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Dime Coverage: Ravens 2012 Schedule

Lots of playoff teams on the schedule this year

After several months it’s time to bring the coverage unit out once again.

An army of one, I attempt to make sense of the Ravens 2012 schedule and shed some light on the challenges that lay ahead for Baltimore in making it to their fifth consecutive playoff appearance.

Does the streak come to a halt in 2012? Let’s take a closer look.

  • At first glance this is just a brutal schedule. Of the sixteen regular season games – eight (that’s HALF) are against teams that made the playoffs last season.  Using winning percentages from 2011 that gives Baltimore the 4th toughest schedule in the NFL.
  • Finally, a home game on Monday Night Football! Their most recent one before this was on Dec. 3, 2007, against New England. So yeah it’s been long overdue for a team who’s been an annual playoff contender. Still trying to figure out how Jacksonville got two home MNF games in 2011.
  • Not only do the Ravens get their MNF Home game they open the season against divisional foe Cincinnati. Should be an exciting game as the Bengals surprised everyone with a trip to the playoffs last year.
  • Two games in three weeks against the Steelers? Are you serious? This is where I really get confused. One of the NFL’s strongest rivalries gets put on the shelf until Week Eleven? I just don’t get why you simply don’t split the divisional meetings more evenly. I can see making at least one towards the end of the season to create some real drama in the division races. But, we all know how much goes into a Ravens-Steelers game. The Ravens often don’t fare well the following week and both games in 2012 are road games. One against the Chargers who carved up the Baltimore defense last year and the Redskins.
  • Three of their first four games are at M&T Bank Stadium, where they didn’t lose a game last year. That I like a lot and it gives them a chance to start strong.
  • Three of their last five also are at home. I could not think of a more perfect setting for a strong push to the post-season than in front of 70,000 fans chanting – “Seven Nation Army”.
  • That means the Ravens really pay in the middle of the season where they only play TWO home games in October and November.
  • The Bye week looks very nice at WEEK EIGHT. It’s almost exactly halfway through the season and right in the middle of their tough mid-season stretch of five out of seven games on the road.
  • Plenty of Prime-time exposure this year. Baltimore’s team is on Sunday night football twice, Monday night football once and Thursday night football once in 2012.
  • There are at least two tough turnarounds here – one is after the AFC Title game rematch against the Patriots they play four days later against the Browns. At least it’s at home. The second is the Steeler sandwich with the Chargers in the middle.

Of course this is how the schedule stacks up on paper or in most cases a computer screen. A lot can change over the course of the many months left before we open a new season.


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