Ravens In Tough Against Cardinals In Monday Night Football Showdown
Heading in to the 2015 NFL season the consensus was that the Baltimore Ravens were a legitimate playoff contender that would compete with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals for top spot in the AFC North. It didn’t take long for that outlook to change. The Ravens opened the season with five losses in their first six games and it isn’t about to get any easier for them this week as they visit the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football. Baltimore has lost each of its four games on the west coast so far this season and they will be in tough to stop that trend against an Arizona side that is coming off just its second loss of the year and looking to bounce back at home.
Baltimore Ravens @ Arizona Cardinals
Monday October 26, 2015 – 8:30 PM ET
NFL Betting Line: Arizona -8.5
Only one team since 1967 has managed to turn things around and make the playoffs and the Ravens have certainly hit their low point following last week’s loss at San Francisco. The team decided to return home and then fly back out to Arizona this week but there is no doubt the travels have taken their toll on the team. Baltimore has lost at Denver, Oakland and San Francisco already and each of their five losses have been by six points or fewer. Quarterback Joe Flacco has struggled in big part due to a major lack of weapons beyond Steve Smith and the run game has stalled as well with Justin Forsett held to just 62 rushing yards on 17 carries last week. Meanwhile, the Ravens were torched for 340 passing yards through the air by Colin Kaepernick last week, which is testament to how bad things have gotten for their defense. Baltimore has struggled to generate a consistent pass rush all season and its limited secondary has been hung out to dry. That could be the case again this week as Carson Palmer looks to bounce back from a sub-par performance in last week’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Palmer has thrown for 1,737 yards and 14 touchdowns but he threw two red zone interceptions last week and it cost Arizona. The Cardinals should do a better job with the focus on protecting the football this week and it will help that the Ravens defense ranks 30th in the NFL in takeaways with just four on the season. Palmer and company will have no problem putting up some points on this Baltimore defense but the only question remaining is whether or not they can shut down Flacco and company long enough to cover the spread. 8.5 points is a lot to give up for a primetime game especially when you consider the Ravens haven’t lost a game by more than six points this season so look for Arizona to win but Baltimore to cover in another close loss.
Pick: Baltimore +8.5
The Ravens best shot to win this game will require running the football and keeping the Cardinals defense on the sideline so look for them to take a more methodic approach in order to dominate the possession game. Arizona has the potential to put up some points against this Baltimore defense but they may try to be a little more careful with the football this week and that will only lead to a slower, lower scoring game on Monday Night Football.