If you looked ahead to the Week 7 match-up of Monday Night Football before the 2015 regular season began, you’d have to think the Ravens would enter as live road underdogs against an upstart host in the Arizona Cardinals. Fast forward six games, and my oh my, have things have changed. It’s been a nightmare beginning to the season for the Ravens, seemingly unable to deal with any adversity and their defense has struggled mightily without their heart and soul, Terrell Suggs. The Cardinals meanwhile will enter this primetime match-up a highly motivated group. They’ve began 2015 well, but have struggled lately. Last week however they were recipients of some very questionable officiating and inopportune mistakes. This week against the Ravens, look for a focused outing in a big spot for the Cardinals franchise. It’s a battle of birds, and they’re flying in vastly different directions! Read on below for a detailed game breakdown and the official selection for Week 7 of Monday Night Football.
Ravens vs. Cardinals Betting Odds:
Baltimore Ravens +9 (+100)
@ Arizona Cardinals -9 (-120)
Over 49.5 (-110)
Under 49.5 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Ravens vs. Cardinals Pick:
As mentioned above, it’s time for a statement outing from the Arizona Cardinals, and what a spot to do it. This is an organization that hasn’t received much respect in recent seasons, and playing on MNF against a high-profile Ravens squad represents the type of opportunity this group has longed for. Last week the Cards were sloppy, perhaps looking ahead to their big game this week. Whatever the case, the Cards can be an elite team. Look for quarterback Carson Palmer to rebound in a big way this week. Baltimore boasts one of the worst pass defenses in all of football and really struggle at getting to the quarterback. Not having Suggs has really derailed what was once heralded as a top defensive unit. As a result, expect lots of time, space, and comfort for Palmer in the pocket. When he’s got all of these things – Palmer is as good as anybody at picking apart secondaries. There’s no way Baltimore will be able to cover speedy John Brown or Larry Fitzgerald. Look for big outings from both of the Cards’ dynamic receivers.
On the other side of the football, Joe Flacco seems to have regressed badly in 2015, and we’re all aware of his struggles on the road vs. his performance at home. Flacco didn’t protect the ball or manage the game well at all last week in an embarrassing loss to a bad Niners squad. It’s admittedly not easy on him as his protection on his O-line isn’t the greatest. Though it has improved in recent weeks, the Cardinals have the type of personnel that can and likely will make Flacco’s night quite difficult.
The Cards are also quite stingy in their secondary – they don’t give up much. Right now, Flacco doesn’t have a very talented array of weapons at his disposal, and as a result moving the chains on a regular basis simply won’t happen. Basically all Flacco has is Steve Smith Sr., and when the Cards’ inevitably shut him down, the Ravens won’t have many other options. With 16 turnover-worthy throws through six weeks (second-most in the NFL), Flacco is bound to be forced into mistakes and more of those throws. Arizona boasts an opportunistic defense and will make the Ravens pay for their sloppiness. Making matters worse is that the Ravens likely won’t be able to simply hand the ball off to Justin Forsett over and over. The Cards have a tough run defense that has allowed just one rusher to eclipse the 100-yard mark.
Even though the Ravens haven’t lost by more than six points in any game, they’re playing brutal football right now and the Cards are looking like one of the NFL’s elite teams. Carson Palmer has found the fountain of youth, and leads a motivated group that has its collective eyes set on the post-season. There’s no way the Ravens defense can keep pace with an explosive aerial attack of the Cardinals. Look for the Cards to roll by double digits on Monday night.
PICK = Cardinals -9 (-120)