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What else to look forward to from Ravens schedule release

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By: Joshua Reed

Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

With Week 1 already revealed, here are some more interesting aspects of the 2024 slate to expect.

The Baltimore Ravens found out who their first opponent of the 2024 season will be on Monday when the league announced they will face off with the two-time defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in the opener. It will take place on Thursday, Sept. 5 on GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium with a kickoff time of 8:20 p.m. EST.

While it is nice that the Ravens and their fans got a jump start on setting their calendars a few days early, the rest of the 2024 schedule will be revealed on Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST. Here are some more aspects of this year’s slate of games to look forward to once it drops.

Number of primetime games

The Ravens already know their first game under a national spotlight will be in Week 1 but given all the success they had last year and are expected to have this year, they will likely be under the lights plenty more times. The maximum times a team can be initially scheduled to play in primetime is five and along with the Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys, the Ravens should be favored to get the max.

Last year they only had four in the regular season and had to wait until a Week 11 Thursday Night Football divisional matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals for their first. With eight 2023 playoff teams on their schedule, they will have plenty of primetime options to initially be scheduled or flexed into if one of the teams falters down the stretch and projects to be a less-captivating matchup.

Placement of bye week

This is the number one aspect of the schedule that players, coaches and recovery staff look for when the schedule is released every year because more important than knowing when they get a break is the part of the season it will take place. The earlier the bye week, the greater the chance a team could peak sooner and/or grow fatigued down the stretch because they have to potentially play 10-plus games heading into the playoffs with no reprieve.

Last year the Ravens opted to have a later bye week instead of right after their Week 6 matchup with the Tennessee Titans over in London. It came in Week 13 instead and turned out to be a smart choice as it gave them some much-needed and well-deserved rest before they went on the most dominant stretch of the season in which they beat a trio of teams who led their respective divisions at the time and they also came out on top of an epic overtime game over the Los Angeles Rams in their first game back in action.

Strength of schedule specifics

The Ravens have known who their 2024 opponents will be for several months but they will soon know when all of their projected toughest matchups based on 2023 opponent records will be come Wednesday. How the league stacks the schedule could play a major role in how the team has to prepare themselves for what could be the most challenging stretch of the upcoming season.

Finding out when division games are is the next biggest aspect of the schedule teams look for when it is released. Three teams from the AFC North made the playoffs last season and knowing when their 2024 matchups take place and if they are clustered together in the first or second half of the season shows which stretch could be the most vital in deciding who ultimately wins the race for the division crown.

Most compelling matchups

The Ravens have the second-toughest strength of schedule with a combined win percentage of .536 given their 2024 opponents had a combined record of 155-134 in 2023. The only team who has to play a slate of foes with a higher win percentage is the Cleveland Browns with .547 last season. Including division double-ups, they will play 10 games against 2023 playoff teams but the list of the most compelling yet to be revealed includes matchups with a pair of teams who didn’t even make the postseason last year.

  • Los Angeles Chargers: The last time Ravens head coach John Harbaugh faced off with his younger brother Jim on opposing sidelines was in Super Bowl 47 over a decade ago. Now their respective teams are slated to faceoff sometime this year for the Ravens’ furthest road trip of the 2024 season. The Chargers rebuilt their roster, coaching staff and front office with several former Ravens players, assistant coaches and executives so it will be a reunion in more ways than one when these two teams square off for what could be an early season primetime game or even one of the Holiday games.
  • Cincinnati Bengals: After finishing in last place in the division in 2023 and with a, hopefully, healthy Joe Burrow, the Bengals will certainly try to reassert themselves as one of the top contenders in both the AFC North and the conference as a whole in 2024. Meanwhile, the Ravens will be looking to repeat as champions and remind their rivals who they are every time they meet.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers: The Ravens have lost a whopping seven of their last eight matchups between the two teams dating back to the 2020 season, including getting swept in three of the last four years. Turning the tide in this rivalry will be one of their utmost top priorities in 2024.
  • Cleveland Browns: The 2023 AFC North runner-ups were the last team in the regular season to beat the full-strength Ravens and will be looking to prove they are here to stay as contenders moving forward. Divisional matchups are almost always must-see TV but especially in the North when records tend to go out the window.
  • Buffalo Bills: This will be a matchup between the reigning AFC and East champions headlined by two of the best quarterbacks in the league with Josh Allen, who has yet to win a league MVP honor but is still often more highly touted than Lamar Jackson. This will be a strong candidate to be a primetime game.
  • Houston Texans: The reigning AFC South champions will be a lot of pundits’ non-Chiefs trendy pick to represent the conference in the Super Bowl this year. Who can really blame them given the surprisingly excellent season they had in 2023 highlighted by the emergence of their young franchise quarterback and the improvements to the roster they made this offseason. However, the Ravens were the only team to beat them twice last year and both times came via double-digit margins. Round three should be fun to watch and will be another 2023 playoff rematch.
  • Dallas Cowboys: This will certainly be a leader in the clubhouse for primetime consideration given how the Cowboys almost always are given the maximum allotment and the fact that these two teams only play each other every four years.
  • Philadelphia Eagles: This could be a potential Super Bowl preview if the Eagles bounce back in the way many pundits expect them to after being a lackluster playoff team in 2023 and loading-up on talent to rebuild their offensive and defensive backfields this offseson.

Road trips and homestands

Having to spend an extended period on the road can be tough on a team, while also bringing them closer together, but is ultimately a difficult hurdle to clear. On the other side, getting to spend an extended period on their home turf almost always creates an advantage for the team that gets it. Last season the Ravens only had to endure two instances in which they had to play consecutive games away from M&T Bank Stadium and went 2-1 in the first and 2-0 in the second. Knowing if they have to gear up for multiple road trips or welcome multiple homestands will be another key aspect of the schedule release worth watching out for.

Originally posted on Baltimore Beatdown – All Posts