NFL has plenty of good options for Ravens’ Week One home opener

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As the Super Bowl champions, the Ravens will be the home team for the NFL’s Thursday night opener on September 5, and the good news for the NFL (and NBC) is that the Ravens have a very good slate of home opponents in 2013, from a TV ratings perspective.

The Ravens’ home opponents in 2013 are the Bengals, Browns, Steelers, Patriots, Jets, Texans, Packers and Vikings. Of those, only the Browns can be eliminated: There’s no way the league will put Cleveland in the marquee Week One opener.

(Well, if we want to get crazy, we’ll point out one scenario in which the opener could be Browns-Ravens: If the Ravens put the non-exclusive franchise tag on Joe Flacco, and the Browns sign him away, then Browns at Ravens would suddenly become the marquee game of the entire season. But it’s probably safe to say that won’t happen.)

Aside from the Browns, every other potential Week One matchup in Baltimore would be a good game: The Bengals, Patriots, Texans, Packers and Vikings were all playoff teams, the Steelers-Ravens rivalry has long been one of the NFL’s best, and even though the Jets were a circus last year, they were a circus that plenty of people watched.

So who will the Ravens’ Week One opponent be? Only once since the NFL began playing the opening game in the Super Bowl champion’s city has there been an interconference game, and it probably won’t happen again this year: FOX only gets the Ravens twice and would surely fight to keep Vikings-Ravens or Packers-Ravens from moving over to NBC. Considering that the last three Week One opening night games have been NFC matchups that otherwise would have been on FOX, the NFL will probably decide that it’s time to take an AFC game from CBS.

Of the AFC games, one stands out as the best of the bunch: Patriots-Ravens, a rematch of the last two AFC Championship Games. The Patriots and the Ravens have developed a great rivalry in recent years, and they’ve played some excellent games that have drawn huge TV ratings. The Ravens have a great slate of home games in 2013, but none is better than the Patriots game, and that’s probably the one we’ll all be watching on the first Thursday night in September.

87 responses to “NFL has plenty of good options for Ravens’ Week One home opener

  1. Awesome. Baltimore has outplayed the Patriots last three games. Can’t wait to kick off the season at home with a championship banner ceremony.

  2. I swear to God if they pick the Jets…..

    The media has to make a new-season’s resolution and ignore this team unless it actually does something ON THE FIELD to merit the attention.

    On another note–a few years ago, didn’t the Ravens or the Steelers throw a fit about placing their rivalry in week one, so the NFL didn’t pick it?

  3. I’m guessing Patriots or Packers. Personally, I’m hoping for the Packers. But I think the league will go with a rubber game of the last 2 AFC Championships and take the Patriots.

    Either way, it will be an awesome game and one they can’t really screw up.

  4. STEELERS! These teams played twice last year and split them, each team winning one by only 3 points. Neither team was at full strength though, so the games felt hollow. By matching them up in week 1, they should both be healthy and ready to rumble. BRING IT!

  5. When you consider the Ravens will probably not be a competitive team this season, unless a lot of contracts are reworked to free up cap space, the NFL should consider a match up that will produce an exciting, close game, and not a blow out.

  6. Week 1 Schedule

    Thursday Night: Steelers/Ravens
    Sunday Night: Seahawks/49ers
    Monday Night Doubleheader: Giants/Redskins and Broncos/Chargers

  7. Im sure it will be either the Patriots or the Steelers, both rivals of the Ravens…imagine the scene, the Ravens putting up their new Super Bowl Championship banner in their stadium right in front of Bill Bellicheck/Tom Brady or Mike Tomlin/Big Ben…ray lewis invited back to do his dance one last time a bunch of pregame pushing, shoving and a whole summer of insults being thrown in all directions…

    yep, you can bet the nfl will save both of those matchups for later….look for the Texans to play the Ravens in week one…

  8. Have to think the Patriots and Steelers are far and away the two most likely options.

    Agree that the Browns are off the table and probably the Jets are too. Regardless of New York ratings, don’t think the NFL wants to kick off the season highlighting that dysfunctional mess.

    Yes, the Bengals and Vikings made the playoffs, but neither are really marquee teams. Nor really are the Texans.

