Monday night games, scheduling issues sap Ravens

December 16, 2010|By Jamison Hensley, The Baltimore Sun

The Ravens have a problem with constantly going on the road to play on Monday nights.

Well, the problem isn't the game itself. It's how the Monday night game affects the next game.

By the time the Ravens landed in Baltimore at 5:20 a.m., they were almost a day and a half behind the New Orleans Saints in preparation. The Saints, who played at home last Sunday, had time to review film with their players and even begin work on their game plan before the Ravens kicked off Monday night.

The Ravens aren't the only ones who've had to deal with this disadvantage. Every team that travels to play on Monday night faces this difficulty.

But it seems as if the Ravens are always dealing with this disadvantage. Since coach John Harbaugh became their coach in 2008, the Ravens have played five games on Monday night and all of them have been on the road.

The Ravens' five Monday night road games are the most in the NFL over the past three seasons. Three other teams have played four (Green Bay, Denver and Minnesota) but all of them have had at least one home Monday night game.

The turnaround after the Monday night road game has had an effect on the Ravens, who are 1-3 following them. One of the Ravens' worst performances of the season — a 15-10 loss at Cincinnati in Week 2 — came after a Monday night game at the New York Jets.

The high number of Monday night road games has not gone unnoticed.

"They've shown up for us at probably an abnormally high rate the last three years for some reason," Harbaugh said. "So yeah, we plan on letting the league know about that because when you're put at a disadvantage. It's a problem."

Questions about scheduling aren't anything new for Harbaugh. In 2008, the Ravens had to play 15 straight games without a break because the NFL rescheduled their game at Houston (a result of Hurricane Ike). Last season, the Ravens had to play a team coming off its bye for three straight weeks. This year, they went on the road for four of the first six games.

"You hate to get drawn into that, because I think different teams face different scheduling challenges," Harbaugh said. "We've had our share. You just deal with the hand you're dealt."

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