Ravens Heavy Underdogs in the Desert
By Ian S. Palmer
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The Baltimore Ravens head out to the desert on October 26 where they’ll take on the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale in the next installment of Monday Night Football. The Ravens enter the weekend in last place in the AFC North Division with a poor 1-5 record while the Cardinals sit in first place in the NFC West with a 4-2 mark. The Cardinals were taken down 25-13 in Pittsburgh by the Steelers in week seven while Baltimore dropped a 25-20 decision in San Francisco to the 49ers. Arizona was outscored 22-3 in the second half by Pittsburgh after holding leads of 7-0 and 10-3.
Ravens vs Cardinals – 5Dimes NFL BETTING LINE:
- 5Dimes currently lists the Cardinals at -10 at +105 with the Ravens +10 at -125 with the over/under at 48 points with both at -110
The Ravens were Super Bowl champions not too long ago and have fallen on hard times since then. According to history, they’re going to have a hard time making the playoffs this year since the last team to reach the postseason after going 1-5 team did it way back in 1967. The Baltimore secondary was subpar last weekend as 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick had over 340 yards in the air against them and San Francisco is one of the league’s worst passing teams. The Cardinals are among the league’s top teams in the air with 284.2 yards a game on average. Baltimore has a better time defending the rush with an average of 94.5 yards against per contest.
The Ravens’ offense isn’t too bad though as they rank 10th in league scoring with an average of 23.8 points each outing. They run for 111.2 yards per week and gain 258.3 yards in the air. Quarterback Joe Flacco has been throwing the ball mainly to Steve Smith as he has three touchdowns and 510 receiving yards. On the other hand, Justin Forsett is one of the main men in the backfield and he gained 62 yards on the ground last week on 17 runs. The Ravens enter the game 4-0 straight up against Arizona in their last four meetings.
Arizona struggled in both ends of the field against Pittsburgh as they converted just once in four visits to the red zone. Quarterback Carson Palmer completed 29 of his 45 pass attempts and finished the game with 421 yards and a touchdown. However, he was also picked off twice. He should do well against the Ravens and their weak pass defense though. Receiver John Brown had 10 receptions for 196 yards last week and Larry Fitzgerald leads the squad with half a dozen touchdowns and 583 yards in the air.
The Cardinals defense conceded 141 yards to the Steelers’ backfield and they’ve had a problem topping their opponents’ running backs this season. Arizona’s own running game is ranked 11th best in the NFL so far in 2015 at 121.5 yards per contest. Chris Johnson is leading the way with a team-best 445 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Even though the Ravens’ rush defense is good, it’ll have a hard time containing Chris Johnson, Andre Ellington and David Johnson if Palmer can connect with them. The Cardinals are 8-2 both against the spread and straight up in their past 10 games at home.