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Ravens’ 2020 schedule has five prime-time games, including Thanksgiving night clash at Pittsburgh

After a record-breaking 2019 season dominated by reigning NFL Most Valuable Player Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have become a popular team for league schedule-makers.

They’ll play in five prime-time games in 2020, the league announced Thursday night, including a Thanksgiving night matchup with the AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s the Ravens’ third Thanksgiving game and first since 2013, when they beat the Steelers, 22-20, in a game remembered as much for coach Mike Tomlin’s sideline antics as its narrow finish. The Ravens haven’t played five prime-time regular-season games since 2011, their only season with so many. Under coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens are 14-1 during prime-time home games, including 12 straight wins.

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The NFL’s most anticipated prime-time matchup might be the Ravens’ Week 3 “Monday Night Football” game against the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, pitting Jackson against quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the 2018 NFL MVP. The Chiefs have won the teams’ past two meetings, both in Arrowhead Stadium, by a combined eight points.

The Ravens also have a Week 10 “Sunday Night Football” road game against the New England Patriots, who are replacing quarterback Tom Brady, a six-time Super Bowl champion; a Week 13 home game on “Thursday Night Football” against quarterback Dak Prescott, running back Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys; and a second “Monday Night Football” game in Week 14 on the road against the division rival Cleveland Browns.

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After winning a franchise-record 14 games last season and their second straight division title, the star-studded Ravens are considered among the betting favorites to win Super Bowl LV. While most Las Vegas bookmakers have set the team’s over-under win total at 11.5, the Ravens have the easiest schedule in the NFL based on opponents’ 2019 combined winning percentage (.437). No other team has a strength of schedule below .455.

The Ravens will also host the Tennessee Titans in Week 11, a rematch of last season’s divisional-round playoff upset that ended the Ravens’ 12-game winning streak. Tennessee retained both running back Derrick Henry, who rushed for 195 yards in the 28-12 road win, and quarterback Ryan Tannehill this offseason.

Under the NFL’s scheduling rotation, the Ravens will face opponents from the NFC East and AFC South this season, playing on the road against the Houston Texans (Week 2), Washington Redskins (Week 4), Philadelphia Eagles (Week 6) and Indianapolis Colts (Week 9) and hosting the Titans (Week 11), Cowboys (Week 13), Jacksonville Jaguars (Week 15) and New York Giants (Week 16).

While the Ravens have just one prime-time game through the first nine weeks of the season, four of their final eight games will be nationally televised, including back-to-back Thursday night games in Weeks 12 and 13. And for the second straight season, they will have a Week 8 bye.

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In the preseason, the Ravens will open against the visiting Buffalo Bills, face the Cowboys in Dallas, host the Carolina Panthers and then travel to nearby FedEx Field to play the Redskins. Other than the Aug. 30 game against the Panthers (8 p.m. kickoff), the dates and times of the preseason games have not been finalized.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the Associated Press reported last week that the NFL plans to open the season as scheduled on Sept. 10, with the Chiefs hosting the Houston Texans, and end with the Super Bowl on Feb. 7.

But the league is considering alternatives, including empty stadiums, neutral sites and getting rid of bye weeks, league executive Troy Vincent told the AP. The NFL announced Monday that it is moving its five planned 2020 international games in London and Mexico City back to the United States, and commissioner Roger Goodell outlined protocols for reopening team facilities in a leaguewide memo Wednesday and has told teams to have them in place by May 15.

Ravens 2020 schedule

Week 1 (Sunday, Sept. 13): vs. Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m., CBS

Week 2 (Sunday, Sept. 20): at Houston Texans, 4:25 p.m., CBS

Week 3 (Monday, Sept. 28): vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 8:15 p.m., ESPN

Week 4 (Sunday, Oct. 4): at Washington Redskins, 1 p.m., CBS

Week 5 (Sunday, Oct. 11*): vs. Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m., CBS

Week 6 (Sunday, Oct. 18*): at Philadelphia Eagles, 1 p.m., CBS

Week 7 (Sunday, Oct. 25*): vs. Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m., CBS

Week 8: BYE

Week 9 (Sunday, Nov. 8*): at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m., CBS

Week 10 (Sunday, Nov. 15*): at New England Patriots, 8:20 p.m., NBC

Week 11 (Sunday, Nov. 22*): vs. Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m., CBS

Week 12 (Thursday, Nov. 26, Thanksgiving Day): at Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:20 p.m., NBC

Week 13 (Thursday, Dec. 3): vs. Dallas Cowboys, 8:20 p.m., Fox, NFL Network

Week 14 (Monday, Dec. 14): at Cleveland Browns, 8:15 p.m., ESPN

Week 15 (Sunday, Dec. 20*): vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m., CBS

Week 16 (Sunday, Dec. 27*): vs. New York Giants, 1 p.m., Fox

Week 17 (Sunday, Jan. 3*): at Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m., CBS

*-Flexible scheduling games

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