Baltimore Ravens schedule takeaways:
- The Ravens schedule starts out with a road date against the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday night and concludes with the division-rival Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 18.
- In between, there’s some absolutely huge matchups for head coach John Harbaugh and Co. That includes an early-season home date against the two-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2.
- Sportsnaut predicts the Ravens will finish with a 13-4 record.
Baltimore boasts the second-most difficult schedule in the NFL behind the division-rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Former NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and Co. should be more than up to the task after they found some upgrades at wide receiver in free agent signing Sammy Watkins and rookie first-round pick Rashod Bateman.
However, there’s going to be some questions about whether the Ravens’ previously stout defense will take a step back after losing Pro Bowlers Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue to AFC conference rivals in free agency. This will likely tell us what we need to know about the Ravens’ championship aspirations.
Baltimore Ravens schedule predictions, roster outlook
Let’s take a look at the team’s complete 2021 schedule and make predictions for each game.
Ravens roster outlook
- QB — Lamar Jackson
- RB — J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards
- FB — Patrick Ricard, Ben Mason (rookie)
- TE — Mark Andrews, Nick Boyle
- WR — Marquise Brown, Sammy Watkins, Rashod Bateman (rookie), Miles Boykin
- Defense — Ravens rank seventh in the NFL this week.
The hope in Baltimore is that second-year running back J.K. Dobbins takes that next step after the former Ohio State star recorded 925 total yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie a season ago. That would help alleviate some of the pressure on Jackson.
However, it’s going to be all about the play of Ravens receivers. Marquise Brown struggled with drops a season ago. Will the additions of Watkins and Bateman help here? If not, can the Ravens rely on their defense to pick up the slack as they vie for the conference title?
As for Jackson, the Ravens have made it a priority to get the former NFL MVP tied up on a long-term contract during training camp. If that were to happen, any potential distraction in the Ravens’ attempt to unseat Kansas City in the AFC would be thrown out the window.
Baltimore Ravens 2021 preseason schedule
|Saturday, Aug. 14||vs. New Orleans Saints||7:00 PM||WBAL-TV|
|Saturday, Aug. 21||vs. Carolina Panthers||7:00 PM||WBAL-TV|
|Saturday, Aug. 28||@ Washington Football Team||6:00 PM||WBAL-TV/NFL Network|
This season the NFL is lowering the amount of preseason games to three per team, and instead expanding the regular season to 17 games, rather than the traditional 16 games.
Week 1 — @ Las Vegas Raiders (MNF)
|Monday, Sept. 13||8:15 PM||ESPN/ABC|
- Spread: Ravens -4.5
- Moneyline: Raiders +175, Ravens -220
- Over/under: 51.5
Realistically, these Raiders don’t have anywhere near the talent on defense to keep the likes of Lamar Jackson, J.K. Dobbins, Mark Andrews, Marquise Brown, Sammy Watkins and Rashod Bateman in check. While Las Vegas will score points, this side of the ball will continue to be an issue for Jon Gruden and Co. in 2021. It will also lead to a home loss against these Ravens.
- Week 1 prediction: Ravens 34, Raiders 20
Week 2 — vs. Kansas City Chiefs (SNF)
|Sunday, Sept. 19||8:20 PM||NBC|
A matchup many expected in the AFC Championship Game a season ago, Baltimore seems to think that it is better equipped to handle the Chiefs’ high-flying offense. Unfortunately, the losses of Pro Bowl edge rushers Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue will lead to questions about that. Shockingly trading Pro Bowl offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. to the Chiefs adds another layer to this. Right now, there’s just too much of a gap between the two teams.
- Week 2 prediction: Chiefs 35, Ravens 27
Week 3 — @ Detroit Lions
|Sunday, Sept. 26||1:00 PM||CBS|
It just won’t be close. Detroit lacks the receivers to even make an honest entity out of the Ravens’ defense. Meanwhile, Jared Goff struggled against top-end defenses during the latter years of his Los Angeles Rams tenure. Add in Baltimore’s suddenly improved skill-position group with Sammy Watkins and rookie Rashod Bateman, and this should be a blowout.
- Week 3 prediction: Ravens 35, Lions 13
Week 4 — @ Denver Broncos
|Sunday, Oct. 3||4:25 PM||CBS|
Whether it’s Drew Lock or Teddy Bridgewater under center, the Broncos are going to have a ton of issues scoring against good defenses in 2021. This Week 4 matchup will magnify that with Denver’s solid duo at wide receiver in Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy being snuffed out by Baltimore’s equally elite cornerback tandem.
- Week 4 prediction: Ravens 27, Broncos 17
Week 5 — vs. Indianapolis Colts (MNF)
|Monday, Oct. 11||8:15 PM||ESPN|
How will Carson Wentz respond in his first season with Indianapolis after struggling big time a season ago in Philadelphia? Will former Chiefs Pro Bowl left tackle Eric Fisher be available in this one? These are two major question marks in what could be an AFC Playoff preview. With all of that said, the idea of Wentz being able to go tit-for-tat with Lamar Jackson is far-fetched. In what promises to be a close game, this should be the difference.
- Week 5 prediction: Ravens 20, Colts 17
Week 6 — vs. Los Angeles Chargers
|Sunday, Oct. 17||1:00 PM||CBS|
The Ravens have an absolutely brutal home schedule with six games against playoff teams from a season ago. That’s why they must take advantage of games against lesser competition. While the Chargers are vastly improved and boast reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert at quarterback, they just don’t have enough to go up against Baltimore at home and come away with a win in what should be a close game.
