(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.