July 15, 2012 | Stephen Daniels

The Baltimore Ravens’ fans are very passionate about the love they have for their franchise. A franchise that has seen their fair share of heartbreak over the past few seasons from blowing a huge halftime lead in the playoffs two years ago to their bitter rivals the Pittsburg Steelers. Then last year in the AFC Championship game against the hated New England Patriots they had a dropped pass in the end zone and a chip shot field goal missed the uprights from a proven kicker. The Baltimore Ravens are a good football team but in order to be great you have to win championships. The Ravens haven’t done that since 2000 and it’s been a bittersweet ride ever since. They have had some great seasons that went along with some heart breaking postseasons.

The Two Thousand and Twelve season is upon us and that means new beginnings and a fresh start for a team with one dream and one goal. That goal is to get back to the Super Bowl. But many Ravens’ fans and players know how hard that dream can be. In order to get back to the Super Bowl you have to get to the playoffs and in order to make the playoffs you have to have a good record in the Regular season. The Baltimore Ravens won 12 games last year and they’ll probably have to do just as good this year to make the post season. The AFC has gotten better and stronger and one of those strong and powerful divisions in that conference is the AFC North. The Ravens swept the North last year going 6 and 0 against their inter-division rivals. In order to do that again this year a lot of things must fall into place and a lot of players are going to have to step up and take over this team that Veterans Ed Reed and Ray Lewis have done over the past decade.

Before I dive into the division games let’s get into the whole schedule of opponents the Ravens will face in 2012. In this day and era we live in a pass happy league and with an ageing defense the Ravens will face the likes of Tony Romo, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick, Tom Brady, Eli Manning and a healthy Peyton Manning this year. There are some Super Bowl MVPs, League MVPs and very exclusive Quarterbacks that love to throw that I just named. If the Ravens want to win they need to make sure that their secondary is up to the task and their first priority is to make sure Ed Reed comes back for another season. The Ravens schedule is set up with four prime time games with three of them coming in the first four weeks. That doesn’t include potential flex games in weeks 11 – 16 that could be changed. So with some older veterans you have to hope that they stay healthy all season long.

The first quarter of the season the Ravens will face the following…

Week 1—Monday Night Football Home vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Week 2— Sunday 1pm Away vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Week 3—Sunday Night Football Home vs. New England Patriots

Week 4—Thursday Night Football Home vs.  Cleveland Browns

With three primetime games and two of them interdivision games I think this will be a good eye test for the fans to see how serious this year will be. The Bengals and Eagles games in weeks one and two I see the Ravens winning both games. Now in week three they have a great rematch of the AFC Championship game of last year against the New England Patriots. The sting of losing the AFC Championship game is enough motivation to win that game. The fourth week they face the Cleveland Browns and I predict the Ravens to be 4 – 0 after the 1st quarter of the season.

The second quarter of the season should be a breeze, I believe this will be the easiest part of the season for the Ravens and this includes a Bye week. Their opponents are as follows…

Week 5—Sunday 1pm Away vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Week 6—Sunday 1pm Home vs. Dallas Cowboys

Week 7—Sunday 1pm Away vs. Houston Texans

Week 8—BYE

With two of the three games against non-playoff teams last year and facing Houston going into a bye week, I predict the Ravens will be 7 – 0 heading into the Bye Week and the best NFL team at the halfway point of the season.

Now the third quarter of the season will be the toughest for the Ravens in the 2012 season they have five games against two sleeper teams and three interdivision games. Their opponents are as follows…

Week 9—Sunday 1pm Away vs. Cleveland Browns

Week 10—Sunday 1pm Home vs. Oakland Raiders

Week 11—Sunday Night Football Away vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 12—Sunday 4pm Away vs. San Diego Chargers

Week 13—Sunday 4:25 Home vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

The football season can be long and cruel and Weeks 9 thru 13 will prove to be that for the Ravens. In week 9 they travel to the Browns where they’re definitely the better team but with the Ravens cruising now at this point in the season you have to worry about a trap game. I do think they will win this one. In week 10 against the Raiders could be a different story especially if Carson Palmer is healthy. Palmer knows the Ravens well from his day with the Bengals. And with the Ravens having a Primetime game against their most hated rival the Steelers the next week I believe this could be the trap game that they run into every year. After that the next three games are the toughest they play the Steelers twice while traveling to the west coast to play San Diego in between those games. When the Ravens play the Steelers it usually takes a toll on the roster and with the travel those three games are crucial to the season. It is also a test to see if the Ravens are a championship caliber team. I predict the Ravens to be 10 and 2 at the end of Week 13 with the two losses either coming in a couple of trap games or losing at least one to Pittsburgh.

The 4th Quarter will be a fun four games as they face their last inter-division team, rookie RG3, new Bronco Peyton Manning, and Super Bowl Champion Eli Manning. Their final four opponents are as followed

Week 14—Sunday 1pm Away vs. Washington Redskins

Week 15—Sunday 1pm Home vs. Denver Broncos

Week 16 – Sunday 1pm Home vs. New York Giants

Week 17—Sunday 1pm Away vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Any of these games could be flexed into primetime with the NFL Flexing rule and the NFL would be smart to choose that route. They face a very good rookie with the Redskins in Robert Griffith the Third.  The final two home games are against the Manning brothers. Both of those contests should be very entertaining. The final game will be in Cincinnati which should be a Win but being interdivision rivals you never know the outcome. I predict the Ravens will be 12 and 4 at the conclusion of the NFL season and the number 1 record in all of football.

In Closing, the Baltimore Ravens should at the least be entertaining every weekend and with players like Ed Reed and Ray Lewis careers coming to a close they want to go out as champions but they will have to win some games in the regular season. Is my prediction going to be correct? Maybe or maybe not only the season will tell and as the saying in football goes “ITS ANY GIVEN SUNDAY”.


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