The Baltimore Ravens have the third-best record in the NFL since 2018 — a run that coincides with star quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Jackson earned his first playoff victory in the 2020 season, but the Ravens face fierce competition in the AFC North — and conference at large — as the 2019 NFL MVP will try to lead a run to the Super Bowl.
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh enters his 14th season with those challenges, and the Ravens will face the AFC West and NFC North as part of that schedule. That should lead to another entertaining season for a team that has hit double-digit wins each of the last three years.
How does that schedule look now? Here is a complete breakdown of the Baltimore Ravens’ 2021 schedule, including dates and start times for all 17 games and our early prediction.
Baltimore Ravens schedule 2021
The Ravens will open the season at Las Vegas on Sept. 13 in a Monday Night Football matchup, at 8:15 p.m. ET. The rest of the schedule will be released at 8 p.m. ET tonight. Here are the Ravens’ opponents for the 2021 season:
- Home: Steelers, Browns, Bengals, Chiefs, Colts, Chargers, Packers, Vikings, Rams
- Away: Steelers, Browns, Bengals, Raiders, Broncos, Bears, Lions, Dolphins
Baltimore has a total of eight games against teams that reached the NFL playoffs last season, but five of those games are at M&T Bank Stadium. The Ravens are 30-7 with Jackson as the starter, and it is a break to catch the Chiefs and Packers at home instead of the road.
The Ravens will have road games against playoff teams in Pittsburgh and Cleveland — and the other game is against Chicago. Baltimore lost three road games to playoff teams last season.
Ravens strength of schedule
Baltimore’s opponents had a .563 winning percentage last season, which gives the Ravens the second-most difficult schedule by record. Divisions rival Pittsburgh is the only team with a tougher schedule by that metric in 2021.
The NFC North presents a unique challenge for Harbaugh, too. Baltimore is 6-6 against that division under Harbaugh, and that includes a 1-2 record against the Packers, Vikings and Bears. WIth the AFC North stakes raised, those games could be a turning point in the division race.
Toughest tests: The home schedule is tough. The Chiefs beat the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium last season, and the Colts and Packers present tough games at home. Baltimore’s extra game is at home, but it comes against the Rams and new quarterback Matthew Stafford. Jackson will be up against a Los Angeles defense that features Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey.
Jackson is 3-3 against AFC West opponents, and the showdown with the Chargers could be a high-scoring affair as well.
Biggest breaks: The road schedule is negotiable. Miami is the only non-divisional opponent that had a winning record at home at 5-3 in 2020. Chicago (3-5), Las Vegas (2-6), Denver (2-6) and Detroit (1-7) make up the rest of that part of the schedule, and that should help Baltimore keep pace with the other teams in the division. Baltimore also avoids Tennessee and Buffalo, AFC playoff teams from last season which beat the Ravens.
Given how tight the AFC playoff race was last season, that could be a huge difference maker — the one-game difference that comes in handy with playoff seeding.
Bottom line: Baltimore remains one of the elite teams in the AFC, but the divisional battles will be even more important this season.
Jackson is 8-1 as a starter against Cleveland and Cincinnati, and the quarterback battles with Baker Mayfield and Joe Burrow are only going to increase in intensity with each season.
The rivalry with Pittsburgh continues, and Jackson has split his starts against the Steelers. Those are the big-ticket games that typically define who wins the division, so the key will be getting to December with the playoff lead.
That is where Baltimore has been at its best since Jackson’s arrival. The Ravens are 12-1 in December the last three seasons, and that included a run to the playoffs last season after Jackson returned from COVID-19. Expect another playoff run, but the division could come down to a tie-breaker.
Record prediction: 11-6
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