    The Ravens are the champions, but they still don’t carry the same high profile of some of the other teams in the league. The league will want to partner them with a New England, Pittsburgh, or Green Bay.

    And your point about Fox losing another game is a valid one, which probably drops Green Bay out of the running, leaving the Pats or Steelers.

  9. Hoping it’s my Packers…
    I’d like to see how the 2013 team stacks up against a physical team … we haven’t really beaten a hard nosed team since Crosby’s game winner against the giants in 2011. See the young players get popped and how they respond. Wake up call.

  10. Without a doubt 100% it will be the Patriots. No question. No brainer. It will be Tom Brady vs. the new highest paid QB in the league. Thats all the Patriots need is some billboard material.

  11. Please don’t put the Steelers/Ravens Week 1. Both those yearly games are worthy of mid-late season and cold weather. A few years ago they put them early and it takes away from the late season excitement.

  12. It will most definitely be the Patriots or the Steelers. I’d put my money on the Pats. Last time the Steelers won the Super Bowl the Ravens declined to play them for the NFL’s opening game, and stuck us with a boring Titans game, so I’d imagine the Steelers might decline this one if given the opportunity.

  13. Patriots-Ravens: I think CBS would fight for that one. Plus, that rivalry is still growing… Put the Steelers-Ravens on the first week. I think that might be the best choice. A divisional rival that wants to slap down the SB champ, that is the game I want to see.

  14. As a Patriots fan, I say the Ravens should open up with a division rival. It is kind of insult to injury to force the Patriots to watch the Ravens raise their banner and all that. I have never agreed with the opening week “rematch”. Neither team is playing their best football in week 1.

    But the other way to look at it, is what would feel better for the Patriots than for them to have the chance at rolling into Baltimore and raining all over their celebration (no, that isnt trash talk or a prediction, just saying that when 2 teams play, both have a chance to win). If you are the Ravens, would you want to spoil the celbration by playing a really good team, or would you like it to be a creampuff “homecoming” kind of game?

  15. Until the Giants lost their first game in 2012, the home team had never lost a Thursday night opener. It is historically a big home field advantage. Putting the Patriots there would be an advantage for Baltimore as opposed to playing them later in the season. In any case, the Patriots have to play in Baltimore. As a Patriots fan I have mixed feelings because it would be a great game to look forward to, but it would also be a game that I would mark as a potential loss when looking at the schedule.

    Putting the Steelers in that game isn’t so bad given they play a home and home and probably will split them anyway, but it might eliminate a chance of a Steelers sweep.

    The Texans would be my favorite choice for the game, as if one of those teams lose it’s good for the Patriots later in the season.

    If I were the schedule maker, I’m not sure if I would want Baltimore – Patriots right away. It might be better in early December on a Sunday or Monday nighter.

  16. How many times is Ray-Ray going to do the dance for the last time? Thank god that is over. I am sure 52 will find a way to make sure he stays in the news somehow.

  17. Steelers-Ravens would be an interesting match.

    The Steelers have undergone a lot of changes in the past season, and the fundamental character of the team is different — now there is no Hines Ward, no Aaron Smith, no James Farrior, and more big names may be on the way out like Hampton, Harrison, etc. But the same will be true of the Ravens starting next season. Ray Lewis will be gone, and the Ravens have a lot of key free agents this year as well. It is unlikley that they will be able to resign all of them, and Flacco is sure to take up a lot of money in a situation where they are already well-over their cap limit, so some big releases/cuts are likley as well. The only question is how different the Ravens will look by September when all is said and done.

  18. So whoever plays baltimore in week 1, is pretty much 1-0 already. Baltimore will struggle to be .500 next season. Serves them right.

  19. The only scenario I can envision Patriots-Ravens presenting itself as the most compelling game would be if Ed Reed were to become a Patriot. However, I don’t see that happening. Unfortunately, as of late Ravens-Patriots has become all too predictable, with Baltimore having a decided edge given that their defense has Brady’s number. Unless New England can get something remotely resembling a pass rush and improve on pass defense, I think Packers-Ravens would be a more intriguing—and competitive—opening game.

