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Athlon breaks down each and every team's schedule for the 2013 NFL season
The Baltimore Ravens will begin defense of their Super Bowl Championship in style this season with a huge showdown against an AFC rival. And since scheduling plays a huge role in the outcome of every NFL season, Athlon is analyzing every team's 16-game slate.
Baltimore Ravens 2013 Schedule:
Week 1: at Denver (Thurs.)
Week 2: Cleveland
Week 3: Houston
Week 4: at Buffalo
Week 5: at Miami
Week 6: Green Bay
Week 7: at Pittsburgh
Week 8: BYE
Week 9: at Cleveland
Week 10: Cincinnati
Week 11: at Chicago
Week 12: NY Jets
Week 13: Pittsburgh (Thurs.)
Week 14: Minnesota
Week 15: at Detroit (Mon.)
Week 16: New England
Week 17: at Cincinnati
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Out of the Gate The Ravens certainly won't be easing their way into their title defense. In the first three weeks, Joe Flacco will battle with Peyton Manning on Thursday night in Denver and host the Texans, two teams that won their respective divisions last season. Mix in a divisional game at home and a road trip to Buffalo and the Ravens are staring at a rough first month of the season.
Toughest Stretch: From Week 4 to Week 7, the Ravens will play three road games and host Green Bay. Trips to Pittsburgh and Miami won't be easy sandwiched around the visit from the Packers. And this comes after the daunting first three weeks of the schedule. The good news is an off weekend awaits the Super Bowl champs in Week 8.
|Swing Games:||at DEN (Week 1), HOU (Week 3)|
|Crossover Divisions:||AFC East, NFC North|
|Bye Week:||Week 8|
|Opp. 2012 W/L %:||.535 (5th)|
|Athlon's SOS Rank:||15th|
Easiest Stretch: If Baltimore can make it to the bye weekend around .500, it will have a chance to make some headway in the standings. Of the four games following the open date, only one — Cincinnati — features a predicted playoff team. The Browns and Jets are easy wins and getting the Bengals at home helps as well. Should the Ravens go into Chicago and beat a team with a new coach and question marks all over the defense, it has a good chance to go 4-0 in November before welcoming the Steelers to town on a Thursday night.
Circle The Calendar: Both Ravens-Steelers games will be epic as it has developed into one of the best NFL rivalries. So will huge AFC games with Houston (Week 3) and New England (Week 16). However, Thursday night in Denver against Manning and the Broncos in a primetime slot to start the entire 2013 NFL season has to be the premiere game on this schedule. Anything shy of last year's historic divisional overtime showdown will be a disappointment.
Divisional Notes: The divisional slate is fairly balanced and spread out through the season with the exception of back-to-back games with Cleveland (Week 9) and Cincinnati (Week 10). A trip to Pittsburgh will be not only the toughest AFC North game of the year but will also come immediately after hosting NFC power Green Bay. Getting up for both games will be tough for the Ravens. Finally, visiting the Bengals in the season finale could be epic, as a playoff berth and divisional crown could be on the line in Week 17.
Playoff Push: The good news is Minnesota and Detroit start the final month of the season for the Champs. The bad news is the Ravens will face New England at home and the Bengals on the road in the season's final two games. Baltimore likely needs to be at seven or eight wins entering December to make the playoffs with a nasty end to its season.
Fantasy Playoff Run (Weeks 14-16): Not only will Ray Rice face the eighth-, ninth- and 10th-best defenses against fantasy RBs, the matchups with Detroit and New England could result in a more pass-oriented offensive game plan for the Ravens. That could be good news for Joe Flacco and Torrey Smith owners, as all three of the Ravens’ opponents during this stretch were 21st or worse against fantasy QBs and WRs last season.
2013 Athlon Sports NFL team-by-team schedule analysis:
|AFC East||AFC North||AFC South||AFC West|
|Buffalo (6/13)||Baltimore||Houston (6/19)||Denver (6/18)|
|Miami (6/25)||Cincinnati (6/14)||Indianapolis (6/20)||Kansas City (6/24)|
|New England (6/26)||Cleveland (6/17)||Jacksonville (6/21)||Oakland (6/28)|
|NY Jets (6/27)||Pittsburgh (7/1)||Tennessee (7/3)||San Diego (7/2)|
|NFC East||NFC North||NFC South||NFC West|
|Dallas (6/18)||Chicago (6/17)||Atlanta (6/13)||Arizona|
|NY Giants (6/25)||Detroit (6/19)||Carolina (6/14)||St. Louis (6/27)|
|Philadelphia (6/26)||Green Bay (6/20)||New Orleans (6/24)||San Francisco (6/28)|
|Washington (7/3)||Minnesota (6/21)||Tampa Bay (7/2)||Seattle (7/1)|
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