For a day with very little impact on how the upcoming NFL season will play out, schedule release day generates a lot of interest in fan bases across the NFL.
It makes sense. Football runs the world, and fans are desperate for any information they can get. By mid-April, we’re all tired of hearing rumors about the top prospects to be selected in next week’s draft, and the schedule announcement allows us to imagine the possibilities coming in the fall. Every fan today projects their team to go somewhere between 9-7 and 11-5.
We’re certainly not immune to the excitement that comes with the schedule announcement, even if we already knew the matchups. Let’s take a look at four games to watch in 2019 for the Baltimore Ravens.
Week 4 at home vs. Cleveland Browns, September 29, 1:00 p.m.
The Ravens won’t have to wait long to get a chance to see the new-look Browns up close. Cleveland will come to Baltimore at the end of September, in the middle of a brutal three-game stretch for the Ravens. As the lone home game sandwiched between road trips to Arrowhead Stadium and Heinz Field, this will be a crucial matchup.
The Week 17 game last season was an epic clash between rookie quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson, and the two looked poised to battle it out for AFC North supremacy in the next decade.
Cleveland looks even better after a busy offseason capped by the acquisition of Odell Beckham, Jr. to pair with Jarvis Landry in the receiving core. Freddie Kitchens certainly has plenty of toys to play with in his offense and will provide a compelling matchup against the historically strong Ravens defense.
Whenever the Ravens got their first look against the suddenly-favored Browns, it was going to be a big deal. Coming in the first month of the season makes it all the more exciting.
Week 9 at home vs. New England Patriots, November 3, 8:20 p.m. (Sunday Night Football)
M&T Bank Stadium is going to be *rocking* for this one.
Not that anyone in Baltimore needs extra incentive to get up for a matchup with the hated Patriots, but this game has a few factors going for it.
The Ravens will be coming off a bye week, so fans will be ready to see some football again. They also have a somewhat manageable start to the season, meaning both teams should have decent records heading into this clash.
It also helps that this is the lone Sunday Night Football matchup scheduled for the Ravens in 2019. And, of course, the Patriots are yet again the defending Super Bowl champions.
This is the first time since 2013 the Ravens will get to host the most dominant team of this era, and it comes in prime time. It’s safe to say every football fan in Baltimore has this one circled on the calendar.
Week 12 on road at Los Angeles Rams November 25, 8:15 p.m. (Monday Night Football)
The other three selections on this list were obvious. The fourth could have gone to either the Chiefs in Week 3 or the Rams in Week 12. The Rams have a bit of an advantage, not only because they are coming off a Super Bowl appearance, but also because the Ravens already played the Chiefs late last season.
It also doesn’t hurt that the Rams game comes in prime time, as the Ravens’ only Monday Night Football matchup of the season.
What really swayed it to the Rams is the reunion with Eric Weddle. The safety provided great leadership both on and off the field in Baltimore, and though he will ultimately be remembered as a Charger, his impact in Baltimore was profound.
Now he’s patrolling the middle of the field in Los Angeles, and the Ravens will have to match wits with their former “coach on the field” safety.
Week 17 at home vs. Pittsburgh Steelers December 29, 1:00 p.m.
Come on, you didn’t think we were going to leave out the Ravens hosting the Steelers, did you?
For the first time in a while, neither matchup between these AFC North rivals is scheduled for prime time. It seems like an annual meeting on Sunday Night Football is a requirement for these two.
But while it’s not scheduled currently, no one would be surprised to see a close division race leading to NBC flexing this game into the final slot of the NFL’s regular season.
Even if it doesn’t happen, it’s nice to see the Ravens see their biggest rivals in the final game of the season, rather than the Bengals and Browns as has happen so often recently.
Antonio Brown may be out in Pittsburgh, but as long as Ben Roethlisberger is in town, this will make for a tough matchup, and Ravens fans will get to look forward to a 16-week build up before this slobber-knocker.
To see the Ravens' full 2019 schedule, click here.
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