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Ravens Insider: Ravens 2024 schedule: Way-too-early predictions and analysis for every game

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The NFL schedule makers did the Ravens zero favors for the 2024 season — part and parcel for a team that had the league’s best record in 2023.

Still, some oddities stand out, most notably that Baltimore will have seven Sundays off, including its Week 14 bye, and will play three games in 11 days, including on the road on Christmas for a second straight year, this time against the Houston Texans. That total lack of rhythm to a difficult slate along with several coaching and player departures will make replicating last season challenging, if not impossible.

Here’s a way-too-early prediction of how the Ravens’ season will play out.

Week 1 (Thursday, Sept. 5): at Kansas City Chiefs, 8:20 p.m., NBC

Loss: Chiefs coach Andy Reid, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and quarterback Patrick Mahomes are still kings of the hill in big games and none will be bigger during the regular season than this one, at least in terms of the national spotlight. The Ravens will run it more than six times with Derrick Henry now in the backfield, but with their losses on defense, including at defensive coordinator with Mike Macdonald now in Seattle, the Chiefs’ offense and Mahomes’ mastery of Baltimore will prove too much to overcome.

Week 2 (Sunday, Sept. 15): vs. Las Vegas Raiders, 1 p.m., CBS

Win: The Raiders’ quarterback situation — Aidan O’Connell or Gardner Minshew — is everything the Chiefs’ is not. Though Minshew gave the Ravens’ defense fits at times last season in a Week 3 win by the Colts, Baltimore has the time and resources to bounce back and win its home opener, so long as its new-look offensive line contains Maxx Crosby and newly acquired Christian Wilkins.

Week 3 (Sunday, Sept. 22): at Dallas Cowboys, 4:25 p.m., FOX

Win: Lamar Jackson vs. Dak Prescott for the first time in their careers is a dream matchup. But Baltimore’s speed on offense will be a difficult matchup for the Cowboys’ defense, even with Micah Parsons likely harassing Jackson. The Ravens win a close one.

Week 4 (Sunday, Sept. 29): vs. Buffalo Bills, 8:20 p.m., NBC

Win: The Bills’ chances looked a lot better when they still had wide receivers Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis, safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer and cornerback Tre’Davious White. They still have quarterback Josh Allen, and he’ll give Baltimore’s defense problems, but the Ravens win relatively easily under the lights of prime time.

Week 5 (Sunday, Oct. 6): at Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m., CBS

Loss: The Ravens ended the Bengals’ three-game home winning streak last season, but with a healthy Joe Burrow, receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins and the addition of running back Zack Moss, who had 122 yards against the Ravens as a member of the Colts last season, Cincinnati returns to its winning ways at Paycor Stadium.

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected second overall by the Washington Commanders during the first round of the NFL draft at Campus Martius Park and Hart Plaza on Thursday in Detroit. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Quarterback Jayden Daniels, left, whose skill set is often compared to Lamar Jackson’s, and the Commanders will visit the Ravens in Week 6. (Gregory Shamus/Getty)

Week 6 (Sunday, Oct. 13): vs. Washington Commanders, 1 p.m., CBS

Win: Rookie quarterback and No. 2 overall pick Jayden Daniels might be the next version of Jackson, but he’ll look like a rookie in this one. Baltimore wins the Battle of the Beltway comfortably.

Week 7 (Monday, Oct. 21): at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8:15 p.m., ESPN

Win: Jackson played his best in the Ravens’ biggest games last season, and under the lights against a spirited Buccaneers team that made a nice playoff run last year certainly qualifies. Tampa Bay is a young team and its prime-time showdown with the Ravens marks the first of a four-game gantlet that includes the division rival Atlanta Falcons, Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers.

Week 8 (Sunday, Oct. 27): at Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m., CBS

Loss: The Browns have one of the league’s best defenses, intimate knowledge of how to pester Jackson and a healthy Deshaun Watson at quarterback. Adding talented wide receiver Jerry Jeudy alongside Amari Cooper and tight end David Njoku only helps.

Week 9 (Sunday, Nov. 3): vs. Denver Broncos, 1 p.m., CBS

Win: Denver comes into M&T Bank Stadium riding a three-game losing streak against the Ravens, and it’ll extend to four in a row with rookie quarterback Bo Nix facing a tough defense without a lot of firepower on offense.

Week 10 (Thursday, Nov. 7): vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 8:15 p.m., Prime Video

Win: Even with a healthy Burrow, the Ravens’ defense has, for the most part, relatively contained the Bengals’ offense. Being at home on a Thursday night in front of a raucous crowd gives Baltimore the edge to salvage a season split with the team that should be its biggest threat to the division title.

Week 11 (Sunday, Nov. 17): at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m., CBS

Loss: Former Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen gets the early bragging rights as the Steelers’ defense goads Jackson into a couple of mistakes, while quarterback Justin Fields shows off some of his brilliance having supplanted Russell Wilson as the starter.

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 08: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates with his brother, and NFL head coach, John Harbaugh after defeating the Washington Huskies during the 2024 CFP National Championship game at NRG Stadium on January 08, 2024 in Houston, Texas. Michigan defeated Washington 34-13. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
John Harbaugh, right, and the Ravens will face Jim Harbaugh and the Chargers on “Monday Night Football” in November. (Gregory Shamus/Getty)

Week 12 (Monday, Nov. 25): at Los Angeles Chargers, 8:15 p.m., ESPN

Win: This one is dripping with storylines: John Harbaugh vs. younger brother Jim; Chargers running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards vs. their old team; L.A. general manager Joe Hortiz and offensive coordinator Greg Roman vs. their old bosses. In the end, Baltimore’s offense is too much for the Chargers’ defense.

Week 13 (Sunday, Dec. 1): vs. Philadelphia Eagles, 4:25 p.m., CBS

Loss: Coming off an emotional Monday night win on the West Coast, returning home to face a charged-up and talented Eagles team is less than ideal.

Week 14 (Sunday, Dec. 8): Bye week

Having the bye a week earlier would perhaps be better, but with three games in 11 days on tap, the timing should be helpful.

Week 15 (Sunday, Dec. 15): at New York Giants, 1 p.m., CBS

Win: An annoyed Ravens team coming off a loss followed by a week off is a recipe for disaster for Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.

Week 16 (Saturday, Dec. 21): vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 4:30 p.m., FOX

Win: A short week ahead of a key divisional showdown with a Christmas game looming against a potent Texans team could spell trouble. But Henry helps carry the Ravens and Jackson avenges his earlier mistakes to lead Baltimore to victory.

Week 17 (Wednesday, Dec. 25): at Houston Texans, 4:30 p.m., Netflix

Loss: Houston gave Baltimore all it could handle for the first half of last season’s divisional round playoff game. The Texans are more experienced and loaded with talent on both sides of the ball.

Week 18 (TBD)*: vs. Cleveland Browns, TBD

Win: Unlike last year’s regular-season finale against the Steelers, this one will have playoff implications for the Ravens. Needing the win, Jackson, Henry and wide receiver Zay Flowers deliver.

Prediction: 11-6. It’s enough for a playoff berth but not enough to beat out the Bengals in the AFC North.

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