Does the Ravens secondary stand a chance against the Cardinals passing game?


Sep 27, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) talks with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) and John Brown (12) against the San Francisco 49ers at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Take a look around, and you’ll find that basically no one is giving the Baltimore Ravens a shot at beating the Arizona Cardinals in week 7 on Monday Night Football.  It’s not just because we are witnessing a 1-5 team take on a 4-2 team, either.

No, it’s just hard to figure out how the Ravens, who sport the NFL’s 6th worst passing defense, are going to stop the Cardinals passing offense, which ranks 7th in the NFL.  It’s a classic case of a severe mismatch.

Making matters worse, despite their surprisingly ranked 9th best NFL offense, the Ravens aren’t equipped to come back from large deficits.  Much of their yardage has been achieved when the team is in comeback mode, trying to regain the lead in the 4th quarter.

Add that to the fact that the Cardinals have a tough pass defense (9th) that is among the NFL’s best at guarding #1 receivers and tight ends, and you have a recipe for a potential blowout.  It’s a scary proposition indeed.

Several other factors ramp up the difficulty index of this game – it’s in Arizona (a second straight west coast trip for the Ravens), the Ravens two best offensive players are banged up (Steve Smith and Justin Forsett), and the Ravens’ already bad secondary is fighting multiple injuries as well.

If you can envision a pair of deep touchdowns to John Brown and/or Larry Fitzgerald early on in the game coupled with a pair of 3 and outs or turnovers, I don’t blame you.  It’s too easy to see this one ending with a score more lopsided than the current 8 1/2 point betting line predicts.

So is there any hope that the Ravens can pull off the upset of the week, let alone play a competitive game tonight?  Generally, when we expect teams to get decimated, they tend to play their best football.  Good coaching can do that for an NFL squad.

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We saw it last week with the Colts, when they played their arch nemesis Patriots much tougher than anyone expected.  After getting blown out of the building in four straight contests, they finally seemed to figure things out.  It only took a horrendous fake punt to doom what was otherwise an impressive effort.

We saw it with the Raiders and Browns, both of whom took the undefeated Broncos down to the wire is back to back weeks.  Both of those games were expected blowouts as well, as was the Seahawks/Panthers contest in Seattle last week.

So my point is, anything is possible in the modern day NFL.  If you think that the Ravens are going to give up and finish the season 1-15, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.  They will get some more wins when it’s all said and done.  It’s just hard to see them getting one tonight.

Next: Ravens and Cardinals Preview and Prediction

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