I didn't expect the NFL to reward the Ravens with a logically balanced schedule in 2012, but this one takes the cake..
Playing the Steelers twice in a span of three weeks between November 18 and December 2...with a road trip to San Diego in between? That's possibly the season riding on the line for the Ravens right there... or at least the division.
Based on 2011 records, the Ravens face the NFL’s fourth-toughest schedule (134-122, .523) and will play eight games against playoff teams from a year ago, which ties Cleveland and Philadelphia for the league’s most. Baltimore and San Francisco are the only teams to play both Super Bowl participants (Giants and Patriots) from last season.
Based on today’s rosters and likely starters, the Ravens will face 13 teams with Pro Bowl quarterbacks (parenthesis indicates number of Pro Bowls): the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger (2) and Bengals’ Andy Dalton (1), twice each, Denver’s Peyton Manning (11), New England’s Tom Brady (7), the Chargers’ Philip Rivers (4), Philly’s Michael Vick (4), Dallas’ Tony Romo (3), Oakland’s Carson Palmer (2), the Giants’ Eli Manning (2), along with one-time Pro Bowlers Matt Cassel of the Chiefs and Houston’s Matt Schaub.
The Ravens are home just once in October (10/14) when they host the Cowboys. That follows a road game at Kansas City on Oct. 7 and precedes an Oct. 21 matchup at Houston. The team’s bye weekend ends the October schedule.