Arizona Cardinals: Know Your Enemy – Week 7


Let’s take a closer look at how the Arizona Cardinals’ Week 7 opponent stacks up

This week, on the national stage, the Cardinals will take on the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football. The Cardinals have had mixed success on the Monday showcase over the last decade with the Bears debacle still widely quoted, but the impressive win to open the 2014 season against San Diego the most recent trip to Monday Night.

The Ravens, once a defensive powerhouse have fallen on hard times this season with a 1-5 record and sitting near the end of our Power Rankings. The lone win came against the Pittsburgh Steelers who defeated the Cardinals last week.

The Ravens defense has been key to the team’s performance this season, giving up over 380 yards per game and over 280 on average in the air, but a little more stout on the running game only giving up 94 yards/game. The big numbers are in the points allowed, averaging 27 points allowed per game and a whopping 47% third down conversion percentage. By comparison the Cardinals are giving up 19 points per game and just over 34% in third downs. Not great numbers for the red birds, but one-third is still much less than one-half.

The Ravens are led by Joe Flacco, who has won a Super Bowl, and can make the definitive throw when needed, but he’s been impeded by a vacuum of talent on the team save for the soon-to-retire Steve Smith Sr. who is his number one receiver. Aside from Smith, the leading receiver is running back Justin Forsett and Kamar Aiken and Crockett Gilmore. I’ll let those names sink in a little bit.

The team does well on the ground with Forsett averaging 4.4 yards/carry with 457 yards for the season and one touchdown. Don’t expect Joe Flacco to run like Michael Vick or Colin Kaepernick, Flacco has seven running attempts for 4 yards and 2 TDs.

The defense can get to the opposing QB still, with 18 sacks on the season, with an average of 3 per week, but the pass rush is necessary because the secondary just isn’t all that right now accounting for only three interceptions on the year, and teams pass a lot against the Ravens. The Cardinals have 11 INTs over the first six weeks and those are spread over seven players. Carson Palmer will be able to exploit this secondary much like he did with New Orleans and Detroit.

Fantasy Impact

Carson Palmer should have a big day and the secondary, if the offense can put up some scoring, will force Flacco to throw the ball to them. With Patrick Peterson guarding Steve Smith Sr. there’s a lot of opportunities for the rest of the team to make up for the performance from last weekend that saw a fourth stringer QB put on a light show.

The running backs could use some scores as well with the team being held back in the red zone last week and failing to convert when really needed to put up points on an outmatched opponent.

As always, Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown look to have strong showings, with Michael Floyd being thrown in to the mix (provided he isn’t blatantly held in the end zone).


The Ravens may be a lesser team but they can still be dangerous if the Cardinals play like they did last week. I see the team showing everyone on the national stage that they are still the team to beat in the NFC West and predict they’ll come out on top. Cardinals 35, Ravens 14.