It's that time of the year when the NFL schedule comes out. Every Tom,Dick, Harry, and Dan (that's me) try to make predictions five months before the season even starts. Why do we do this? Gotta do something to kill time before the Draft, besides eight different versions of mock drafts, which become null and void after a dumb team like the Rams trades to the #1 spot (And now Eagles to #2). Alas, I'm babbling. Let's get this show on the road....
Week 1: Vs. Buffalo Bills
I had a feeling a home game against the Browns would be in Week 1, but I'm more than okay with the Bills. We've got Rex Ryan, Ed Reed, and Tyrod Taylor (maybe) returning. Should be a good game, but I like what should be an improved Ravens squad in their home opener.
Ravens 24 Bills 19
Week 2: At Cleveland Browns:
So who will be the Browns QB at this point? RG3? Goff/Wentz? Some other rookie QB to be led to the slaughter? Division games are usually pretty tough and this could be no exception, but I feel like this will be the game where the Ravens show everybody that they're back by rightfully dismantling a lesser team like the Browns. (Note: The Browns made the trade after I wrote this. Still Paxton Lynch could be their man, who knows)
Ravens 44 Browns 13
Week 3: At Jacksonville Jaguars:
Are the Jags on the rise like everyone says or will they be that team that disappoints after signing a bunch of big money free agents? I'm not really sure at this juncture, but I do know the Ravens owe the Jags a little payback after last years game which was literally stolen from them. Not only that, but the Jags still get to pick ahead of the Ravens in the draft despite having the same record. That's some bull, I know the 49'ers also had the same record making it a three way tiebreaker thing, but still, but still (again)
Ravens 23 Jaguars 16
Week 4: Vs. Oakland Raiders:
The Raiders start the season in New Orleans, go back home, then play at Tennesee in Week 3, and finally come all the way to Baltimore for the ole 1:00 EST game. Not to mention this will be another revenge game for the Ravens. Yes the Raiders are in the same mold as the Jags (young and possibly up and coming) but their early schedule is not in their favor.
Ravens 32 Raiders 17
Week 5: Vs. Washington Redskins:
Last year the Skinies went 6-2 at home and 3-5 on the road. The Skins, along with the Texans are also both the most obvious teams to miss the playoffs this year after winning horrible divisions the previous year. Skins are winning in Baltimore over my dead body. You like that?
Ravens 35 Redskins 16
Week 6: At New York Giants:
Do I really have the Ravens 5-0 here? Why yes! So the good times have to stop at some point right? I guess this is a prime spot in the ever dangerous non-conference road game.
Giants 27 Ravens 20
Week 7: At New York Jets:
When I first saw that the Ravens had to play in New Jersey two weeks in a row I figured they'd split those two. Not sure if the Jets will have Fitzy or someone else under center. Either way I'm sensing a defensive type of game here.
Ravens 20 Jets 17 (Overtime)
Week 8: Bye
The schedule makers always seem to be generous when it comes to giving the Ravens bye weeks. Right around half way through the year is where you want to be. So I have the Ravens at 6-1 here which may seem a little heavy-handed on the optimism, but I really feel this early part of the schedule sets up nice. Perhaps 5-2 or 4-3 is more realistic. However if the Ravens want to get back to the playoffs they have to get off to a fast start considering the final quarter of the schedule which we'll get to.
Week 9: Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
It's nice to get a bye week before playing the Steelers (although they're on theirs as well). The Ravens have had the Steelers number recently, which is why I'm going to give the Steelers the win in Baltimore. No worries though there's a second game later to get even (foreshadowing)
Steelers 24 Ravens 20
Week 10: Vs. Cleveland Browns (Thursday Night)
Like I say every year....For whatever reason the Browns always seem to play the Ravens tougher in Baltimore than in their own stadium. Coming off a short week against Pitt this will be the classic 'just get the hell out of there' game.
Ravens 17 Browns 10
Week 11: At Dallas Cowboys:
I have the feeling that the Cowboys bounce-back this year. I'll assume Tony Romeo (not a typo) will be healthy at this point which will be enough for the Boys to get the win.
Cowboys 31 Ravens 23
Week 12: Vs. Cincinnati Bengals:
The Bengals have had the Ravens number recently. The Bengals have won the past five meetings and even the last Ravens win over the Bengals felt like a loss (A.J. Green hailmary game). I say it's time for a change damn it! With an improved secondary the Ravens will finally prevent the bomb to A.J. Green late in the 4th quarter after getting the lead.
Ravens 31 Bengals 24
Week 13: Vs. Miami Dolphins:
So the Ravens nearly beat the Dolphins in Miami for the third year in a row with Matt Schuab and a whole slew of second and third teamers. Now they play again in Baltimore with cold weather. Ha! This will be a laugher.
Ravens 33 Dolphins 13
Week 14: At New England Patriots (Monday Night)
So this is where the schedule starts to get insanely difficult. If all goes according to my predictions, then the Ravens will be 9-3 at this juncture which would be ideal. Playing the Pats on the road and in a Monday night game doesn't seem fair, but much like the Browns play the Ravens tougher in Baltimore, the Ravens always play the Pats tougher at Gillette. They'll give them all they can handle, but come up just a little short.
Patriots 26 Ravens 24
Week 15: Vs. Philadelphia Eagles
This should be a nice bounce-back game against a team starting either Sam Bradford or Goff/Wentz (That trade just happened today, crazy).
Ravens 26 Eagles 7
Week 16: At Pittsburgh Steelers (Christmas Day)
The Steelers took the first so the Ravens will take this one. Heinz Field ain't no thing for the Ravens!
Ravens 21 Steelers 18
Week 17: At Cincinnati Bengals
A regular season-ender in Cincinnati, how original. Seriously would it kill them to have Ravens/Steelers in Week 17? Or if they keep sticking us with the Bengals maybe the game could be in Baltimore once in a while? Just a thought. Anyway, as much as I'd like a sweep against the Bengals, Paul Brown Stadium has been a house of horrors for the Ravens recently.
Bengals 28 Ravens 23
There you have it. I have the Ravens at 11-5. Perhaps a little over-optimistic? Yeah, maybe 9-7/10-6 would be more realistic, but I'm definitely a glass half full type of guy. The Ravens made some nice free agent signings and will be getting a lot of injured players back, not to mention 9 picks in this upcoming draft. I'm definitely seeing this team back in the playoffs. How far will they get? I'm not sure, but if you're in the dance you have a chance. See you next week at pick #6.