The Ravens begin the 2017 regular season in Cincinnati so they won't have to end it there for the sixth time in seven seasons. They avoid going to Green Bay in December. They'll have a near midseason bye week. They'll close the year with back-to-back games at home.
However, the one aspect of their schedule, revealed Thursday during a prime-time television special, that almost certainly generated the most smiles at the Under Armour Performance Center was their Monday night home game against the Houston Texans on Nov. 27.
It's the first time the Ravens will host "Monday Night Football" since they opened their Super Bowl-winning 2012 season against the Bengals. Since that game, the Ravens have played five Monday night road games, a fact not lost on coach John Harbaugh and the team's fans.
The Monday matchup with the reigning AFC South-winning Texans is one of three prime-time games scheduled for the Ravens, who went 8-8 last season and missed the playoffs for the third time in four years. They will also play the Miami Dolphins at 8:25 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 26, at M&T Bank Stadium, and they'll go on the road to face the archrival Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, Dec. 10 at 8:30 p.m.
The Ravens and Steelers will meet for the first time in Week Four (Oct. 1) in Baltimore, which follows the Ravens' Sept. 24 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium in London. That's the Ravens' first-ever overseas game.
While teams have traditionally received bye weeks after the London games, the Ravens asked the league for a later week off and their request was granted. Their bye week will come during Week 10, sandwiched around road games against the Tennessee Titans (Nov. 10) and the Green Bay Packers (Nov. 19).
After the Packers' game, the Ravens will be at home for four of their final six games, closing with games at M&T Bank Stadium against the Indianapolis Colts (Dec. 23) and Bengals (Dec. 31).
In 2017, the Ravens will play seven of their 16 regular-season games against teams that made the playoffs last season.
Here's a look at the schedule:
At Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Sept. 10, 1 p.m.
Skinny: Instead of closing the regular season in The Queen City, like they've done in five of the past six years, the Ravens will open it at Paul Brown Stadium for the first time since 2007. They haven't won there in five straight seasons. Marvin Lewis might be coaching for his job this year.
Vs. Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Sept. 17, 1 p.m.
Skinny: Since 2008, the Browns are just 1-8 at M&T Bank Stadium and their one win came in overtime during the Ravens' disastrous 5-11 season in 2015. The Browns haven't had a winning season since 2007, but with 13 picks in next week's draft, help should be on the way.
At Jacksonville Jaguars in London, Sunday, Sept. 24, 9:30 a.m.
Skinny: Jacksonville has played four straight seasons at Wembley Stadium, while this is the Ravens' first ever overseas contest. The Jaguars are 4-4 at Wembley. The Ravens requested to not have a bye after the Week Three matchup and their wishes were granted by the league.
Vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Oct. 1, 1 p.m.
Skinny: The Ravens return from London to face their biggest rivals in an afternoon game between two teams that traditionally play in primetime. The Steelers haven't beaten the Ravens in Baltimore since December of the 2012 season. The Ravens have also won five of the last seven overall meetings.
At Oakland Raiders, Sunday, Oct. 8, 4:05 p.m.
Skinny: With the Raiders moving to Las Vegas for the 2020 season, this could be the Ravens' final trip to the coliseum, where they won a memorable AFC championship game in 2001. Derek Carr, Khalil Mack and the upstart Raiders will start the season as one of the AFC favorites.
Vs. Chicago Bears, Sunday, Oct. 15, 1 p.m.
Skinny: The last time the Bears played in Baltimore was in 2009. With new quarterback Mike Glennon at the helm, Chicago will be attempting to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2010. John Fox is just 9-23 in two seasons as the Bears' head coach.
At Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Oct. 22, 1 p.m.
Skinny: Playing for a second consecutive week against an NFC North foe, the Ravens will be making their first ever trip to U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings will be entering a new era without long-time star running back Adrian Peterson. Minnesota went 8-8 last year despite starting 5-0.
Vs. Miami Dolphins, Thursday, Oct. 26, 8:25 p.m.
Skinny: On a short week, the Ravens will be happy to be at home for the Thursday night matchup. This will be the fifth straight regular season where these two teams have met with the Ravens winning three of the previous four games. The Ravens and Dolphins will also play in the preseason in Miami.
At Tennessee Titans, Sunday, Nov. 5, 1 p.m.
Skinny: Hopes are high this year for the Marcus Mariota-led Titans who barely missed the playoffs last season, finishing with a 9-7 record, tied for their most wins since 2008. That was also the last time they made the playoffs. The Ravens haven't won a regular-season game in Tennessee since 2006.
At Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Nov. 19, 1 p.m.
Skinny: Is this too early for the tundra to be frozen? Following a Week 10 bye, the Ravens visit Lambeau Field for the first time since 2009. In John Harbaugh's tenure, the Ravens have been to Lambeau Field just once. With Aaron Rodgers at the helm, Green Bay has made the playoffs eight straight years.
Vs. Houston Texans, Monday, Nov. 27, 8:30 p.m.
Skinny: At long last, the Ravens will host a Monday Night game at home, their first since September 2012. Under Bill O'Brien, the Texans have finished 9-7 in each of the last three seasons and made the playoffs the past two years. They have one of the league's best defenses.
Vs. Detroit Lions, Sunday, Dec. 3, 1 p.m.
Skinny: Detroit has made the postseason in two of the past three years, but the Lions haven't won a playoff game since 1991. This game will be a homecoming for a host of ex-Ravens, including coach Jim Caldwell, defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and right tackle Rick Wagner.
At Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Dec. 10, 8:30 p.m.
Skinny: The trip will undoubtedly bring back bad memories of the Ravens' last trip to Heinz Field when they were just inches away from beating the Steelers and taking control of the AFC North. It wouldn't seem a football season without a primetime game between the two rivals.
At Cleveland Browns, Sunday. Dec. 17, 1 p.m.
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Skinny: The Browns, who were 1-15 last year, hold the first and 12th picks in next Thursday's first round. The Ravens will find out next week whether they'll be preparing for Texas A&M pass rusher Myles Garrett, North Carolina quarterback Mitchell Trubisky or perhaps both.
Vs. Indianapolis Colts, Saturday, Dec. 23, 4:30 p.m.
Skinny: With Christmas Eve falling on a Sunday, the Ravens and Colts will play a day earlier. This marks former Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano's first trip back to Baltimore since the 2012 playoffs. Indianapolis has missed the postseason in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1997-98.
Vs. Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 31, 1 p.m.
Skinny: For the seventh time in eight seasons, the Ravens and Bengals will play in their regular-season finale. Will the game have AFC North ramifications? The Bengals have been hit hard in free agency this offseason, but they still have Ravens' killer A.J. Green.