Last week, Ravens G.M. Eric DeCosta said on PFT PM that, when he gets his team’s schedule, he first looks at the back end. This year, the back end is not great.
The Ravens conclude with a challenging seven-game stretch, starting in Week 12 and stretching through Week 18.
It goes like this: at Browns, at Steelers, Browns, Packers, at Bengals, Rams, Steelers.
That’s four games out of seven against the Browns and the Steelers, with the meat in the Cleveland sandwich a game at Pittsburgh, while the Browns are on a bye as they recover from one game against the Ravens and prepare for the next one.
The good news is that the other two of the tough games — Packers and Rams — are at home.
The Ravens have a three-game home stand from Week Five through Seven, but that’s counterbalanced by four of five road games, from Week 10 through Week 14.
It becomes critical for coach John Harbaugh to get Ravens off to a great start, with seven games before a Week Eight bye. This year, it will be much harder than it was in 2020 to have the kind of stretch run that helped propel the Ravens to the postseason. In 2021, the strategy could be to rack up as many early victories as possible, and then hope for the best in December and January.