The Baltimore Ravens can now focus on getting back to winning ways as the schedule for the 2016 season has been announced.
Coming off a 5-11 season, John Harbaugh’s side now only find themselves with two primetime games, against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Fottball in Week 10 and against the New England Patriots in Week 14 on Monday Night Football, compared to the five they had last season.
However, they have a good chance to make it into the postseason this year after the level of difficulty has drastically changed from last season's schedule.
The Ravens signed safety Eric Weddle, wide-receiver Mike Wallace and tight-end Benjamin Watson in the close season to boost a battered and bruised squad that was hit hard by injuries last season.
They will begin the season with another clash against Rex Ryan, this time he will bring his Buffalo Bills side to M&T Bank Stadium.
Steelers Clash On Christmas Day
For the first time since 2005, the Ravens will play on Christmas Day, against their bitter rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, at Heinz Field, which is sure to be packed to the rafters.
Baltimore played three sides that went on to reach the postseason in their first four games last season, and compared to the opening seven games this season, the Ravens may well get off to a great start.
They will face just one playoff side in their first seven games, the Washington Redskins, and those opponents have a combined record of 48-64 last season.
Five Divisional Games Later in Season
Baltimore’s bye week slots into Week 8 this season and after that they face off against the Steelers at M&T Bank, before they play the Browns at home on Thursday Night Football.
Five of the six AFC North games are in the second part to the Ravens’ season, meaning, it will give players, who go into the season after a long stretch out, the chance to bounce back stronger.
Quarterback Joe Flacco, wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. and linebacker Terrell Suggs had their 2015 season ended early, but if the Ravens are to succeed this season, this trio will need to play a big part.
Harbaugh’s side conclude the schedule with tough divisional games against the Pittsburgh and the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 16 and 17 respectively.
It has become sort of a ritual to conclude the season in Bengal country, with five of their last six season ending games being at the Paul Brown Stadium.
Pre-Season Schedule Set In Stone
It doesn’t get much tougher in pre-season, but at the end of the day, the four games leading up to the season is all about match fitness and becoming a solid unit.
Week 1 – Sunday, 11 September, vs. Bills
Week 2 – Sunday, 18 September, at Browns
Week 3 – Sunday, 25 September, at Jaguars
Week 4 – Sunday, 2 October, vs. Raiders
Week 5 – Sunday, 9 October, vs. Redskins
Week 6 – Sunday, 16 October, at Giants
Week 7 – Sunday, 23 October, at Jets
Week 8 – BYE WEEK
Week 9 – Sunday, 6 November, vs. Steelers
Week 10 – Thursday, 10 November, vs. Browns
Week 11 – Sunday, 20 November, at Cowboys
Week 12 – Sunday, 27 November, vs. Bengals
Week 13 – Sunday, 4 December, vs. Dolphins
Week 14 – Monday, 12 December, at Patriots
Week 15 – Sunday, 18 December, vs. Eagles
Week 16 – Sunday, 25 December, at Steelers
Week 17 – Sunday, 1 January, at Bengals