3. Running through a gauntlet of AFC North rivals in three straight games.

The Ravens will get an opportunity to get a leg up on their AFC North rivals during a challenging stretch that starts Oct. 20 at Heinz Field. After playing the Steelers for the first time in 2013, they get their bye week before traveling to Cleveland then hosting Cincinnati. Assuming Ben Roethlisberger is healthy, the Steelers will pose problems for the Ravens. The Browns might be better with a new coach, a strong draft and the addition of former Ravens pass rusher Paul Kruger. And the Bengals have made the playoffs three times in four seasons. The Ravens will likely need to win at least two of these key divisional games.

( Gregory Shamus, Getty Images / November 12, 2012 )

The Ravens will get an opportunity to get a leg up on their AFC North rivals during a challenging stretch that starts Oct. 20 at Heinz Field. After playing the Steelers for the first time in 2013, they get their bye week before traveling to Cleveland then hosting Cincinnati. Assuming Ben Roethlisberger is healthy, the Steelers will pose problems for the Ravens. The Browns might be better with a new coach, a strong draft and the addition of former Ravens pass rusher Paul Kruger. And the Bengals have made the playoffs three times in four seasons. The Ravens will likely need to win at least two of these key divisional games.

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