2013 SCHEDULE: While waiting for the season tickets to arrive, I thought about taking a look at this year's schedule. It is way too early to consider how the team will play and what players will be injured, or how good the opponents will be this year, but there has to be something to fill this dead time. 

1. The travel schedule is not bad this year. They have back-to-back away games 9/29 and 10/6, but the next time it is around the Bye Week (10/20, 11/3). The last six games are 3 Home, Away, Home and Away (at Cincinnati again). The first seven are four away and three home, but they then have the Bye. The first two games are 10 days apart, so the normal travel crunch will not be too bad.
2. They host the Steelers on Thanksgiving, after a Sunday home game against the Jets. It is a short week for both teams, and the Steelers only face the Browns beforehand, but they also come off 4 of 5 road games. 
3. Ignoring my anger about the Opening Game, the first home game with the Browns will be a great time to celebrate the Super Bowl. In light of the opponent that day, I am very happy. Hey, Cleveland, how is that trophy?
4. I noticed that six of the opponents will have a heavy road schedule leading up to the game against the Ravens. The Dolphins, Bengals I, and Vikings are 3 of 4 leading up to the Ravens game and the Patriots come to Baltimore for the third of four. The Browns II have back-to-back road games before hosting the Ravens and the Steelers have three of five before traveling here. The Lions and Bengals II though have 2 of 3 at home before hosting the Ravens.

5. The Ravens have five National Games; three away and two at home. There can also be Flex games later in the year. The first one should be at home, but we will not talk about that.
6. The AFC North games are always tough ones. No matter how anybody is doing, you can expect a slobber-knocker even with the Browns. The Bengals are still on the up-swing and the Steelers are always a brass-knuckles brawl. At least the Ravens will have the Bye after the first Round against them and a long week after Thanksgiving the second time.
7. The Rule of Thumb is win the home games and split the road ones; which gives you 12-4. Last year, they were 6-2 at home and 4-4 on the road, although the last loss was a throw-away game. If they can split with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati and sweep Cleveland, they will have a 4-2 record. The NFC North will be tough, especially with Green Bay having an early Bye and the Bears having a home game in November. The Texans should be tough and the Dolphins are an unknown. The Patriots are a known quantity, and the Ravens are not afraid of them. The early part of the year may be good for the offense since Caldwell will get his chance to air out his play-calling, but there may be some growing pains for the defense. 

Barring injury, I feel good about this team. I am confident that Harbaugh will keep them on track to compete and I am sure he will have them fired up to come out and dust off Manning in the opener. Remember, but for two returns for touchdowns, the Ravens would have had a 14 point advantage in the Playoffs. They need to shut up those that say the win last year was fluke.

There are veterans who want a ring and young guys who want to prove they belong in the NFL. I am ready for the season to begin.

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