Ravens schedule analysis

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Breakdown: Coming off a surprising run to the AFC title game, the Baltimore Ravens will have an easier schedule in 2009, opening with a home game against quarterback Matt Cassel and the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Ravens' strength of schedule is a meager 28th in the NFL. Three opponents in the first five weeks are teams from 2008 with double-digit losses -- Kansas City, the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals. So there is a good opportunity for a fast start.

The longest stretch on the road for Baltimore is two games. The Ravens will play at Cleveland and at Cincinnati, Nov. 8 and 16, and also on the road against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Oakland Raiders, Dec. 27 and Jan. 3.

Complaint department: The Ravens are usually snubbed on scheduling issues, but there is not much to complain about this year. Baltimore got its bye at a good time this year -- in Week 7 -- so the Ravens came out of this relatively unscathed.

Wish granted: The Ravens will have a 1 p.m. game against the Steelers at Heinz Field on Dec. 27. Last month, Baltimore caused a stir by asking the league not to play the Steelers in Week 1 in prime time. The Ravens also will play host to the Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium during a Sunday night game Nov. 29. So the Ravens got just what they wanted this year.

Ravens Regular-season Schedule (All times Eastern)

Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 13, KANSAS CITY CHIEFS, 1 p.m.
Week 2: Sunday, Sept. 20, at San Diego Chargers, 4:15 p.m.
Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 27, CLEVELAND BROWNS, 1 p.m.
Week 4: Sunday, Oct. 4, at New England Patriots, 1 p.m.
Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 11, CINCINNATI BENGALS, 1 p.m.
Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 18, at Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m.
Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 25, BYE
Week 8: Sunday, Nov. 1, DENVER BRONCOS, 1 p.m.
Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 8, at Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m.
Week 10: Monday, Nov. 16, at Cleveland Browns, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 22, INDIANAPOLIS COLTS, 1 p.m.
Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 29, PITTSBURGH STEELERS, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Week 13: Monday, Dec. 7, at Green Bay Packers, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 13, DETROIT LIONS, 1 p.m.
Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 20, CHICAGO BEARS, 1 p.m.
Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 27, at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m.
Week 17: Sunday, Jan. 3, at Oakland Raiders, 4:15 p.m.