Five thoughts on Ravens 2018 regular season schedule

On Thursday night the NFL announced the 2018 regular season schedule. As usual the announcement did not go over well with many fans. Thursday night football continues to drive most of the debates but other issues and conflicts, such as the London and Thanksgiving games, will surely get their share of complaints.

In case you missed it here is the Ravens full 2018 schedule.

Preseason:

Thursday, August 2, 8:00 pm – Chicago Bears (HOF game in Canton Ohio)

Thursday, August 9, 7:30 pm – LA Rams

Monday, August 20, 8:00 pm – at Indianapolis Colts

Saturday, August 25, 7:00 pm – at Miami Dolphins

Thursday, August 30, 7:30 pm – Washington Redskins

Regular Season:

Week 1 – Sunday, September 9, 1:00 pm – Buffalo Bills

Week 2 – Thursday, September 13, 8:20 pm – at Cincinnati Bengals

Week 3 – Sunday, September 23, 1:00 pm – Denver Broncos

Week 4 – Sunday, September 30, 8:20 pm – at Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 5 – Sunday, October 7, 1:00 pm – at Cleveland Browns

Week 6 – Sunday, October 14, 1:00 pm – at Tennessee Titans

Week 7 – Sunday, October 21, 4:05 pm – New Orleans Saints

Week 8 – Sunday, October 28, 1:00 pm – at Carolina Panthers

Week 9 – Sunday, November 4, 1:00 pm – Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 10 – Bye

Week 11 – Sunday, November 18, 1:00 pm – Cincinnati Bengals

Week 12 – Sunday, November 25, 1:00 pm – Oakland Raiders

Week 13 – Sunday, December 2, 1:00 pm – at Atlanta Falcons

Week 14 – Sunday, December 9, 1:00 pm – at Kansas City

Week 15 – Sunday, December 16, 1:00 pm – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 16 – Sunday, December 23, 4:05 pm – at LA Chargers

Week 17 – Sunday, December 30, 1:00 pm – Cleveland Browns

Five Thoughts:

  1. Extra preseason game

This summer the NFL Hall of fame will welcome one of the most star-studded classes ever. Headlining the group will be former Ravens and Bears legends, Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher. So it’s only fitting that these two teams square off in the annual Hall of fame game to be played in Canton Ohio.

This extra preseason game presents a handful of challenges and benefits for the Ravens. On the plus side, John Harbaugh and his coaching staff will get and extra week to evaluate the players fighting for a roster spot. On that same token, the players the preseason with a lot to prove will have an extra opportunity to do so in a nationally televised preseason game.

The bad part of playing a fifth preseason game is the risk of injury and fatigue. We know that essential, franchise players like Joe Flacco and Terrell Suggs will not be suiting up more than they have to this preseason, but the risk of injury should definitely be a concern. This is especially for a Ravens team that has experienced more than their fair share of training camp / preseason injuries in the past few years.

2. Three game road trip

One of the biggest complaints from fans every year usually surrounds a team being scheduled with three road games in a row. This year the scheduling committee made an effort to decrease this issue but the Ravens still ended up being one of the three teams with a three game road trip. Their three game stretch includes back-to-back divisional opponents (Browns & Steelers) as well as a meeting with the Titans.

3. A change of pace

At the very least Ravens fans can be happy with the fact that the 2018 schedule looks very different than the ones they have seen in recent history. For just the second time in the last eight seasons, the Ravens will not play the Cincinnati Bengals in week 17. The NFL seems to like having divisional matchups at the end of the season so the Ravens will host the Cleveland Browns instead. The cynic in me says that the Browns will be a more dangerous late season opponent than the Bengals this year but a change of pace is certainly nice.

4. Lack of prime time games

Baltimore is slated for just two prime time games in 2018 but both will be on the road. In week 2 the Ravens will have a quick turnaround as they prepare to take on the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday night football. At least the NFL did away with the color rush jerseys that were associated with Thursday’s. Two weeks later the team will be off to Pittsburgh for yet another Sunday night game against the Steelers at Heinz Field. The Ravens haven’t performed well in recent seasons, making them a less attractive team for national television, but this is just the second time since 2006 that there wont be a prime time game played in Baltimore.

5. Bye week placement

The Ravens 2018 schedule does not look very good on paper but at least they did not draw a short stick with their bye week. Unlike last year, the first half of the Ravens season appears to be tougher than the back end. This could pay off really well for Baltimore if they take care of business early on. Nine of the Ravens games in 2018 will be played against teams that made the playoffs last season but only two of them (Kansas City & Atlanta) appears after the week 10 bye.

Image credit: sportingnews.com

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