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Poll: Ravens' 2013 Season-Opening Opponent?


The Ravens will officially begin the 2013 season on the road, Thursday, Sept. 5.

But their opponent has yet to be announced.

Baltimore's road games this year are in Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Miami, Buffalo, Chicago and Detroit. The games against the Steelers, Bengals, Broncos and Bears would, on the surface, appear most sexy to the league, which likes to open the season with high-profile matchups.

The Ravens have never lost a regular-season opener during the five-year Head Coach John Harbaugh era, and would obviously like to continue that trend in their first game since their Super Bowl XLVII victory.

So who do you want to see Baltimore open against?

Here's a look at each of the season-opening possibilities:

Pittsburgh SteelersThis is perhaps the greatest rivalry in the NFL, so it's an automatic hit. Baltimore has won three straight times at Heinz Field in the regular season, dating back to 2010. They split last year when quarterback Ben Roethlisberger sat out both contests due to injury. The Ravens routed Pittsburgh, 35-7, in a home season opener in 2011. Both teams have had much turnover this offseason, and doubt as to how good they'll be in 2013.

Cincinnati BengalsThe Bengals are the AFC North's up-and-comer with back-to-back playoff appearances. The Ravens blew them out, 44-13, on Monday Night Football to open last season at M&T Bank Stadium. But it's usually an intense game when these two teams meet with division implications on the line.

Cleveland BrownsA physically, hard-fought game, but the results have been one-sided with the Ravens winning 10 straight times (every meeting during the Harbaugh era). The Browns signed former Ravens pass rusher Paul Kruger this offseason adding to the storyline. Cleveland went 4-12 last year, so would appear to be one of the weaker opponents Baltimore could open with.

Denver BroncosThis matchup would be rich with storylines. First, Baltimore broke Denver's hearts and Super Bowl aspirations with the "Mile High Miracle" toss from Joe Flacco to Jacoby Jones in last year's AFC divisional playoffs. Then the Ravens beat Denver out for signing pass rusher Elvis Dumervil Sunday. Peyton Manning versus the new-look Baltimore defense would be a big talking point.

Miami DolphinsThe Dolphins have revamped through free agency and could be an exciting team in 2013. They added former Ravens linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and former Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace. Baltimore fans thought the Ravens would be able to keep Ellerbe before the Dolphins swooped in with a big offer.

Buffalo BillsThe Ravens and Bills have only faced off five times. Baltimore came from a huge deficit to win in Baltimore, 37-34, in overtime in 2010. Buffalo would be a warmer place to play in September than later in the year. The Bills were 5-11 last season and will have a new starting quarterback.

Chicago BearsThere's not much history between the Ravens and Bears, but Chicago is one of the most storied franchises. The two teams have split four regular-season meetings. The Bears just missed the playoffs last year, so it would be a meeting of some of the best from the AFC and NFC.

Detroit LionsThe Lions are coming off a disappointing season in which they mustered just four wins. Head Coach Jim Schwartz hails from Baltimore and coached for the Ravens for three seasons. Detroit's potent duo of quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson would test Baltimore's new defense.

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