  20. I think it will be New England. And wouldn’t it be interesting if Ed Reed was in a Patriots uniform for the banner ceremony?

  21. Face it Steeler fans, your team is going to be crap next year as you are still rebuilding.

    Cincinnati is their rival right now, even Ray Rice said so after they won the SB.

    I would love to see CIN/BAL to open the season.

  22. Everyone knows it will be the little NFL darlings with the whiny diva QB.

    And what the heck are you talking about wte1? The game is in Baltimore…did you even read and comprehend this article?

  23. I disagree on pats. Sure they are a perennial power but they have always been a terrible matchup with Balt. My vote would be Houston.

  24. If I have to watch Ray Lewis do that stupid dance again I’m turning the game off no matter who they’re playing.

    Both teams were banged up by the middle of the season last year so hopefully they will put the Ravens vs the Steeles when both teams are fully healthy. No better time for that than week 1.

  25. There’s a huge assumption that Baltimore will be playing on that Thursday opening game. Ravens fans will remember that they their team was the ONLY Super Bowl team champion that DID NOT get the marquee Week One opening game since 1995. Instead, the NFL opted for Denver hosting the loser New York Giants. And that’s why the Ravens and their fans carry a chip on their shoulder and buy into the conspiracy that the NFL would rather they not have success.

  26. Wow, not many cupcakes on that home schedule. Kind of brutal actually. I guess the good part is it looks like most of their tough games will be at home.

  27. Ravens vs Packers… save the marquee conference matchups for later in the season. Especially Pats vs Ravens… That sounds like a December game, not September.

  28. As September 5 is the first day of Rosh Hashana, Pats owner Robert Kraft may personally ask that his team not be selected.

    I am not sure if such a request would make a difference or not, but it is one potential factor.

  29. “wte1 says:
    Feb 6, 2013 10:26 AM
    Patriots played a regular season game in Baltimore in 2012. They can come to New England in 2013.”

    Doesn’t work that way. We played there and lost. Remember how the Colts had to come play in Foxboro 3 or 4 years in a row until they finally won there ? Then the Pats were stuck playing in Indy for the next 3 or 4 years till they finally won there again.

    Wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Pats have to start the year with this game.

    “justintuckrule says:
    Feb 6, 2013 11:00 AM
    I disagree on pats. Sure they are a perennial power but they have always been a terrible matchup with Balt. ”

    Pats have a lot more victories than losses against Baltimore while Brady has been leading the Pats. They are not a terrible matchup. Both teams always play hard and a lot of those games won by either side have been decided by a field goal or less.

  30. It should be like College Football. Let the champs warm up with some Patsies from the AFC East. Pick one it doesn’t matter. All but the Patriots would be an easy win.

  31. I think Cincinnati wil be the team they play..Its about the future. Its gonna be Cincinnati vs the Ravens for a long time. The Steelers and Browns aren’t going to be productive.Both teams will be going thru changes..Cincy and Bal finished the season with a 10-6 record..Both are young and explosive. It will make sense to let these two franchises play..just like R Rice said “the AFCN will be the Bengals and Ravens from now on”.

  32. Patriots-Ravens is such a huge matchup, why use it on week 1? People will watch that game any time all season. And people will watch the opening night game, no matter who is in it.

    Go divisional. Steelers or Bengals.

    Thanks for dissing my Browns, but I don’t want them in that game either. I’d rather see the Steelers or Bengals (or the Ravens) start with a loss so that the Browns have a fighting chance to be ahead of at least one of those teams for at least one week next season.

  33. I’m surprised so many people want to see the Patriots play on opening night. Between the media’s constant bashing of the Patriots (Faulk, Sharpe among others) along with opposing fans insisting that their head coach is “classless” and their quarterback is an “overrated prima donna” I thought everybody just wished that the Patriots ceased operations and folded.

    I’d personally like to see it because win or lose it would be a mini-bye week for the Patriots and since we all know Pollard is going to injure somebody (I don’t think he’s dirty, he’s a great player) it might as well be in week one so that player has a good chance to be back before the regular season ends.

