Oct 18, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians talks with quarterback Carson Palmer (3) during the second half against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. The Steelers won the game, 25-13. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Week 5: Baltimore Ravens (1-5) @ Arizona Cardinals (4-2)
When: Monday, 10/26/2015 at 8:30 p.m.
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
Live Stream: ESPN
Radio Crew: Gerry Sandusky, Stan White, Qadry Ismail
Preview: It’s pretty safe to say that the schedule makers probably had something more exciting in mind when they lined up a Ravens and Cardinals Monday night matchup in late October. Both of these teams had excellent 2014 seasons and both were early favorites to contend for a Super Bowl.
While the Cardinals have largely lived up to those expectations through 6 weeks, the Ravens have not, and are in fact on their way to perhaps the worst season in franchise history. Injuries, lack of depth, and general ineffectiveness have led to a franchise worst 1-5 start.
The Cardinals, meanwhile, have looked like one of the better teams in the NFL on their way to a 4-2 record. The loss of starting quarterback Carson Palmer last season tanked their title hopes, but a healthy Palmer has made them the NFL’s 5th best offense through 6 weeks (405.7 yards per game).
It’s a nightmare scenario for the Ravens, who have been getting torched by the likes of Josh McCown and Colin Kaepernick in recent weeks. The Ravens have the 6th worst pass defense in the NFL, giving up 286.2 yards and 27 points per game on average.
The Cardinals also sport the NFL’s 11th best rushing attack (121.5 yards per game), but are facing a stingy Ravens front seven that is 9th in the NFL, allowing only 94.5 yards per game on the ground. The Cards might just opt to tear the Ravens apart through the air instead.
On the flip side, the Ravens surprisingly sport the NFL’s 9th ranked offense(369.5 ypg), but face a stiff test in the Cardinals 6th ranked defense. The Cardinals are better defending the pass (9th) than the run (16th), so the Ravens might be wise to try and play keep away by pounding it on the ground this week.
Still, it’s hard to see the Ravens escaping Arizona with the win here, and it’s truly hard to believe that they can even keep pace with the Cardinals’ explosive offense. They simply have no answer for a resurgent Larry Fitzgerald and speedy John Brown, who figure to run freely all day and have their way with the Ravens’ DB’s.
Betting line: Ravens 48u -10, 49ers -8 1/2, -10
Prediction: Cardinals 31, Ravens 20
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