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Instant analysis of the Ravens' 2016 schedule

The NFL revealed its master schedule Thursday night. Here's what we think about the Ravens' 16-game draw.

Jeff Zrebiec, beat writer: There will undoubtedly be complaints that the Ravens only have two prime-time games and they again won’t have a Monday night game at M&T Bank Stadium. Ending the regular-season against the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium has gotten a bit tedious as well. However, the schedule doesn’t set up badly for the Ravens at all. Six of their first seven games are against teams that didn’t make the playoffs last year. A Week 8 bye is always a welcome time for a break, and the Ravens are home for four of the next five games after the bye. It is imperative that the Ravens get off to a good start with road games against the Patriots, Steelers and Bengals set for December. Overall, this doesn’t set up too badly for the Ravens who are looking to rebound from a 5-11 season.    

Mike Preson, columnist: The first four or five games of the season seem to work in the Ravens' favor. I like the season opener here with Buffalo, Sexy Rexy Ryan, Tyrod Taylor, Ed Reed and the Buffalo Bills coming to town. And then the Ravens have two road games against Cleveland and Jacksonville, and those two cities are not places where it's hard to win on the road. It certainly isn't like the Ravens' road schedule last year when they went to the West Coast four times in the first half of the season. Plus, the Ravens are playing teams from the NFC East, not exactly a bunch of world beaters. I like the Ravens getting the bye week before they play the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the last four games on the 2016 schedule will make or break the Ravens season. They play New England on the road and then host Philadelphia, but then play at Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. That's a tough stretch.

Ron Fritz, sports editor: This schedule gives the Ravens a chance for a really quick start, unlike last year. It seems like the NFL is making up for last year's brutal schedule. This looks like an 11-5 season and a return to the playoffs. 

Mark Selig, Ravens editor: The team won't have to travel far, considering it's playing the AFC and NFC East this year. And those two divisions don't intimidate you, beyond the Patriots. Finishing in third place last year means the Ravens play the Jaguars and the Raiders -- two teams that beat Baltimore last year and should be stronger in 2016. The Ravens play four games against teams with new coaches. Sure, the first half looks light, but you never know where there are landmines (who thought the Ravens would lose at home against the Jags last year? And that was with Joe Flacco still in the lineup).

Childs Walker, enterprise reporter: The toughest thing about this schedule is the December road slate featuring New England, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. That could be rough if the Ravens are scrapping for a playoff spot. But all in all, this has to feel like a breath of fresh air after 2015. The first half appears particularly gentle, and if the Ravens have their roster in order, they should enter November in strong position.

Peter Schmuck, columnist: The Ravens certainly have a more comfortable travel schedule after all those games out west during the first half of last season. The farthest they have to travel this year is to Dallas and the competition before the Week 8 bye is considerably softer than 2015. Is it me, or do they always seem to draw the Patriots either on the road or at an inopportune time -- or both. They'll travel to Gillette Stadium in Week 14 and will face the Pats on the road for the ninth time in 13 all-time head-to-head meetings (including playoffs).

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