  34. Great. Would love the Pats chances with a healthy Gronk to knock off the world champs to start the season.

    Hope Reed is wearing white and now purple that night as well.

    Is it September yet?

  35. The Baltimore Orioles have a home night game scheduled for the same night. Something may need to change with one or the other…

  36. Better not be the Vikings. Had enough of this garbage when they had to go to New Orleans after they won the Super Bowl. The visiting team is at such a disadvantage.

  37. Personally, I think that the Steelers game is best saved for later in the season. The Ravens are going to have a lot of new faces and the Steelers may be starting to slide back towards the rest of the pack due to age. Division games like their belong in October and beyond.

    The Patriots are the best choice so that the nation can see the pucker on Belicheats face when the Ravens raise their World Championship banner. Then the Ravens will beat them again and we can hear all of the whining over and over again from the Pats fans!

  38. Between overpaying Flacco and losing a boatload of key players to retirement or free agency, the Ratbirds will be irrelevant for years to come.

    Super Bowl hangover baby.
    You can’t escape it.

  39. My gut reaction was that they would put the Texans up there in that game. Playoff team the last 2 years in a good-sized market that’s still seen as on the rise and with a compelling star in J.J. Watt.

    I think some of the other possibilities almost have too much wattage for that opening spot and that the NFL and the TV partners would probably want to save them for later.

    I think the Steelers would be 2nd most likely, since while a marquee game there’s at least the question of whether the Steelers might be taking a step make next year.

    I agree that the interconference games, especially as both are FOX games will be out.

    Bengals have opened the last 2 seasons with the Ratbirds so I don’t see that again.

    Given that the Jets are a high-profile team of questionable merit this would be a chance to put a NY-area team on primetime without the negative of a bad record.

    My guess in order of likelihood:
    1) Texans 2) Steelers 3) Jets 4) Patriots 5) Bengals 6) Browns 7) Packers 8) Vikings


  40. It’ll probably be Patriots-Ravens or Packers-Ravens. The Ravens and Patriots are obviously two teams who know each other well, and the Packers are arguably the most popular team in the NFC.

    Steelers-Ravens will probably be a MNF or SNF game later on in the season anyway, but of course that would be a very good choice too. As a Ravens fan, I’m sort of intrigued by the Vikings-Ravens matchup, but I can’t see it being the first game of the season.

    I can’t deny how much I’d LOVE to see the Ravens have their Super Bowl ceremony while Rex Ryan and Bart Scott have to stand there and watch. That would redefine trolling.

  41. hotdog113 says: Feb 6, 2013 9:43 AM

    When you consider the Ravens will probably not be a competitive team this season, unless a lot of contracts are reworked to free up cap space, the NFL should consider a match up that will produce an exciting, close game, and not a blow out.

    I seem to remember everybody saying that after Suggs tore his AH before this season. How’d that work out? Ravens will be competitive.

    Here’s how things will go down: Everybody will laugh at the Ravens and their “questionable” off-season moves. Everybody will question Ozzie Newsome. The Ravens will be competitive and then everybody will question why they questioned Ozzie Newsome in the first place. Happens pretty much every year. Go Ravens.

  42. “justintuckrule says:
    Feb 6, 2013 11:00 AM
    I disagree on pats. Sure they are a perennial power but they have always been a terrible matchup with Balt. ”

    Pats have a lot more victories than losses against Baltimore while Brady has been leading the Pats. They are not a terrible matchup. Both teams always play hard and a lot of those games won by either side have been decided by a field goal or less.


    Yeah but what’s the Baltimore/new england record look like since Harbaugh has been leading the Ravens? Plus even you have to admit that the Ravens make tom brady play his worst football.

  43. The NFL does two things with Super Bowl champs every time following their big win.

    1: All their tough games are at home.


    2: Garanteed win at home in the season opener against an opponent that will validate the legitimacy of their Championship in the eyes of casual fans.

    It will be the Steelers…


  44. As a Ravens fan, I would love to see the two bullies get it on the first game of the season. Four out of the last 12 super bowls have gone to the AFCN, so let the fun begin!

  45. I can’t think about the first football game of the season just yet. We still have Easter, 4th of July, August heat, Hurricane Season and the beach to get through before I can even begin to think about another game of football.

