Sun, 31 May 2020

Impact of Free Agency on Ravens 2020 Schedule

Baltimore Ravens
28 Mar 2020, 04:25 GMT+10

Most of the significant moves during NFL free agency have taken place, and some teams look dramatically different than just two weeks ago. The Ravens don't know the exact date of next year's games yet, but they know their opponents:

Home: Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans

Away: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh, Washington Redskins

Here are five opponents on the Ravens' 2020 schedule who were major players in free agency:

Patriots - Let's start with the biggest headline of free agency, Tom Brady leaving the Patriots to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Will the Patriots remain a Super Bowl contender without Brady, or is next season a rebuild in the legendary career of New England Head Coach Bill Belichick? When the Ravens face the Patriots, we don't know if their quarterback will be Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer, Cody Kessler or somebody not currently on their roster. But it won't be Brady, who's had some memorable games against Baltimore during his 20-year career. With Brady now in the NFC, the Ravens will only see him next season if they meet Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl.

Colts - Philip Rivers is another big-name quarterback switching teams, moving to Indianapolis from the Los Angeles Chargers. The Ravens know Rivers can be dangerous. The last time they saw Rivers, he and the Chargers defeated Baltimore in the 2018 divisional round of the playoffs. Rivers had an off season in 2019, throwing almost as many interceptions (20) as touchdown passes (23). The Colts are still feeling the impact of quarterback Andrew Luck's surprising retirement last year, and they hope Rivers can fill the void. But when Baltimore visits the Colts, newly-acquired defensive lineman Calais Campbell and Baltimore's defense will be looking to ruin Rivers' day.

Browns - Cleveland added another marquee weapon by signing Pro Bowl tight end Austin Hooper. Another key addition was former Titans right tackle Jack Conklin, who should provide Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield with more protection. Nobody can say the Browns have a shortage of offensive weapons with Hooper, Mayfield, Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. The Browns had great expectations in 2019 but finished 6-10. However, Cleveland was one of two teams to beat the Ravens during the regular season, and the two Ravens-Browns games in 2020 will be important AFC North matchups.

Bengals - Cincinnati held onto star receiver A.J. Green by placing the franchise tag on him. Green missed the entire 2019 season with an ankle injury and his return in 2020 will be a major boost to the Bengals' offense. The Bengals are expected to take LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the first pick in the draft, and Green will be Burrow's No. 1 target. The Bengals also bolstered their defense with the signings of defensive lineman D.J. Reader and cornerback Trae Waynes. The Bengals were 2-14 last season, but Baltimore's two matchups with Cincinnati in 2020 figure to be challenging.

Titans - It's not so much who the Titans added, it's who they didn't lose. They kept their two biggest free agents - re-signing quarterback Ryan Tannehill and placing the franchise tag on running back Derrick Henry. Nobody needs to remind Ravens fans what happened the last time Henry and Tannehill came to Baltimore. Their return to M&T Bank Stadium will be highly anticipated, with the Ravens looking for some revenge.

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