Exhale, Ravens fans.
There's been plenty of suspense in Baltimore since the Ravens' season came to an end. Franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson had been tagged and requested a trade, and it appeared the end could be in sight for Jackson in purple and black.
But on the first day of the draft, Jackson signed a five-year, $260 million contract to remain the quarterback of the Ravens and end any speculation about leaving the team.
And it won't be the same Ravens team to which he returns. This is one that will feature Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers at wide receiver, along with a healthy Rashod Bateman. That comes along with another year of Mark Andrews at tight end and J.K. Dobbins coming back at running back to form what should be a much-improved offense from years past.
The question for this team is whether the return of Jackson and the improvements at wide receiver will be enough to catch the Bengals, who have won back-to-back AFC North titles and gone to two straight AFC championship games.
Winning the division will take more than just beating Cincinnati. Baltimore will face a challenging slate that will feature facing teams like the 49ers, Chargers, Lions, Jaguars and Dolphins, all harboring playoff aspirations in 2023.
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Here is a complete breakdown of the Ravens' schedule, including dates, start times and analysis of their slate of games.
Baltimore Ravens schedule 2023
Baltimore's full 2023 NFL schedule with dates, times and TV networks is listed below. The Ravens will face the following teams in 2023.
|Week||Date||Opponent||Kickoff time||TV channel|
|1||Sept. 10||vs. Texans||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|2||Sept. 17||at Bengals||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|3||Sept. 24||vs. Colts||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|4||Oct. 1||at Browns||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|5||Oct. 8||at Steelers||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|6||Oct. 15||at Titans (London)||9:30 a.m. ET||NFL Network|
|7||Oct. 22||vs. Lions||1 p.m. ET||Fox|
|8||Oct. 29||at Cardinals||4:25 p.m. ET||CBS|
|9||Nov. 5||vs. Seahawks||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|10||Nov. 12||vs. Browns||1 p.m. ET||Fox|
|11||Nov. 16||vs. Bengals (Thursday Night Football)||8:15 p.m. ET||Amazon Prime|
|12||Nov. 26||at Chargers (Sunday Night Football)||8:20 p.m. ET||Fox|
|14||Dec. 10||vs. Rams||1 p.m. ET||Fox|
|15||Dec. 17||at Jaguars (Sunday Night Football)||8:20 p.m. ET||NBC|
|16||Dec. 25||at 49ers (Christmas)||8:15 p.m. ET||ABC|
|17||Dec. 31||vs. Dolphins||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|18||Jan. 4-5||vs. Steelers||TBD||TBD|
Ravens strength of schedule
The teams Baltimore faced in 2022 finished the year with a .507 winning percentage. On paper, the schedule looks easier in 2023 as the Ravens' opponents had a collective .484 winning percentage a season ago.
But according to Sharp Football, the schedule actually is a bit more daunting. Based on over/unders from betting markets, Sharp Football ranks Baltimore's schedule as the 11th-most challenging schedule in the NFL and the most difficult one in the AFC North.
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Toughest tests: The division in which it plays aside, Baltimore is lined up to face several formidable NFC squads. While the Cardinals and Rams are rebuilding, the 49ers and Seahawks both reached the playoffs in 2022 and look strong again in 2023.
Facing the second-place NFC North and AFC West teams from a season ago will also provide their challenges, as that means facing the Lions — this year's NFC North favorite — and the powerful passing attack of Justin Herbert and the Chargers.
Biggest breaks: This was an ideal year to draw the NFC West and AFC South as the division matchups. Even if the 49ers, Seahawks and Jaguars look poised to provide major challenges, the remaining teams are looking at rebuilds.
Facing the Dolphins, who beat the Ravens in Week 2 last season, and the Lions are going to be challenges, but Baltimore at least will host both teams. Both teams also have had work to do rebuilding their defenses, while the Ravens have only loaded up on offense.
NFL QB RANKINGS 2023: AFC | NFC
Bottom line: The AFC North isn't getting any easier with the Bengals continuing to build around Joe Burrow, and the Browns and Steelers both addressed several areas of need. In this deep of a division, every clash is going to be filled with pressure.
The road schedule is also a brutal slate for the Ravens. The 49ers, Chargers and Jaguars pose three legitimate challenges as teams that made the playoffs a season ago and still look to be among the toughest in their respective conferences. And while Baltimore might have drawn the second-place NFC North team, the Lions are viewed by many as the favorite to win their division this year.
The Ravens have a better group of receivers in 2023 than perhaps any Jackson has had and the defense should still be among the league's best. Baltimore has all the makings of a playoff team, even if the road to getting past Cincinnati remains a major challenge.
Record prediction: 11-6