Ravens Release 2008 Schedule

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*Schedule Page| Printable Schedule* I The Big Board blog

The road to the Super Bowl certainly won't be easy for new Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, as he's slated to face eight playoff opponents in his inaugural season.

But speaking at the annual Pre-Draft Media Luncheon, Harbaugh was initially indifferent at the way the schedule aligned. 

"Basically, we're going to play 16 NFL football games against 16 NFL football teams, and we're going to show up," he said.  "We're going to be there on time and be ready to play."

As he thought about it more, however, some intriguing matchups developed.

It all starts against a familiar opponent for the Ravens' players. For the second year in a row, Baltimore kicks off against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Sept. 7 meeting between these two AFC North rivals will take place at M&T Bank Stadium, unlike last year's Monday Night Football opener in Cincinnati where the Ravens fell 27-20. 

Harbaugh is eager to make his regular season debut in front of a raucous home crowd.

"You play them when the league says you play them," Harbaugh said. "It will be great to open at home. I'll be jacked up, so will the players and coaches. The M&T crowd will be with us. How good is that!"

The Ravens will have to keep that enthusiasm up through the first quarter of the schedule, as three of the first four games come against division foes. Following the Bengals contest comes a road trip to Houston on Sept. 14, and then consecutive matchups with the AFC North's Cleveland Browns (Sept. 21) and Pittsburgh Steelers (Sept. 29).

The Ravens travel to Pittsburgh for a Monday Night Football showcase on ESPN. It will be a rematch of last year's Nov. 5 game at Heinz Field, where the Steelers romped to a 38-7 win in monsoon-like conditions. The Ravens will also host the black and gold Dec. 14.

Despite finishing with a 5-11 record last year, Baltimore later appears in front of a national audience Dec. 20 in Dallas for a Saturday night contest on NFL Network.

In addition to Dallas - who won the NFC East in 2007 - and both Steelers games, the Ravens have many formidable challenges.

Playoff contenders from 2007 abound, as the Tennessee Titans (Oct. 5), Indianapolis Colts (Oct. 12) and Jacksonville Jaguars (Dec. 28) of the AFC South remain on the docket, along with the Washington Redskins (Dec. 7) and the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants (Nov. 16).

Since they finished at the bottom of their division, the Ravens also will see the rebuilding Miami Dolphins (Oct. 19) and Oakland Raiders (Oct. 26).

September may be months away, but that doesn't mean Harbaugh and the rest of the Ravens can't look in anticipation at what is to come.

"We play the NFC East and we're playing them at the end of the season. It's going to be the NFC East in cold, miserable conditions, and we wouldn't want that any other way," he said.  "We're playing the AFC South and all the speed and talent in that division. And then, we're going to play our division. We get some of those guys early, right out of the gate, which is going to be exciting.

"Those are some of the things that jump out at you right off the bat. It's going to be a tough, demanding schedule, and we're looking forward to it."

The Ravens' bye will be the weekend of Nov. 9. Flexible scheduling begins in Week 11 on Sunday, Nov. 16.

Some notes about the Ravens' 2008 opponents:

AFC NORTH OPPONENTS

Pittsburgh Steelers
2007 Record:10-6, Wild Card
Regular Season Series:Steelers lead 14-10
Last meeting:(12-30-07) Ravens 27-21 in Baltimore
Notable:The Ravens closed out the 2007 campaign with an emotional victory over the Steelers helmed by then-rookie Troy Smith.

Cincinnati Bengals
2007 Record:7-9
Regular Season Series:Ravens lead 13-11
Last meeting:(11-11-07) Bengals 21-7 in Baltimore
Notable:The Bengals' potent passing attack was built with the help of Ravens quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson, who tutored Cincinnati's wideouts from 2004-06.

Cleveland Browns2007 Record:10-6, Divisional
Regular Season Series:Ravens lead 11-7
Last meeting:(11-18-07) Browns 33-30 OT in Baltimore
Notable:Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg built elite special teams units for the Browns from 2002-06, with help from assistant Marwan Maalouf (2005-06).

HOME OPPONENTS

Washington Redskins
2007 Record:9-7, Wild Card
Regular Season Series:Ravens lead 2-1
Last meeting:(10-10-04) Ravens 17-10 in Washington
Notable:In the Battle of the Beltway, Harbaugh meets new Redskins head coach Jim Zorn as both attempt to establish their identities.

Philadelphia Eagles
2007 Record:8-8
Regular Season Series:Eagles lead 1-0-1
Last meeting:(10-31-04) Eagles 15-10 in Philadelphia
Notable:John Harbaugh takes on his mentor, Eagles head coach Andy Reid.

Jacksonville Jaguars
2007 Record:11-5, Divisional
Regular Season Series:Jaguars lead 9-6
Last meeting:(11-13-05) Jaguars 30-3 in Jacksonville
Notable:Before Jacksonville won a 2005 matchup between these two teams, the Ravens reeled off six straight victories in the series.

Tennessee Titans 2007 Record:10-6, Wild Card
Regular Season Series:Ravens lead 8-7
Last meeting:(11-12-06) Ravens 27-26 in Tennessee
Notable:Steve McNair, Samari Rolle and Derrick Mason face their former team as a trio for the second time in their Ravens tenure.

Oakland Raiders
2007 Record:4-12
Regular Season Series:Ravens lead 3-1
Last meeting:(9-17-06) Ravens 28-6 in Baltimore
Notable:After three West Coast road trips in 2007, the Ravens welcome the sight of playing their only California opponent of '08 at M&T Bank Stadium.

AWAY OPPONENTS

New York Giants2007 Record:10-6, Super Bowl Champions
Regular Season Series:Ravens lead 2-0
Last meeting:(12-12-04) Ravens 37-14 in Baltimore
Notable:The Giants won last year's Super Bowl in their first championship appearance since Baltimore defeated them 34-7 in Super Bowl XXXV.

Dallas Cowboys 2007 Record:13-3, Divisional
Regular Season Series:Ravens lead 2-0
Last meeting:(11-21-04) Ravens 30-10 in Baltimore
Notable:The Ravens are the only NFL team to have never played at Texas Stadium, which will be replaced by a new, state-of-the-art facility for the 2009 campaign.

Miami Dolphins
2007 Record:1-15
Regular Season Series:Dolphins lead 5-1
Last meeting:(12-16-07) Dolphins 22-16 OT in Miami
Notable:Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron revisits the squad where he spent 2007 as head coach.

Indianapolis Colts2007 Record:13-3, Divisional
Regular Season Series:Colts lead 5-2
Last meeting:(12-09-07) Colts 44-20 in Baltimore
Notable:This year marks the fifth consecutive campaign the Colts and Ravens have met.

Houston Texans 2007 Record:8-8
Regular Season Series:Ravens lead 2-0
Last meeting:Ravens 16-15 in Baltimore
Notable:The Texans are coming off a franchise-best 8-8 season.

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