The Baltimore Ravens, who have earned the playoffs the last four-consecutive seasons under head coach John Harbaugh, open the 2012 regular season with a Monday night home game on Sept. 10 against AFC North rival Cincinnati, a team that also made the postseason in 2011. Game time is 7 p.m., and this is the Ravens' first home Monday night game since Dec. 3, 2007 against the Patriots (a 27-24 loss).
Baltimore, which is already scheduled for four nationally-televised games in the regular season, will play in primetime in three of its first four games. After the opener against the Bengals, the Ravens will go to Philadelphia on Sept. 16. On the following Sunday night (Sept. 23), the Ravens host the defending AFC Champion Patriots at M&T Bank Stadium at 8:20 p.m. Four days later, on Thursday Sept. 27, the Browns come to Charm City for an 8:20 p.m. contest that will be televised by the NFL Network.
(The Ravens host the Lions on Aug. 18 in another nationally-televised game.)
Unusual in the schedule are two games against the Steelers in three weeks. Baltimore is at Pittsburgh on Nov. 18 in a Sunday-night special on NBC-TV, and these two rivals clash again at M&T Bank Stadium on Dec. 2. In between these two physical confrontations is the Ravens' lone West Coast trip – a Nov. 25 game at San Diego.
The Ravens conclude the season with four of five games against 2011 playoff teams. That includes the home contest against the Steelers, home games against the Broncos (Dec. 16) and Giants (Dec. 23) and a regular season finale at Cincinnati (Dec. 30). Baltimore plays at the Redskins on Dec. 9.
(How about the potential of facing Manning brothers, Peyton and Eli, back-to-back on Dec. 16 and 23?)
The Ravens are home just once in October (10/14) when they host the Cowboys. That follows a road game at Kansas City on Oct. 7 and precedes an Oct. 21 matchup at Houston. The team's bye weekend ends the October schedule.
Baltimore starts November with an away game at Cleveland (Nov. 4) and a home contest against the Raiders (Nov. 11).
Based on 2011 records, the Ravens face the NFL's fourth-toughest schedule (134-122, .523) and will play eight games against playoff teams from a year ago, which ties Cleveland and Philadelphia for the league's most. Baltimore and San Francisco are the only teams to play both Super Bowl participants (Giants and Patriots) from last season.
Based on today's roster and likely starters, the Ravens will face 13 teams with Pro Bowl quarterbacks (parenthesis indicates number of Pro Bowls): the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger (2) and Bengals' Andy Dalton (1), twice each, Denver's Peyton Manning (11), New England's Tom Brady (7), the Chargers' Philip Rivers (4), Philly's Michael Vick (4), Dallas' Tony Romo (3), Oakland's Carson Palmer (2), the Giants' Eli Manning (2), along with one-time Pro Bowlers Matt Cassel of the Chiefs and Houston's Matt Schaub.