In honor of the Ravens 2012 season kickoff on Monday Night Football, I thought I would offer a special edition of the weekly Five Things You Need To Know that is all about the purple and black.
The Ravens will take on the Cincinnati Bengals Monday night at 7 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.
1. According to ESPN, the Ravens are the only team to make the playoffs in each of the last four seasons. They have totaled 49 wins during the stretch and once again are projected to be playoff contenders for this year.
2. When it comes to competition in the AFC North, recently it has been a battle between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Ravens. However, this year, Sports Illustrated has projected the Bengals to finish ahead of the Steelers and in second place in the AFC North. Much of that success will rely on consistency from Cincinnati’s second-year quarterback Andy Dalton.
3. The Ravens will be playing a majority of the season without 2011's Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs, who isn’t expected to return until November due to a torn Achilles tendon. This will be one of Baltimore’s biggest tests this season. While they may be able to replace the 70 tackles and 14 sacks he contributed in 2011, it will be much more difficult to replace the effect he had on opposing quarterbacks who were forced to account for him simply because he was on the field.
4. The Ravens will be expecting big things out of Ray Rice this year, who recently signed a base contract worth $35 million for five years. Joe Flacco enters his contract year and has one last chance to prove he is a franchise quarterback worthy of a mega deal like the ones signed by other big name quarterbacks in the offseason.
5. If you are looking to go out to catch the Ravens—Bengals action, you could try in Severna Park. Get there early and enjoy happy hour from 4-7 p.m. and watch the game on one of their many flat-screen TVs.