Due to a scheduling conflict with the Baltimore Orioles baseball team, the Baltimore Ravens will be forced to start their defense of their 2012 championship on the road in the Thursday night season opener.
The Ravens are scheduled to play the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions on the road in 2013, but for obvious ratings reasons, half of those teams can likely be eliminated as being the possible opponent. In reality, the Steelers, Broncos and Dolphins figure to be the three teams in the running to host the game.
While the television ratings for a Ravens-Steelers game would be strong, a Ravens-Broncos game would more than likely be the way that the league goes, as it would feature a rematch of two teams that met in the playoffs last season. The Ravens of course won that overtime game in Denver 38-35 thanks in part to the Broncos giving up a 70-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Flacco to wide receiver Jacoby Jones on third down with 41 seconds left in regulation.
Should the league decide instead to let the Steelers host the Ravens, it would be the second time in three seasons that the two division rivals have opened the season against each other.
The full 2013 schedule will be released next month.