Baltimore Ravens: 5-2
Arizona Cardinals: 1-6
Odds (Courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook)
Moneyline: Ravens -500; Cardinals +380
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Last 5 Games In Series
Ravens have won four of the past five matchups.
Ravens lead series 5-2-0
The Ravens did not designate inside linebacker Roquan Smith, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. or cornerback Kevon Seymour with injury. They will be healthy to play on Sunday. However, outside linebacker Odafe Oweh trended in the wrong direction, ending the week on a DNP and his status being questionable for the game.
On the other end, the Cardinals are likely to play backup quarterback Joshua Dobbs on Sunday after ruling quarterback Kyler Murray as doubtful for Sunday. It’s probably unwise to bring back the starter against the No. 1 defense who have ravaged quarterbacks in the backfield for the most sacks this season.
Strength vs. Weakness
Last week, the Ravens demolished a defense that was expected to be equally matched for them. Where the Ravens were good, the Lions were, too. But this is not the case this week.
The Ravens enter with the No. 5 offense by DVOA. They’ll be going against the second-worst ranked defense by DVOA, as the Cardinals are ranked only above the paltry Denver Broncos.
A description of how the Ravens offense may work against the Cardinals from Revenge of the Birds’ Seth Cox.
“So, when you want to run the ball. You’ll be able to run the ball,” Cox wrote. “When you want to throw the ball, you’ll be able to throw the ball.”
Following Up After An Emotional Win
The Ravens crumbled after an emotional win over the Bengals. They did so after defeating the Browns, too. But when quarterback Lamar Jackson was asked about it, he deflected the question and considered it nothing.
“I believe we’re going in the right direction right now, if anything,” Jackson said. “[We] just need to keep going. Like I said, keep being consistent.”
The Details We Don’t See
When asked about the defense this week, Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald frequently credited those who may not be making the play, but helping to make the play setting up for others. In one instance, I asked about what it takes to entrust defensive tackle Michael Pierce to drop into coverage. Macdonald answered more about the hidden heavy lifting.
“We’re blessed that we have a unit that plays together, and you can do a lot of different things where different guys are getting credit for stuff,” Macdonald said. “There’s a lot of heavy lifting going on where you’re not necessarily making the play, but you’re setting your teammate up for success. When you have 11 guys playing like that, you have a really good chance to be pretty good.”
Later on, he spoke on more of the same when asked about how the defense is gelling and how it benefits the unit.
“Again, that’s something that goes unnoticed,” Macdonald said. “We talked about in our meeting earlier in the week – it’s about the little details that you don’t necessarily see is what makes the difference and camaraderie and selflessness and effort and execution are things that aren’t necessarily shown to the naked eye when you’re watching the tape.”
Maybe this game, look for where the play isn’t, which will find where the play is made.
Much To Work On
The offense was electric last week. The defense, stalwart. But there’s much to work on, according to Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken, who didn’t deny some of Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner’s criticisms earlier in the week.
“I don’t disagree with some of the things [Kurt Warner was] saying. I think in terms of making sure that we’re on point, in terms of your spacing, in terms of everybody being on the same page, but do I think that’s any different than most weeks? No,” Monken said. “You can break down anybody and say, ‘Hey, I think that was maybe taking the other side of the narrative.’ Because there was so much one side, so you go to the other side of the narrative a little bit. I don’t think either side’s wrong. There were certain things we did that were really outstanding that you look at and say, ‘Wow, we can build on it.’ And there’s other things that can get glossed over because you won, and you look at it and go, ‘That has to be a lot better, or we can’t be who want.’ It’s the same way when you don’t play as well. There’s things that you won’t look at, and you’ll look at it go, ‘Boy, you did that really well,’ and yet, there’s things that you won’t look at it that way because of the way you finished. I don’t disagree with either side of it.”