For the first time in franchise history, the Baltimore Ravens are scheduled to meet AFC North rival Pittsburgh in primetime for both regular-season meetings.
After opening the season at M&T Bank Stadium against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept 7., the Ravens will welcome the Steelers to Baltimore four days later in their lone Thursday night game of the season. Baltimore is then slated to travel to Pittsburgh for a Sunday night game on Nov. 2, which would mark the third time in four years that the division rivals have played at Heinz Field on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.
The Ravens’ third primetime appearance will fall on Nov. 24 when they travel to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to take on the New Orleans Saints, which will be Baltimore’s lone Monday night game of the 2014 season.
Other highlights of the 2014 schedule include a Sept. 28 meeting with the Carolina Panthers in which new wide receiver Steve Smtih will welcome his former team to Baltimore. New offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak and the Ravens travel to Houston to take on the Texans on Dec. 21.
Their Week 11 bye is the latest the Ravens have had in the regular season since 2001, which will likely please head coach John Harbaugh in trying to get back to the playoffs after last season’s 8-8 finish. Baltimore will finish the regular season with four contests against non-playoff teams who went a combined 18-46 a year ago.
The Ravens will play six games against playoff teams from last season: Carolina, Cincinnati (twice), Indianapolis, New Orleans, and San Diego.
For the first time since the 2009 season, the Ravens will not conclude the regular season against the Bengals, instead hosting the Cleveland Browns on Dec. 28. Five of Baltimore’s six divisional games fall in the first nine weeks of the 2014 season with the season finale against Cleveland wrapping up the Ravens’ slate of AFC North games.
The Ravens open the year with three straight division games for the third time ever after previously doing it in 2004 and 2008. This makes a good start imperative if a third AFC North title in four years is in Baltimore’s plans.
This year marks only the third time in franchise history that the Ravens will open the season with consecutive home games after previously enjoying that luxury in 1997 and 2008.
Sunday, Sept. 7 vs. Cincinnati Bengals – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: This year is certainly big for quarterback Andy Dalton, but the Bengals are the only team in the AFC North to have made the playoffs in each of the last three seasons.
Thursday, Sept. 11 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:25 p.m. (CBS)
Skinny: The rivalry has lost some of its shine with so many big-name players exiting in the last couple years, but Mike Tomlin’s sideline trick last Thanksgiving has created new animosity for Ravens fans.
Sunday, Sept. 21 at Cleveland Browns – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: The Ravens lost in Cleveland last year for the first time since 2007 and will be coming off extra rest following their Week 2 contest, which spells trouble for Mike Pettine’s Browns.
Sunday, Sept. 28 vs. Carolina Panthers – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: The NFL has to wish this game were scheduled to be played in Charlotte instead, but wide receiver Steve Smith will provide plenty of material in the buildup to playing his former team.
Sunday, Oct. 5 at Indianapolis Colts – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: The Ravens will find plenty of familiar faces in Arthur Jones, Cory Redding, and Chuck Pagano, but a trip to play the defending AFC South champions won’t be easy.
Sunday, Oct. 12 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: New center Jeremy Zuttah doesn’t have to wait long to play his former team, but it will be interesting to see what head coach Lovie Smith and quarterback Josh McCown can do for that franchise.
Sunday, Oct. 19 vs. Atlanta Falcons – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: In a meeting of first-round quarterbacks from the 2008 draft, Matt Ryan has been better statistically, but Joe Flacco and the Ravens will gladly take the superior postseason resume.
Sunday, Oct. 26 at Cincinnati Bengals – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: Contrary to what we saw in the last three seasons, there is no NFL mandate that the Ravens conclude the regular season in Cincinnati, but this one figures to be pivotal in the AFC North race.
Sunday, Nov. 2 at Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:30 p.m. (NBC)
Skinny: This meeting will mark the third time in the last four years that the Ravens and Steelers will meet in a Sunday night game at Heinz Field.
Sunday, Nov. 9 vs. Tennessee Titans – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: The memory of what was once the Ravens’ best rivalry continues to fade over the years, but the return of hard-hitting safety Bernard Pollard should be an interesting story.
Sunday, Nov. 16 – BYE
Monday, Nov. 24 at New Orleans Saints – 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Skinny: Baltimore won its only regular-season trip to the Superdome in 2006, but dealing with Drew Brees and that offense indoors is a tall order for Dean Pees’ defense.
Sunday, Nov. 30 vs. San Diego Chargers – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: These teams haven’t met at M&T Bank Stadium since 2006, but San Diego’s late-season run to the postseason gives them plenty of momentum going into 2014.
Sunday, Dec. 7 at Miami Dolphins – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: The Ravens travel to Sun Life Stadium for the second straight year in a meeting between two teams who collapsed down the stretch to miss the playoffs last year.
Sunday, Dec. 14 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: The Jaguars appeared on their way to the No. 1 pick before winning four of their last eight games in 2013, but head coach Gus Bradley needs a quarterback for this team to become a threat.
Sunday, Dec. 21 at Houston Texans – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: Meeting for the fifth straight season, the Ravens and Texans now share a new link with former Houston head coach Gary Kubiak now roaming the Baltimore sideline as offensive coordinator.
Sunday, Dec. 28 vs. Cleveland Browns – 1:00 p.m.
Skinny: The Browns haven’t won a game in Baltimore since George W. Bush was president and will remain the doormat of the division until they can find a franchise quarterback.
Notes: For the first time, flexible scheduling can be applied in Weeks 5 through 10. During that period, flexible scheduling can be used in no more than two weeks by moving a Sunday afternoon game into primetime and moving the Sunday night game to the afternoon.
Another new wrinkle will be a select number of games being “cross-flexed,” moving between CBS and FOX to bring some games to wider audiences.
Flexible scheduling will still be used in Weeks 11 through 17 as it has been in past year years. In Weeks 11-16, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time. Flexible scheduling cannot be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday, or Monday nights.
A scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before the game. For Week 17, the Sunday night game is announced no later than six days prior to December 28.