Ravens Prime-Time Ready for 2010

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Following two-consecutive playoff berths, the Ravens received marquee status from the NFL schedule-makers, as Baltimore will be featured in four prime-time contests in 2010.

And, a season-opener against the New York Jets on Monday, September 13 (7 p.m.) will surely get things started with a bang.

That night, the Ravens will face their former defensive coordinator in Rex Ryan at the brand-new Meadowlands Stadium.

It will be a fitting way to kick off what could be a rough road to another postseason run.

After the Jets game, the Ravens see three divisional foes.

On Sept. 19 (1 p.m.), Baltimore travels to Cincinnati to meet the Bengals, who won the AFC North with a perfect 6-0 division record last year, marking the first time in Ravens history the team has opened away from home two straight times.

The M&T Bank Stadium opener falls on Sept. 26 against the Cleveland Browns, and then the Ravens face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Oct. 3 (1 p.m.) at Heinz Field.

"It's a challenging schedule, and with the number of primetime games, it's flattering," said team President Dick Cass in a statement. "We've made the playoffs two years in a row – and three of the last four seasons – and it's evident that the NFL believes we will be highly competitive again."

That grueling four-game opening span could be affected greatly by the league, however.

Freshly-minted Jets wideout Santonio Holmes, who has seen great success in the past versus the Ravens as a Steeler, will not play in the season-opener against the Ravens because he was recently suspended four games for violating the NFL substance abuse policy. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will suit up in Week 4 against Baltimore as he is expected to receive some form of suspension for breaking the league's personal conduct policy, according to multiple reports.

The Ravens' other three night games come against the Atlanta Falcons (Nov. 11, 8:20 p.m., Georgia Dome), Steelers (Dec. 5, 8:20 p.m., M&T Bank Stadium) and Houston Texans (Dec. 13, 8:30 p.m., Reliant Stadium).

Baltimore's bye is slated for Week 8 on Oct. 31, one week before the Ravens host the Miami Dolphins (Nov. 7, 1 p.m.).

The Atlanta showcase is followed by two NFC South opponents, at the Carolina Panthers (Nov. 21, 1 p.m.) and home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Nov. 28, 1 p.m.).

The Ravens then close the season hosting the defending Super Bowl-champion New Orleans Saints (Dec. 19, 1 p.m.) off a short week due to the Houston Monday night game. Then, it is Cleveland at Cleveland Browns Stadium (Dec. 26, 1 p.m.) and the Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium (Jan. 2, 2011, 1 p.m.).

"We're excited about the 2010 season," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "We knew who we were playing, and now we know when we'll be playing them. We're not a team that focuses on any game except the next one. We now have targets for the preseason and the regular season."

In all, the Ravens are facing a list of 2010 opponents who own a .508 winning percentage, giving Baltimore the 12th-toughest schedule based on 2009 records. Five games – including two versus Cincinnati – are against playoff teams, while 11 of their 16 contests come against clubs that were .500 or better.

Here is a look at the entire 2010 schedule with commentary:

*Mon., Sept. 13 - at New York Jets: *The Jets have made a few big additions this offseason even without Holmes in the lineup with LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Cromartie. It's the first regular-season matchup between Rex, Bart Scott and Co. and their former team.

Sun., Sept. 19 - at Cincinnati Bengals:The Bengals went to a power running attack last year and swept the division.  They gashed the Ravens for over 140 yards in each of last year's meetings.

Sun., Sept. 26 - CLEVELAND BROWNS:Under Mike Holmgren, the Browns are rebuilding, but will Jake Delhomme, coming off a year when he threw 18 interceptions in 11 games, be under center? The unproven Seneca Wallace? Or a draft pick?

Sun., Oct. 3 - at Pittsburgh Steelers:All eyes will be on whether Roethlisberger can play or not.  Steelers/Ravens is always a classic, regardless.

Sun., Oct. 10 - DENVER BRONCOS:In 2009, the Ravens beat the previously 6-0 Broncos in Week 8 to initiate a skid out of playoff contention for Denver.

Sun., Oct. 17 - at New England Patriots:New England is 5-0 against the Ravens during the regular season, but Baltimore owns last year's impressive playoff win at Gillette Stadium.

Sun., Oct. 24 - BUFFALO BILLS:New Bills coach Chan Gailey is attempting to change the culture in Buffalo and made a key signing in former Ravens defensive tackle Dwan Edwards this offseason.
Sun., Oct. 31- BYE

Sun., Nov. 7 - MIAMI DOLPHINS:The addition of receiver Brandon Marshall was a huge upgrade to the Dolphins' receiving corps – and to an already potent rushing attack.

Thurs., Nov. 11 - at Atlanta Falcons:Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and his Falcons counterpart, Matt Ryan, will always be linked, as they both entered the league in 2008 as first-round draft picks.

Sun., Nov. 21 - at Carolina Panthers:Carolina struggled last season, but won their last three at home in 2009.

Sun., Nov. 28 - TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS:The Buccaneers possess 12 draft picks this year, tying them with the Patriots for the league's most.  This could be a different team in 2010.

Sun., Dec. 5 - PITTSBURGH STEELERS:Will the Steelers be playing for a share of the AFC North at this point?  Another December slug-fest on the horizon?

Mon., Dec. 13 - at Houston Texans: Houston possessed the NFL's most-potent passing offense last season on the arm of Matt Schaub and Pro Bowl wideout Andre Johnson.
Sun., Dec. 19 - NEW ORLEANS SAINTS:The Saints' high-powered offense is tough to stop. 

Sun., Dec. 26 - at Cleveland Browns:Cleveland protects its turf well, but the last time Baltimore was there, the Ravens posted a 16-0 shutout.

Sun., Jan. 2 - CINCINNATI BENGALS:In early January, Charm City weather could be a factor in limiting Carson Palmer's arm, but the Bengals could counter with their ground game.

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