Baltimore Ravens 2022 schedule: Championship mettle tested in October

Lamar Jackson needs to stay healthy if the Ravens are going to rebound from a last-place finish in the AFC North. Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens' 2022 schedule was released along with the rest of the NFL slate Thursday.

The season will kick off on Thursday, Sept. 8 with the Los Angeles Rams hosting the Buffalo Bills at SoFi Stadium. ESPN opens its schedule with Monday Night Football on Sept. 12, featuring the Denver Broncos hosting the Seattle Seahawks.

The NFL expanded to 17 regular-season games last season. The final regular-season games in 2022 will be played Jan. 8, 2023. The playoffs begin Jan. 14, and continue through Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12, in Glendale, Arizona.

Here's what in store for the Ravens:


Sept. 11: at N.Y. Jets

Sept. 18: vs. Miami

Sept. 25: at New England

Oct. 2: vs. Buffalo

Oct. 9: vs. Cincinnati (SNF)

Oct. 16: at N.Y. Giants

Oct. 23: vs. Cleveland

Oct. 27: at Tampa Bay (TNF)

Nov. 7: at New Orleans (MNF)

Nov. 13: BYE

Nov. 20: vs. Carolina

Nov. 27: at Jacksonville

Dec. 4: vs. Denver

Dec. 11: at Pittsburgh

Dec. 17 or 18: at Cleveland

Dec. 24: vs. Atlanta

Jan. 1: vs. Pittsburgh

Jan. 7 or 8: at Cincinnati

Strength of schedule: 23rd, .474

Biggest takeaway

Lamar Jackson and the Ravens will find out whether they are championship contenders in October, when they face the Buffalo Bills (the current Super Bowl favorite), Cincinnati Bengals (the Super Bowl runners-up) and Cleveland Browns (with newly acquired quarterback Deshaun Watson) at home before traveling to play at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady on Thursday Night Football. Baltimore is 9-1 in October with Jackson as its starting quarterback. To win their first AFC North title since 2019, the Ravens will have to prove they can win away from home – and stay healthy – late in the season. For the third straight year, Baltimore plays three AFC North road games in December and January. It's the first time this has happened since the 2002 division realignment. The Ravens have played 11 road division games in December and January since 2016 (tied for the most in the NFL), going 4-7 (3-2 with Jackson as their starter).

Revenge game

Actually, it’s revenge games. Circle Weeks 9 and 18. The Ravens know the road to the AFC North title goes through Cincinnati, and they have the tire burns from last year to prove it. The Bengals became the first team to produce multiple 40-point games in a season against the Ravens, and Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow became the first player in NFL history with multiple 400-yard passing games in a season against the same team. This probably explains why Baltimore significantly upgraded its secondary this offseason. The Ravens’ biggest free-agent splash was safety Marcus Williams, and their first pick in the NFL draft was safety Kyle Hamilton. The Ravens received prime opportunities to show how much they’ve improved against the Bengals. Baltimore has a nationally televised Sunday night home game against Cincinnati (Oct. 9) and then plays at the Bengals in the regular-season finale (Jan. 7 or 8), which could decide the AFC North title.

What the oddsmakers think

The oddsmakers have the Ravens’ win total at 9.5. Baltimore will hit the over as long as Jackson remains healthy, which was a major issue last year. Since Jackson took over as the starter midway through the 2018 season, his winning percentage (.755, 37-12 record) ranks only behind that of Patrick Mahomes. Without Jackson, Baltimore is 2-5 (.286) over the past three seasons.

Bold prediction

The Ravens win the AFC North to become the NFL’s latest team to go from last place to first. This has happened in 17 of the last 19 seasons, and the Ravens are in a great position to continue this trend. Baltimore gets back six starters who suffered season-ending injuries last year, along with a healthy and motivated Jackson, who is entering his fifth-year option. That’s a major boost to a Ravens team that lost five games by three points or fewer last season, including a one-point defeat to the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams.