Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 4/24/12
The Baltimore Ravens follow a difficult 2011 ending to a very difficult 2012 start. There has been much talk in the offseason about the disappointing finish that happened in the AFC Title game which dreams were shattered in a matter of seconds when a Billy Cundiff field goal sailed wide left. The clock is ticking on an aging defense that is hoping for one more shot at a Super Bowl run. Here is the breakdown of the Baltimore Ravens' 2012 schedule:
September 10th – vs. Cincinnati Bengals (Monday Night)
Week 1 will be in prime time as the AFC North rival Bengals come to M&T Bank Stadium. Ray Rice ran for over 100 yards in each of the two meetings last year as the Ravens swept Cincy. A.J. Green and Andy Dalton will not be surprising anyone this year, especially a still very good Baltimore defense. Dalton threw three picks and no touchdowns in the two meetings in 2011.
*Side Note: The all-time record between Baltimore and Cincinnati is 18-14 in favor of the Ravens.
September 16th - @ Philadelphia Eagles
The first of four matchups with the NFC East, Ray Lewis and company travel up I-95 to face Michael Vick and the Eagles. The Ravens' D has held Vick in check in previous meetings, but that was when he was with the Falcons, and that was also when he didn’t have DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy. Not to mention, Joe Flacco should have some trouble against a very talented secondary.
*Side Note: In two career meetings with the Ravens, Mike Vick has been held to 49 yards rushing.
September 23rd – vs. New England Patriots (Sunday Night)
The second primetime game in three weeks for Baltimore, they get a chance for some retribution against the team that ended their 2011 season when the Pats come to town. Flacco played the game of his life against New England in last year's AFC Championship, throwing for 305 yards, two touchdowns, and one pick, but it still wasn’t enough.
*Side Note: Fans in Baltimore hate Tom Brady probably more than anyone, since 2004, they are 1-5 against New England, having never beaten them in the regular season.
September 27th – vs. Cleveland Browns (Thursday Night)
Hate is what describes Cleveland towards Baltimore. But this is not the same Browns team of old. They have some real talent on the offensive (Joe Thomas) and defensive side (Joe Haden) of the football, and expect Alabama running back Trent Richardson to be there if everything goes as planned in the Draft. But this Raven defense is still too good as the Browns still aren’t there yet.
*Side Note: After having an amazing college career at the University of Maryland, stud Brown linebacker D’Qwell Jackson returns to MD, and brings his 565 career tackles with him.
October 7th - @ Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City finally has a healthy team that showed promise last year until Matt Cassel and Jamaal Charles went down. The Chiefs are young, talented, and hungry at almost every position, and their stud wideout, Dwayne Bowe looks to have more touchdowns this season, than he did in 2011 (5.)
*Side Note: Arrowhead Stadium is one of the most difficult places to play, and the Ravens did not play well against lesser competition last year.
October 14th – vs. Dallas Cowboys
This game should scare Joe Flacco because…well…that’s what DeMarcus Ware brings. Fear. Ware had 19.5 sacks last year, half a sack away from his career high 20 in 2008. He hasn’t missed a game since 2005, and history has shown Ravens left tackles have not performed well against elite pass rushers. You’re up Bryant McKinnie. If Ware somehow gets shut down, the Cowboys' pass defense ranked 23rd in the NFL last year, and Flacco should have no problems.
*Side Note: The Cowboys are one of two teams that have not defeated the Ravens in the regular season.
October 21st - @ Houston Texans
A game that should be in prime time, but isn’t. Baltimore travels to Houston to take on a healthy Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson, where the Texans will be looking to get some payback against the team that ended their Super Bowl hopes. These teams have played three times over the past three years, with Arian Foster not being stifled by the stellar front seven of the Ravens.
*Side Note: The Texans are the other team that hasn’t beaten the Ravens in the regular season.
