NFL Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens: 5 Things To Look For On 2014 Schedule

Baltimore Ravens: 5 Things To Look For On 2014 Schedule

Flacco snow
Evan Habeeb - USA TODAY Sports

As we inch closer and closer to the kickoff of this year's NFL season, examining the intricacies of a team's schedule can give an idea of what to expect this year. With the Baltimore Ravens looking to rebound in a big way this season after a disappointing campaign last year, here are five important things to look for on the Ravens' 2014 schedule.

5. Very Demanding Schedule Early On

ravens training camp
Tommy Gilligan - USA TODAY Sports

5. Very Demanding Schedule Early On

ravens training camp
Tommy Gilligan - USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens will only have three days off in between their first two games of the season. They open the season against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 7, then will play the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 11. On the bright side, both of these games are being played in Baltimore. Additionally, Baltimore will get 10 days off between Game 2 and Game 3 when they'll face the Cleveland Browns in Week 3.

4. Opening The Season With Three Straight Division Games

Baltimore ravens, Cincinnati bengals
Andrew Weber - USA TODAY Sports

4. Opening The Season With Three Straight Division Games

Baltimore ravens, Cincinnati bengals
Andrew Weber - USA TODAY Sports

As we all know, divisional matchups are the games that really count on an NFL schedule, and considering that no team in the AFC North stands out as a runaway favorite, these first three games of the season for the Ravens are going to be huge. I don't think it's very likely they start the season 3-0 in division play, but that being said, I can see them winning two of these first three games and setting the tone within the division early on.

3. Two Very Tough Road Games

Drew Brees Superdome
Crystal LoGiudice - USA TODAY Sports

3. Two Very Tough Road Games

Drew Brees Superdome
Crystal LoGiudice - USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens have two very tough road tests this season, the first being against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5 and then a Monday Night Football matchup at the Superdome against the New Orleans Saints in Week 12. One positive that stands out regarding the Saints matchup is that it's coming off of the Ravens' bye week, so Baltimore will have a good opportunity to rest up and game plan for what always proves to be a hard road game for any team.

2. Schedule Includes A Weak AFC South

Jadeveon Clowney
Troy Taormina - USA TODAY Sports

2. Schedule Includes A Weak AFC South

Jadeveon Clowney
Troy Taormina - USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens' schedule includes the AFC South this year, which is an exceptionally weak division, at least by last year's standards (with the exception of the Colts.) I, like many others, am expecting much more out of the Houston Texans this year, however, I think the Ravens will have a good chance against them, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans.

1. Gary Kubiak Faces His Former Team Week 16

Gary Kubiak
Even Habeeb - USA TODAY Sports

1. Gary Kubiak Faces His Former Team Week 16

Gary Kubiak copy
Even Habeeb - USA TODAY Sports

Week 16 will offer an interesting matchup, as the Ravens and new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak will visit the Houston Texans. Kubiak, who is the newly-appointed offensive coordinator for the Ravens after being fired as the Texans head coach last year, will have a chance to square off against his former team from which he was unceremoniously dismissed. This game could also offer playoff implications that late in the season.