Perfectly balanced: Baltimore Ravens' schedule is fair and rare

Lamar Jackson first season opener as a starting quarterback comes at Miami on Sept. 8. Rob Carr/Getty Images

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The NFL has released its 2019 regular-season schedule. Here's a look at what's in store for the Baltimore Ravens.

Game-by-game predictions

Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley is predicting a 9-7 finish:

Sept. 8: at Miami, Win

Sept. 15: vs. Arizona, Win

Sept. 22: at Kansas City, Loss

Sept. 29: vs. Cleveland, Win

Oct. 6: at Pittsburgh, Loss

Oct. 13: vs. Cincinnati, Win

Oct. 20: at Seattle, Loss

Nov. 3: vs. New England, Loss

Nov. 10: at Cincinnati, Win

Nov. 17: vs. Houston, Loss

Nov. 25: at LA Rams, Loss

Dec. 1: vs. San Francisco, Win

Dec. 8: at Buffalo, Win

Dec. 12: vs. New York Jets, Win

Dec. 22: at Cleveland, Loss

Dec. 29: vs. Pittsburgh, Win

Strength of schedule: .496 (T-14th)


The Ravens become the fourth team since the NFL switched to a 16-game schedule in 1978 to receive a perfectly balanced schedule, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Over the past 41 years, the only other teams to alternate home and away every game of the season were the 1985 Atlanta Falcons (finished 4-12), the 1991 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-13) and the 2012 Falcons (13-3). Baltimore is slated for three prime-time games (the same number as last season): Sunday night at home against the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots (Nov. 3), Monday night at the Super Bowl runners-up Los Angeles Rams (Nov. 25) and Thursday night at home against the New York Jets (Dec. 12). This marks the Ravens' first home Sunday night game since their 2012 Super Bowl season.

Notable homecomings

Lamar Jackson's first season opener as a starting quarterback comes at Miami, which is just an hour drive from where he played high school football in Boynton Beach, Florida. The Ravens will also have reunions with three starters from last year's top-ranked defense, facing Terrell Suggs and the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2, Eric Weddle and the Rams in 12, and C.J. Mosley and the New York Jets in Week 15. New Baltimore safety Earl Thomas returns to Seattle to meet his former team in Week 7.

Midseason test

The Ravens face one postseason team from last year in the first six games. The schedule becomes much more challenging after that. Baltimore's toughest stretch comes in the middle of the season. Starting Week 7, the Ravens play four 2018 playoff teams in a five-game span: at Seattle, home against New England and Houston and at the Rams. This span features four starting quarterbacks -- Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, Deshaun Watson and Jared Goff -- who have combined for 23 Pro Bowls.

Schedule twist with Steelers

The Ravens are not scheduled to face their archrivals in prime time for the first time since 2006. If neither game against the Steelers is flexed, it would end a 12-year streak in which Baltimore battled Pittsburgh in front of a national audience. The Ravens also meet the Steelers at an unusual time on the schedule. Baltimore will play Pittsburgh in the regular-season finale for the first time since 2007, when the Ravens beat the Steelers, 27-21, in Brian Billick's final game as the Baltimore head coach.