The Baltimore Ravens have the 21st hardest schedule in the NFL based on win percentage for the upcoming year. Despite being in the bottom half of difficulty, they have the toughest six-game stretch of any team. The Ravens are looking to get back into the playoffs after a disappointing end to 2017. That stretch of six games is going to be a huge factor in their season. We will get to all of those games here, as we look at the most difficult games on the 2018 Ravens schedule.
Baltimore Ravens Toughest Games in 2018
Week Four: at Pittsburgh Steelers
The toughest game of the Ravens season is the same as it has been for the last decade. Whenever the schedule comes out, you can pinpoint this trip as the toughest. Regardless of how good Pittsburgh is, this is usually a great game, and a tough one. The Ravens will be looking to slow down Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown this time around. Last year, Big Ben threw for over 500 yards, and Antonio Brown brought in over 200 of them. The secondary is better this year, as is the defense as a whole. If the offense can put up enough points, this should follow the path of games past and be a great watch. The Ravens will need to put on a strong showing here, as the next five weeks are all tough games as well.
Week 13: at Atlanta Falcons
This is the toughest game of the season that doesn’t fall in the ridiculous six-week stretch. Atlanta is in the midst of an incredible run under the combo of Dan Quinn and Matt Ryan. Julio Jones is an incredible weapon and will need to be contained for the Ravens to have a chance. As the postseason comes into view, both of these teams should be eyeing the playoffs. The winner of this game will likely find themselves in a good spot with the last quarter of the season remaining. The Falcons have a great team all-around, and Desmond Trufant should be completely healthy. The Ravens will be traveling to Atlanta after two home games and should be in fairly good shape.
Week Six: at Tennessee Titans
The Titans looked to turn a corner in 2017, and seem to be better coming into 2018. The weapons they have on offense, paired with a new head coach, could lead to an incredible offense. Marcus Mariota, Dion Lewis, Derrick Henry, Corey Davis, and Delanie Walker are a great group. The Ravens should look to put this game on Mariota’s shoulders. Baltimore has a good run defense and should be able to contain the backfield. Look to expect more from Mariota, as he is fully healed from the broken leg of 2016. After a full healthy off-season, Mariota at 100 percent should make this a difficult game for the Ravens.
Week Seven: vs New Orleans Saints
If this game was in New Orleans, it would’ve pushed for the most difficult game of the year. Drew Brees doesn’t look to be slowing down. Yes, he threw the ball less last year. This was due to the fact that their running backs had an incredible year. Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara combined for 1,852 rushing yards and 1,242 receiving yards. Brees still broke the record for completion percentage in a season. It doesn’t look like they will be slowing down at all, and it’s going to be tough to stop them. The Ravens are going to need to look to control the game on the ground in Week Seven. Keeping the ball away from Brees, and not letting it fall to Joe Flacco to throw 40 times will be key.
Week Eight: at Carolina Panthers
After playing the former NFC South division winners, the Ravens back it up by traveling to another stellar NFC team. The Panthers tied with the Saints last year and should be good again in 2018. Like the Ravens, Carolina has revamped their receiving corps. The one spot that is looking worse and worse by the day for the Panthers is the offensive line. They have lost a few people this year already due to injury. Amini Silatolu and Daryl Williams are hurt, and Andrew Norwell left in free agency. This is going to put a lot of pressure on Cam Newton. If the Ravens can get pressure on him, they will have a shot at winning this game. If not, look for the Panthers to roll with their revamped and more experienced offense.
Week 16: at Los Angeles Chargers
There are two things the Ravens find themselves up against that usually spell bad luck. They are traveling cross country, and it’s almost the end of the year. Likely to be worn down, a 3,000+ mile trip isn’t going to help. The Chargers always seem to struggle to stay healthy, so that could be a bright spot. I wouldn’t wish injuries on anyone or any team, but it seems to be the norm for the Chargers. These are already starting, as Hunter Henry and Jason Verrett are out for the year. The meshing of the Ravens offense is likely going to determine the outcome here. With Flacco having all new receivers, if they are on the same page come this game, it will likely be helping them roll to a playoff berth.
Week Nine: vs Pittsburgh Steelers
The toughest stretch in football this season starts and ends with the Steelers. The Ravens are likely going to be beaten down at this point in the year. The saving grace will be the fact this game is at home, and a bye week is following. Looking to avenge a bad home loss to the Steelers last year, the Ravens are going to be leaving it all on the field. It’s not going to be easy after playing Carolina, New Orleans, and Tennessee the previous three weeks. Look for a classic slugfest against the Steelers in Baltimore.
Week 5: at Cleveland Browns
For all of those who are doubting the Browns coming into this year, they are going to be sorely mistaken. Although the team lost Joe Thomas, they could easily have a top 10 offense this season. They’ve added Tyrod Taylor, Carlos Hyde, Jarvis Landry, and look to have a healthy and clean Josh Gordon. With David Njoku and Duke Johnson there as well, the Browns have the ability to score with a handful of people. The Browns shouldn’t be overlooked, and any team that does is in for a rude awakening.
Be sure to have a look at the eight easiest games on the 2018 Baltimore Ravens schedule.