for the fifth or sixth seed in the AFC playoff picture. Several weeks ahead of training camp, Vegas is predicting that to be the case in 2018.

Playoff odds in July mean nothing, but considering their offseason changes, the Ravens' 2018 season should bring positive change.

They added weapons for Joe Flacco in free agents Michael Crabtree, Willie Snead and John Brown, and drafted tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews.

Then there was the late first-round draft pick of QB Lamar Jackson. Flacco remains the starter for now, but it will be interesting to see if that changes midway through the season or if they get them both on the field at the same time.

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