  46. I do not really care who the Ravens play on opening night. I just want Jack White to be the musical guest and he’s gotta play “Seven Nation Army” and get the entire city of B-more rocking once again!

  47. Based on comments from many of you I really am considering that maybe the Browns end up getting the game………Ravens’ get the win, raise the flags, hand out rings, solidify their claim as champs and the Brown fans watch…….This works for irony and the better matchups happen later in the season.

  48. @znorseman – the schedule is based on a rotation determined before any of the games are played. 7 of those Baltimore home games were already decided beforehand and the 8th was based on the regular season standings. Your post is incorrect.


  49. It should be Ravens/Patriots on the Thursday night season opener. Rematch of the last two AFC championship games and the last two AFC representatives in the Super Bowl. As a Steelers fan, I think no game equals the Ravens/Steelers matchups. But they’re more exciting when they come later in the year when more is on the line. I just hope the league isn’t foolish enough to schedule the games in two weeks of each other as they did this season. It’s nice if there’s at least the appearance that thought went into the scheduling.

  50. Q: what’s the Baltimore/new england record look like since Harbaugh has been leading the Ravens?

    A: 3-3

    2008: did not play
    2009: 1-1
    2010: 0-1
    2011: 0-1
    2012: 2-0

  51. Won’t be Steelers.

    -CBS will block it. They don’t want to lose one of those games. And Steelers opened there a couple years ago…these games need to be later in the year for ratings.

    -Won’t be Bengals. They just opened there.

    I’m guessing Pats for the ratings.

  52. The Ravens could very well open in prime time vs. the Steelers – but this IS the same franchise that requested to not play the Steelers in prime time games in Pittsburgh after 2008 as they were consistently losing those games. It would be ironic.

  53. As a Steelers observer, I want no part of the Ravens in a Thursday night Kickoff Game that’s almost always won by the defending Super Bowl champion home team.
    No matter their opponent, the Ravens will be sky-high for that game. The Steelers, meanwhile, need to figure out a way to beat the bad teams before they square off in primetime with a Super Bowl team.
    The Steelers will probably open the 2013 season without Heath Miller, Rashard Mendenhall, Mike Wallace, Max Starks, Ramon Foster, Willie Colon and Casey Hampton.
    The Ravens on opening night: Thanks, but no thanks.

  54. No way it’s Pittsburgh, as per the schedule the last few years, pirates and steelers never play at home the same weekend, if the steelers play at Baltimore week 1, they will have 3 road games to start the year (1 London game) then bye week and home opener October 12th weekend, pirates play at home weeks 2-3, Steelers will be at home kickoff weekend, let the bengals go there and get destroyed again. Go Steelers!

  55. Please let it be Pittsburgh. All their fans do is talk about how many rings they have and I’m sick of the ones that are my age (36) talking that smack. Seriously? You have just as many titles as BMore in the last 30 seasons, so you can lose that faux smug attitude. The Ravens need to start getting the respect they deserve. This decade only 4 teams have won 140 games and they are the Pats, Colts, Steelers and Ravens. Our team is getting younger while theirs is in decay. Sign Joe to that $136 mil/8yr contract and resign Krueger and Ellerbe, then bring on that old ass 3rd place team on opening day.

  56. The Browns could sign Flacco, Ed Reed, and pull Lewis out of retirement……and Browns/Ravens STILL wouldn’t be the marque game of the first week of the season.

    Don’t kid yourselves.

  57. I would love to see the Steelers on opening night. More exactly, I would love to see the Steelers face on opening night as we unfurl the Championship Banner. I would love to see Flacco open up a can of “eliteness” on them.

    I am so glad the Steelers are in our division. I love playing them.

  58. I vote no to the Patriots. I don’t want to open the season watching Tom Brady look for a place to flop so he can call roughing. I would rather see Rothlesberger hobble around on a spraigned ankle and bent nose.

  59. Doubt that it would be the Steelers. CBS wouldn’t like it. Also, Steelers no playoff team. Probably will be Pats, maybe Packers. They’ll want 2 “elite” QBs in this game.

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