Can the Arizona Cardinals neutralize Lamar Jackson in Week 8?

The Arizona Cardinals head into their Week 8 showdown against MVP front runner and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson. Can the Cardinals defense slow him down? Will they be able to keep the game close enough for them to have a chance?
Oct 22, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) rushes during
Oct 22, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson (8) rushes during / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The good news is that the Arizona Cardinals defense don't allow a ton of rushing yards to opposing quarterbacks. The bad news is that they face off against one of the more dynamic duel threats the NFL has ever seen in Lamar Jackson.

The Ravens have tailored their offense more toward Jackson remaining in the pocket with him focusing on pushing the ball downfield with his arm. Just an example of how dangerous Jackson is when running the ball is the fact that he not only leads all NFL quarterbacks in rushing yards, but he is in the top 20 overall in that category.

He has also gained more yards on the ground then some of the top tier running backs. He has rushed for over 100-plus yards once this season already and it's going to take a collective effort from the Cardinals defense in order to contain Jackson.

It all starts with linebacker Zaven Collins. as he has to allow his presence to be felt. Defensive coordinator Nick Rallis would be wise to consider giving Collins free reign and give him the responsibility of keeping Jackson from extending plays.

He should be the assigned spy for Jackson as Collins in good at diagnosing plays as he will also have to be effective communicating with his teammates on pre-snap reads. Linebackers Kyzir White and Dennis Gardeck also must generate some kind of pressure in order to keep Jackson off balance.

Gardeck leads the Cardinals with four sacks and it could make a huge difference in the outcome of the game if either one of these players can get their hands on Jackson. Jackson can definitely hurt a team with his legs but he did the most damage with his arm last weekend as he torched the Detroit Lions secondary for 357 yards and three touchdown passes.

The Arizona Cardinals defensive backs will have their hands full as they have struggled all season

Antonio Hamilton and safety Jalen Thompson have been dealing with injuries as both are likely to be game time decisions. The defense did receive a boost as All-Pro safety Budda Baker returned from injury last week after missing five games.

Baker racked up six tackles in last week's loss to the Seattle Seahawks, but he has the ability to make plays that can swing the momentum if this turns out to be a close game. Baker is a hard-hitting safety who thrives at forcing fumbles, and as the Cardinals last line of defense, he will be responsible for making sure Jackson doesn't get behind their defenders.

It's also imperative that quarterback Joshua Dobbs and the Arizona Cardinals offense helps the defense by having undrafted rookie Emari Demercado gain positive yardage while milking the clock and trying to allow the Ravens fewer possessions. The less time Jackson is on the field, the better the Cardinals chances are to pull off the upset.

Arizona is desperate for a win and haven't looked totally defeated in any of their losses. But in order for them to have any chance at stealing a victory, they have to contain Jackson and can't let him have his way.


(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)