Five Things to Look For in 2021 Schedule Release

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QB Lamar Jackson

The wait is almost over. The complete 2021 Ravens schedule will be released at about 7:45 p.m., when we'll finally stop guessing and see the 17-game slate in its entirety.

Here are five things to look for as we anticipate how the Ravens' 2021 schedule will unfold:

When will the Ravens face their AFC North rivals?

It's always important to see when the Ravens will play their two games against the archrival Pittsburgh Steelers. But now the Cleveland Browns are legit Super Bowl contenders, hungry to change the power dynamic in the division. With the Ravens, Browns and Steelers all coming off playoff seasons, the AFC North looks like a three-team race that's tough to call. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals have a chance to be vastly improved and more explosive offensively after drafting LSU star wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase as another weapon for quarterback Joe Burrow. How the Ravens fair in head-to-head competition within the division will go a long way toward deciding their fate in the AFC North.

When will the Ravens host the Kansas City Chiefs?

Ravens vs. Chiefs will be one of the most-anticipated games of the NFL season, featuring former MVP quarterbacks Lamar Jackson (2019) and Patrick Mahomes (2018). The road to a Super Bowl for Baltimore could very well go through the Chiefs, who have won back-to-back AFC titles. The Ravens will have this game circled on their calendar, and no one will be more eager than Jackson, who has an 0-3 career record against Kansas City. Jackson has referred to the Chiefs as the Ravens' "kryptonite." This year, the Ravens hope to find the antidote.

When will the Ravens face their toughest stretch?

There's always one stretch of four to six games that looks like the most difficult part of the schedule. That's bound to be the case for the Ravens this season. Their opponents had a combined record of 152-118-2 in 2020. Only the Steelers, whose opponents were 155-115-2 last season, are facing a tougher schedule on paper. A three-game losing streak last season against the New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans and Steelers dropped the Ravens to 6-5 after a 6-2 start and almost ruined their season. Which portion of the schedule will look like the danger zone this season?

How many primetime games will the Ravens have?

We already know Baltimore will begin the season in primetime on ESPN's Monday Night Football in Las Vegas to face the Raiders. Last year, the Ravens tied a franchise record with five primetime games, equaling their total in 2011. Jackson is one of the game's most electrifying players, and the Ravens are a perennial playoff team. The chances of them having at least four primetime games are excellent.

Who will the Ravens face in their home opener?

There's always electricity in the air when the Ravens return to M&T Bank Stadium. But imagine the anticipation this year when fans are back in the building for the home opener, after our worlds were rocked in 2020 by the pandemic. Whoever the Ravens face in this year's home opener will be walking into an emotional setting if the stadium is at full capacity, an atmosphere that will inspire the home team. The Ravens have won five straight home openers by a combined score of 145-43.

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