Hitting road early: Ravens away from home for four of first six games

Joe Flacco and the Ravens have won just one postseason game since their Super Bowl XLVII victory. Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

The NFL has released its 2018 regular-season schedule. Here's a look at what's in store for the Baltimore Ravens.

Breakdown: If the Ravens want to end their three-year playoff drought, Baltimore has to overcome an early (and familiar) challenge. Four of the Ravens' first six games are on the road as Baltimore plays at Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Tennessee. This means all three of the Ravens' AFC North road games will be completed by Week 5 -- the earliest they will have ever finished their division road schedule. How will the Ravens respond? History has produced mixed results under coach John Harbaugh. In 2010, the Ravens went 12-4 and reached the postseason after playing four of their first six games away from home. But, in 2015, Baltimore recorded its worst mark under Harbaugh at 5-11 after going on the road for five of its first seven games. On the positive side, the Ravens will not leave Baltimore in the month of November this season, playing all three games at M&T Bank Stadium.

Big tests in first half of schedule: In addition to the bulk of the road games coming early, the first half of Baltimore's schedule features plenty of playoff teams. Six of the Ravens' first nine games are against 2017 playoff teams: the Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers (twice), at Tennessee Titans, New Orleans Saints and at Carolina Panthers. Starting in Week 4 at Pittsburgh, Baltimore begins a formidable six-game stretch in which the Ravens face five 2017 postseason participants. The schedule gets much easier toward the end of the season. After a Week 10 bye, four of the final seven games are against teams who had losing records last season.

Prime time in Pittsburgh (again): It's become an unwanted tradition for the Ravens. Baltimore will play Pittsburgh in prime time for the seventh time in eight seasons. The only time the Ravens didn't play under the lights of Heinz Field during that stretch was in 2013. Baltimore has held its own in these Pittsburgh prime-time games, going 3-3. In comparison, the Ravens have played host to the Steelers in a prime-time game only twice (2013 and 2014) over that same span.

Strength of schedule: 21st, .488

Ravens' Regular-Season Schedule (All times Eastern)

  • Week 1: Sunday, Sept. 9, Buffalo, 1 p.m.

  • Week 2: Thursday, Sept. 13, at Cincinnati, 8:20 p.m.

  • Week 3: Sunday, Sept. 23, Denver, 1 p.m.

  • Week 4: Sunday, Sept. 30, at Pittsburgh, 8:20 p.m.

  • Week 5: Sunday, Oct. 7, at Cleveland, 1 p.m.

  • Week 6: Sunday, Oct. 14, at Tennessee, 4:25 p.m.

  • Week 7: Sunday, Oct. 21, New Orleans, 4:05 p.m.

  • Week 8: Sunday, Oct. 28, at Carolina, 1 p.m.

  • Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 4, Pittsburgh, 1 p.m.

  • Week 10: BYE

  • Week 11: Sunday, Nov. 18, Cincinnati, 1 p.m.

  • Week 12: Sunday, Nov. 25, Oakland, 1 p.m.

  • Week 13: Sunday, Dec. 2, at Atlanta, 1 p.m.

  • Week 14: Sunday, Dec. 9, at Kansas City, 1 p.m.

  • Week 15: Sunday, Dec. 16, Tampa Bay, 1 p.m.

  • Week 16: Sunday, Dec. 23, at Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m.

  • Week 17: Sunday, Dec. 30, Cleveland, 1 p.m.