Carroll County Times

Ravens' 2014 scheduled announced

The Baltimore Ravens' 2014 season will begin against the same team that ended Baltimore's 2013 season.

The NFL announced its regular season schedule Wednesday night, and the Ravens will begin the season with three straight AFC North division matchups.

The first is against the defending division champion Cincinnati Bengals, who eliminated Baltimore from playoff contention in the final game of last year's regular season.

The Ravens' 2014 opponents were announced in December, but the schedule itself was announced Wednesday.

Notable early season matchups aside from the opener include Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Baltimore, the first of three nationally televised games the Ravens are scheduled to play in.

Baltimore then travels to face the Cleveland Browns before returning home to face the the defending NFC South division champion Carolina Panthers, a game that will have extra meaning for new wide receiver Steve Smith.

Smith spent the first 13 seasons of his NFL career with the Panthers, but he was released in March and signed with the Ravens.

After Carolina, Baltimore will travel to face quarterback Andrew Luck and the defending AFC South champion Indianapolis Colts before facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road and then the Atlanta Falcons in Baltimore.

The Falcons advanced to the NFC championship two seasons ago, but both Atlanta and the Buccaneers finished just 4-12 last year.

The Ravens play the Bengals again in Week 8, this time in Cincinnati. They then play their second nationally televised game, and their second nationally televised vs. the Steelers.

That game will be in Pittsburgh.

In Week 10, Baltimore will host the Tennessee Titans, who finished 7-9 last season and recently released former star running back Chris Johnson.

The Ravens then have their bye week before traveling to New Orleans to face the Saints on Monday Night Football.

That will be the first of three games for Baltimore against teams that finished last year 8-8 or better.

New Orleans was 11-5 and made the playoffs. The San Diego Chargers were 9-7 and made the playoffs. And the Miami Dolphins finished 8-8. Like Baltimore, the Dolphins were in playoff contention until the final week of the regular season.

The Ravens then close the season against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Houston Texans and Cleveland Browns, three teams that had a combined record of just 10-38 last year.