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Ravens Insider: Instant analysis of the Ravens’ 2024 schedule

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Here’s what The Baltimore Sun staff had to say immediately after the Ravens’ 2024 schedule was released Wednesday night:

Brian Wacker, reporter: Remember when the Ravens won 10 of 11 games en route to a 13-4 record and the top seed in the AFC last season? They will not have a run like that with this schedule. With games at Kansas City, Dallas and Cincinnati sandwiched around home games against Las Vegas and Buffalo, it’s conceivable Baltimore could be 2-3 to start the year.

The middle of the schedule is no picnic, either, with three games against AFC North rivals in a four-week span followed by what will be a hugely hyped Monday night game in Los Angeles against the Chargers and Jim Harbaugh and a short week with the Philadelphia Eagles coming to Baltimore in Week 13. The Week 14 bye would perhaps be better served coming after the Chargers game, not after the Eagles game.

Then the Ravens have another short week, playing the Pittsburgh Steelers on a Saturday in Week 14 before getting Scrooged with another Christmas game, this time against the Texans in Houston four days later. And in perhaps the oddest quirk, the Ravens will be off for seven(!) Sundays this season, including the bye week, making the routine that coaches crave that much more difficult to maintain. Still, Baltimore has failed to qualify for the playoffs just once since Lamar Jackson took over at quarterback in 2018, and even with several coaching changes and a free agent exodus they should be in the postseason again, though it’s unlikely the road to the Super Bowl will go through M&T Bank Stadium.

Childs Walker, reporter: The schedule is undeniably important, but we won’t know the true nature of its importance for many months, so it’s best viewed through the prism of entertainment value. It’s no surprise the Ravens are involved in marquee prime time and holiday games. Lamar Jackson pretty well guarantees that. They’ll benefit from a late bye week, much as they did last year. Two four-day weeks is no favor. It’s nice that the last two AFC North games against Pittsburgh and Cleveland are at home. They’ll need to hit the ground running with the Chiefs, Cowboys, Bills and Bengals all packed in the first five weeks.

Mike Preston, columnist: The Ravens face one of the most difficult schedules in the NFL, but that’s to be expected when they had the best regular-season record a year ago. Eight opponents made the postseason in 2023, and that’s not even counting that the Ravens have to play two of those teams, Pittsburgh and Cleveland, twice. They also have to compete against two of the better divisions in the league in the AFC West and the NFC East. At least the Ravens don’t have to travel as much as last season, but they are scheduled for five prime-time games. I don’t put a lot of emphasis in schedules because injuries play a major part in every season. Sometimes teams that are expected to be good don’t play well, especially if the starting quarterback gets hurt. Overall, it’s a tough schedule, but the Ravens earned it because they technically had the best team in the NFL last season.

C.J. Doon, editor: We won’t have to wait long to see how the Ravens stack up among their fellow Super Bowl contenders. After opening the season against the defending champions in Kansas City and hosting the Las Vegas Raiders, Baltimore faces the Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals in consecutive weeks. That’s a juicy set of games to kick things off for a team with plenty of new faces both on the field and on the sideline. If the Ravens emerge from that gantlet with a 3-2 record or better, it will be easy to start envisioning another home AFC championship game at M&T Bank Stadium.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising for a team facing a first-place schedule, but there are very few “layups” on this slate. The Washington Commanders, Denver Broncos and New York Giants could be fiesty, and you know coach Jim Harbaugh and the several Ravens transplants on the Los Angeles Chargers will be fired up to beat their old teammates and colleagues in prime-time. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers nearly reached the NFC championship game last season, and presumptive Raiders starting quarterback Gardner Minshew led the Colts to a stunning win in Baltimore last September. Based on projected win totals from Vegas sportsbooks, the Ravens have the fourth-toughest schedule in the league, acccording to Sharp Football Analysis.

But if we’re playing everyone’s favorite “win-loss” schedule game four months before the regular season starts, put me down for 12-5, another AFC North title and the No. 2 seed in the conference. The five losses will come at Kansas City, at Cincinnati, at Pittsburgh, at Los Angeles and at Houston.

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