Instant Analysis of the Ravens' 2014 SchedulePosted on April 28, 2014 by Phil Gentile
Week 1: vs. Cincinnati, Sun., Sept. 7, 1 p.m.
I still have a bad taste in my mouth from last year's season finale. Andy Dalton managed to throw four interceptions and the Ravens still lost by 17 points. This game will get the season started in high gear. I think the Ravens matchup well with the Bengals but I'm still glad this game is at home. It will be interesting how the offense performs with Jay Gruden out of the picture.
Week 2: vs. Pittsburgh, Thurs., Sept. 11, 8:25 p.m.
The first of the Ravens three primetime games. For some reason the Steelers don't scare me as much as they used to. Big Ben is a year older and his offensive weapons aren't very imposing. The addition of Blount to the backfield is a classic Steelers move that will probably pay off but their defense has definitely taken a step back. Still the Steelers/Ravens matchups over the years are always close so 2014 should be no different.
Week 3: at Cleveland, Sunday, Sept. 21 , 1 p.m
This Browns team is better than you think folks. They will really scare me if they add Johnny Manziel in next month's NFL Draft. Adding him to an offense of Ben Tate, Josh Gordon, and Jordan Cameron would be frightening to their AFC North counterparts. They will still probably screw up though because let's face it......they're the Cleveland Browns.
Week 4: vs. Carolina, Sunday, Sep 28 1 p.m.
Steve Smith scanned the Ravens schedule for this date and you just know he's going to put up some sick numbers against his former team. If you look at the Panthers roster right now it's hard to believe they the NFC South last year. It's basically Cam Newton vs. the world and I think the Ravens should be able to beat them handily at home. Watch out for defensive end Greg
Week 5: at Colts, Sunday, Oct. 5, 1:00 p.m.
The organization that stabbed Baltimore in the back hosts the Ravens in Indy and it should be a great matchup. While Luck is a great quarterback I'm relived we don't have to face Peyton Manning this season. The Colts added Hakeem Nicks on offense and former Ravens defensive end Arthur Jones on defense but the big storyline here is former Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano facing his former team.
Week 6: at Buccaneers, Sun., Oct. 12, 1:00 p.m.
The Bucs are a weird team to dissect. They have talent at nearly every position.....except quarterback. They brought in Josh McCown after a great year in Chicago but there is no telling how he will perform without Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey catching the ball. This is probably the toughest secondary Joe Flacco will face this season. They added cornerback Alterraun Verner to replace an aging Darrelle Revis. The Ravens struggled on the road in 2013 against inferior competition and this could be another one of those games.
Week 7: vs. Atlanta, Sun., Oct. 19, 1:00 p.m.
This game will be labeled Matt Ryan vs. Joe Flacco obviously but the matchup I'm most excited about is Lardarius Webb and Jimmy Smith vs. Roddy White and Julio Jones. It will be interesting to see what they add in the draft, especially since there are rumors that the Falcons are interested in trading up in the 1st round to get South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney.
Week 8: at Cincinnati, Sun., Oct. 26, 1:00 p.m.
In the follow up to their Week 1 matchup, I expect these teams to split the season series so this game in Cincy could be the game the Ravens lose. Unless the Bengals upgrade their secondary in the draft I see Joe Flacco putting up big numbers in both of the team's games against the Bengals.
Week 9: at Pittsburgh, Sun., Nov. 2, 8:30 p.m.
This is the final matchup of a four game stretch that I see as the hardest on the Ravens 2014 schedule. Back-to-back road games against division rivals is tough, especially since Baltimore will be looking forward to that bye week in Week 11.
Week 10: vs. Tennessee, Sun., Nov. 9, 1:00 p.m.
Is Jake Locker the answer for the Titans? After three injury plagued seasons the team still doesn't know. With Kenny Britt and Chris Johnson departing in the offseason the Titans offense is hardly intimidating. In a flashback game to a classic Ravens rivalry, I don't see Suggs and company having trouble with the Titans one bit.
Week 11: Bye
Week 12: at New Orleans, Mon., Nov. 24th, 8:30 p.m.
Playing in the Superdome in primetime is tough but luckily the Ravens have a full two weeks to prepare. Drew Brees and the Saints offense is the toughest the Ravens this season and their defense seems to rise to the occasion in big games so this game could be a shootout. Stopping tight end Jimmy Graham will be the biggest priority for the Ravens.
Week 13: vs. San Diego, Sun., Nov. 30, 1:00 p.m.
Is it me or do the Ravens play the Chargers EVERY season? This game takes on new meaning with the resurgence of Philip Rivers last season. Jarret Johnson returns to Baltimore on a Chargers defense that finished 2013 ranked 23rd in total defense. Keenan Allen had a breakout rookie season and will be a handful for whichever
Week 14: at Miami, Sun., Dec. 7, 1:00 p.m.
Anyone ready for a roadtrip? Yours truly will hopefully be headed down to South Beach for this game and I think it will be a good test for the Ravens, who barely beat the Dolphins last season after a game-winning Justin Tucker field goal. Ryan Tannehill needs to prove this season that he is talented enough to be the future of the Dolphins organization at the quarterback position.
Week 15: vs. Jacksonville, Sun., Dec. 14, 1:00 p.m.
There is a good chance the Jaguars will select a quarterback in the 1st round of May's NFL Draft and if that indeed happens they are more than likely due for another rebuilding year in Jacksonville. Good news for the Ravens who, unlike the Jags, will likely still be competing for a playoff spot at this point of the season.
Week 16: at Houston, Sun., Dec. 21, 1:00 p.m.
Two years ago the Texans were legit Super Bowl contenders. In 2013, they finished with the worst record in the NFL and the 1st pick in the draft. If they take Blake Bortles or a guy like Jimmy Garoppolo in the 2nd round this game takes a totally different spin than if they select South Carolina standout Jadeveon Clowney. A combo of J.J. Watt and Clowney would be scary against a Ravens offensive line that was pathetic last season.
Week 17: vs. Cleveland, Sun., Dec. 28, 1:00 p.m.
The NFL gods smiled down on the Ravens with a season finale against the AFC North cellar dwellers. By this point in the season the Browns will be mentally and physically checked out and the Ravens should be either A, resting their stars because they clinched a playoff spot or B. motivated for a win to get a playoff berth. Either way I would bet all my money on the Ravens winning this game by two touchdowns.