- Week 6 prediction: Ravens 30, Chargers 24
Week 7 — vs. Cincinnati Bengals
|Sunday, Oct. 24||1:00 PM||CBS|
Simply due to the presence of Joe Burrow, Tee Higgins and rookie No. 5 pick Ja’Marr Chase, there’s every reason to believe that the Bengals will be more competitive than we’ve seen in the recent past. Heck, four of Burrow’s seven losses before he went down with a torn ACL as a rookie were one-score affairs. While it won’t be enough to come out on top in Baltimore, this game should remain competitive.
- Week 7 prediction: Ravens 28, Bengals 24
WEEK 8 BYE
Week 9 — vs. Minnesota Vikings
|Sunday, Nov. 7||1:00 PM||FOX|
One of just three home games against non-playoff teams from a season ago, Baltimore did not receive a great draw here. Kirk Cousins has proven to be a serviceable starter in Minnesota. Dalvin Cook is among the top backs in the NFL. Justin Jefferson is already a top-five receiver in the NFL. With that said, the Vikings’ lack of proven talent in the defensive backfield will be troublesome in this matchup. Go with Baltimore in what promises to be a close game.
- Week 9 prediction: Ravens 27, Vikings 20
Week 10 — @ Miami Dolphins (TNF)
|Thursday, Nov. 11||8:15 PM||FOX/NFLN/Amazon|
Now, Miami is a team that could give the Ravens’ defense fits. If second-year quarterback Tua Tagovailoa takes that next step, the speed wide receivers Will Fuller and Jaylen Waddle bring to the table will be troublesome for opponents. Given the Ravens’ lack of speed in the defensive secondary, I am expecting Miami’s offense to do just enough to come out on top here.
- Week 10 prediction: Dolphins 24, Ravens 19
Week 11 — @ Chicago Bears
|Sunday, Nov. 21||1:00 PM||CBS|
The likes of Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey should be more than up to the task against a Bears offense that’s limited from a passing standpoint with Andy Dalton slated to start under center. Even with Chicago’s plus-level pass rush and some minor concerns along Baltimore’s offensive line, I am expecting a double-digit road win in this one.
- Week 11 prediction: Ravens 27, Bears 17
Week 12 — vs. Cleveland Browns (SNF)
|Sunday, Nov. 28||8:20 PM||NBC|
The expectation here is that Cleveland and Baltimore will compete for the AFC North title in 2021. If so, the Ravens will have to at least earn a sweep of the division rivals. The good news for these Ravens? Cleveland has won just three of its past 26 matchups against Baltimore. Despite the Browns’ status as a legit title contender, that type of history is hard to ignore.
- Week 12 prediction: Ravens 27, Browns 20
Week 13 — @ Pittsburgh Steelers
|Sunday, Dec. 5||4:25 PM||CBS|
There’s just too many issues on both sides of the ball for Pittsburgh to compete with the top dogs in the AFC North. Despite the Ravens losing multiple Pro Bowl pass rushers during the offseason, the Steelers’ offensive line is going to be an issue in front of the immobile Ben Roethlisberger. That will lead to a rare home loss for Pittsburgh against a division opponent.
- Week 13 prediction: Ravens 24, Steelers 20
Week 14 — @ Cleveland Browns
|Sunday, Dec. 12||1:00 PM||CBS|
Will all due respect to Mike Tomlin’s Steelers, it’s going to be the Ravens and Browns competing for the AFC North title in 2021. Interestingly enough, Lamar Jackson and Co. destroyed Cleveland during their Week 1 outing in Baltimore by the score of 38-6 last season. The Browns responded several weeks later by making a close game of it in a high-scoring affair in Cleveland. We’re expecting the Browns to finally break through and win their first game against Baltimore since Week 4 of the 2019 season.
- Week 14 prediction: Browns 28, Ravens 24
Week 15 — vs. Green Bay Packers
|Sunday, Dec. 19||1:00 PM||FOX|
This is going to be all about the status of Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. If the reigning NFL MVP does in fact force his way from the Packers or sits out the 2021 season, it will end up being a reprieve for Baltimore. As it stands, I still like the Ravens to come out on top at home in what should be a pretty close game. Simply put, Lamar Jackson will be too much of a force as a dual-threat under center given the Packers’ lack of speed on defense.
- Week 15 prediction: Ravens 28, Packers 20
Week 16 — @ Cincinnati Bengals
|Sunday, Dec. 26||1:00 PM||CBS|
Baltimore swept Cincinnati a season ago, outscoring its divisional opponent by a combined margin of 65-6. While one of those games came without Joe Burrow under center, it tells us a story of two teams who are not near the same tier right now. Having won five in a row against the Bengals, we’re not expecting this to change come Week X. However, it will be closer than most might anticipate in Cincy.
- Week 16 prediction: Ravens 27, Bengals 23
Week 17 — vs. Los Angeles Rams
|Sunday, Jan. 2||4:25 PM||FOX|
The presence of Matthew Stafford in Southern California changes the dynamics in a big way for the Rams. Primarily, he boasts a better-than-average ability to get the ball to stud receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. Going up against the Ravens in this Week X matchup, that could make all the difference in the world. If Stafford is able to have success against Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey, the Rams should be able to pull off the road upset in a high-scoring affair.
- Week 17 prediction: Rams 31, Ravens 27
Week 18 — vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
|Sunday, Jan. 9||1:00 PM||CBS|
Legitimately one of the biggest rivalries in the NFL world, this Week X matchup should be all sorts of fun. Pittsburgh surprisingly swept Baltimore in their two-game set last season. That came after the Ravens swept their counterparts back in 2019. Look for them to accomplish this feat again in 2021 with a narrow home victory over Pittsburgh.
- Week 18 prediction: Ravens 24, Steelers 20