Poll: Ravens’ Season-Opening Opponent?

There are several marquee matchups that could open next season’s schedule.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Sunday, March 20th, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

With news that the NFL will release the 2011 regular-season schedule as usual in mid-April, we couldn’t help but think about who the Ravens might kick off against.

Last year, Baltimore opened the season with a memorable Monday Night Football victory against Rex Ryan and the New York Jets at New Meadowlands Stadium. This year, there’s plenty of intriguing possibilities. Here’s a list of the Ravens’ 2011 opponents.

Which would you like to see on Week 1?

Ravens vs. 49ers

Who should be the Ravens' 2011 season-opening game?

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The Battle of Brothers will make for great television and football. Head Coach John Harbaugh said this would be a “must, must-win.” It would be Jim Harbaugh’s NFL head coaching debut, and what better way to make it than against blood? After the talented 49ers had a disappointing 2010 season, it would be interesting to see how they rebound against an AFC power.

Ravens vs./at Steelers
It doesn’t matter when or where this one is, it’s always fierce. Head Coach John Harbaugh said he feels his team gave Pittsburgh two wins in 2010. This would be an early opportunity to cleanse that bad taste. The Ravens have opened against the Steelers three times in franchise history (1998, 2000, 2003).

Ravens vs. Jets
If ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Last year’s 10-9 Ravens victory was thrilling and this rivalry only seems to be getting better with several former Ravens wearing green, the physicality of both defenses and the pregame chatter. Ryan has already guaranteed a Super Bowl win in 2011 – again.

Ravens vs. Colts
If we’re talking about rivalries, how can you leave out this history-laden clash? These two teams didn’t face off against each other in 2010, but the Ravens still have some unfinished business lingering from 2009. The Colts beat the Ravens twice, including in the divisional round of the playoffs.

By the way, the outcome of the season-opener may be a way of predicting whether the Ravens will reach the playoffs (or may be just historical coincidence).

The Ravens have won their home opener seven times in franchise history and gone to the playoffs in six of those seasons, including three straight under Harbaugh. The only time they won their season opener and didn’t reach the postseason was in the inaugural season of 1996. Baltimore has only once reached the postseason after losing its kickoff (2003).

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