November 4th- @ Cleveland Browns
This is interesting. Baltimore meets the Browns for a second time before playing Pittsburgh a first. Joe Flacco was held in check by the Browns’ secondary in both meetings last year, throwing for 158 and 132 yards. Ray Rice dominated in game one with 204 yards rushing, but only had 87 yards in the second matchup.
*Side Note: The Browns haven’t defeated the Ravens since 2007 when they swept them. The Ravens started three different quarterbacks that season (Steve McNair, Kyle Boller, and Troy Smith.)
Sunday November 11th – vs. Oakland Raiders
There will be some familiarity in this game as Carson Palmer returns to Baltimore for the first time since the season finale of the 2010 season where he threw for 305 yards and a score. The Ravens have manhandled the Raiders since John Harbaugh has been the head coach, outscoring them 50-23.
*Side Note: The Ravens have to see another familiar face; former Patriot defensive tackle Richard Seymour.
November 18th - @ Pittsburgh Steelers (Monday Night)
The game Steelers fans have had circled on their calendars since the 2012 regular season schedules were announced. The Ravens swept their rivals last year by a combined score of 58-27. The games between these two have defined how the NFL wants to be perceived to date, and this matchup should be no different.
*Side Note: Big Ben threw for 610 yards combined in the two meetings in 2011, but still couldn’t get the job done.
November 25th - @ San Diego Chargers
Everyone remembers the egg the Ravens laid last year but here’s a reminder: Final score of 34-14. Sunday night in prime time. Ravens held to 290 total yards. Ravens' defense giving up 415 total yards. Ray Rice only carried the ball ten times for 57 yards. There is going to be some angry memories going in to this game and you can bet Baltimore will be looking to make a point.
*Side Note: The 2011 Chargers' game was the second embarrassing moment in prime time that season. Baltimore also lost to the Jaguars 12-7 on Monday night in October.
December 2nd – vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
You did not misread that. Baltimore meets the Steelers for the second time in 15 days. This is just the middle of a tough stretch to end the regular season. The second meeting between these two in 2011, occurred on November 6th, with six other games and a bye week between them.
*Side Note: The Ravens finished the season 6-2, after beating Pittsburgh for a second time last season.
December 9th - @ Washington Redskins
Baltimore plays their hometown rivals for the first time since 2008, when they hosted Washington and won 24-10. The Ravens own a 3-1 record against the Skins, who will be dealing with the toughest stretch of their schedule as well. Even with RGIII, the Ravens should not have a problem.
*Side Note: The Redskins were tied for tenth in the NFL with 41 sacks, but with a weakened secondary, Flacco should still put up good numbers.
December 16th – vs. Denver Broncos
Where this game wouldn’t scare them in the past, it sure as hell scares them now. What’s the difference? Peyton Manning has owned the Ravens over his career and he is now playing his football in Mile High. Manning is 7-2 against the Ravens, including the Playoffs. He has averaged over 271 yards per game while throwing for 17 total touchdowns to only eight interceptions.
*Side Note: Last time the Ravens played Manning? A 20-3 playoff trouncing, which Baltimore committed four turnovers. Indianapolis would go on to the Super Bowl that year.
December 23rd – vs. New York Giants
Back-to-back doses of Manning for the Ravens' D, and at this point, Eli might be the better of the two. Coming off his second Super Bowl in four years, Eli is showing everyone why he is one of the best in the NFL. The Ravens will have to face another young, talented pass rush for the second straight week, as well as stud wideout Victor Cruz.
*Side Note: The Ravens destroyed the NFC Champion Giants in 2000 on their way to Super Bowl XXXV.
December 30th - @ Cincinnati Bengals
Start and end the season with Cincy. By this time we will see if the Bengals' 2011 was a fluke, as these two teams should be competing for playoff seeding, if not the AFC North Title. A.J. Green versus Lardarius Webb should be a great matchup as the two are a little bit older, and a little bit wiser. Hopefully, both these teams will be fully healthy, so fans get to see what they are both truly made of.
*Side Note: From 2009 to the start of 2010, the Bengals were 7-0 against AFC North opponents, including three wins over Baltimore.

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