It is ironic that football has the shortest season of all professional sports in the United States, yet it has amassed the biggest following and it is talked about all year long. The NFL cashed in on this popularity by having a primetime show for the 2012 schedule release on Tuesday night.
When the schedule was released, it was like Christmas in April for all football fans, now we can get on with our lives and plan days off and road trips this fall.
Last season the Baltimore Ravens won their division, the AFC North, which was an awesome thing, but in football having a good season comes back to bite you the following season in the form of having a tougher strength of schedule.
ESPN’s John Clayton said that the Ravens schedule is tougher than the Steelers which resulted from having a first-place schedule last season. It was nice beating the Steelers twice last season and finishing ahead of them, but now we have to work even harder for the chance of winning the division again.
And so the AFC North winning Ravens were rewarded with the 4th hardest schedule in the league for the 2012 season and have four prime-time games in 2012 (including four night games). I don’t like having that many prime-time games; less is more for this team since they do not play well in the national spotlight.
The 2012 season brings a Monday night game to Baltimore when the Ravens will face the Cincinnati Bengals. I would prefer to play on Sunday and not start the season with the whole country watching. I have flashbacks of the MNF game against the Jacksonville Jaguars last season, a game almost too painful to watch.
Weeks 3 and 4 bring two more prime-time home games. The first is against the New England Patriots in what will hopefully be a revenge game for us since they beat us in the AFC Championship game last season. The second is a Thursday night game against the Cleveland Browns. While the Browns may not be the most competitive team, it is an AFC North division game and they will to play us tough. The Ravens will have a short week since they have the Sunday night game so it will be a bit challenging for them with one less day to prep.
What was the NFL thinking when they scheduled the Ravens games for weeks 11-13? First we get to play our division rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers in a Sunday Night game in Pittsburgh. Playing the Steelers is always tough, even tougher on the road, add in the nationally televised game and there is potential for a lot of bloodshed.
After the road game in Pittsburgh, the Ravens head to the west coast to play the San Diego Chargers. West coast games are tough with the travel and time difference so we can only hope that they play to win in San Diego.
As if those two games weren’t bad enough, the Ravens head back home to face their rival again. Twice in two weeks? Are you kidding me? I get that it is easier to game plan when you play the same team twice in a short time frame, but I prefer to spread out the match-ups against my rival, I “love” hating on the Steelers and I look forward to playing them and it would be nice if there was more time in between games to give me something to look forward to.
There will be some tough match-ups this season and I look forward to all of them. Next up is the draft, I can’t wait to see who Ravens recruiting genius Ozzie Newsome selects this season…