Week 7 Tale Of The Tape: Baltimore Ravens At Arizona Cardinals
- QuarterbackThe Ravens are in dead last in the AFC North and five games behind the Bengals, and that’s a shock to preseason prognosticators who had the Ravens as a playoff team and division championship contender. Joe Flacco has not been able to finish drives with touchdowns enough of the time and he has thrown seven interceptions.The Cardinals are likely to be in a foul mood after losing to the Steelers in Week Six. Carson Palmer threw for 421 yards, but he had just one TD pass and two interceptions. Look for Palmer to have a bounce-back game here because he has been so strong this season. He is completing 64.8 percent of his passes and he has a 14-5 TD-interception ratio.
- OffenseThe Ravens are getting production from their running game as Justin Forsett is following up on his breakout 2014 season by averaging 4.4 yards per carry and running for 457 yards. Steve Smith (36-510-3) is at the top of the team’s receiving charts even though he has already said this will be his final season. Kamar Aiken (18-265-2) is a decent No. 2 receiverThe Cardinals have gotten decent production on the ground from Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington, but there’s not a lot of confidence that the Cardinals will continue to get key yards from their running game. Larry Fitzgerald is having a rebirth this year and is still a tough runner after the catch. John Brown is a home run hitter with explosive speed and he is getting better every week.
- DefenseThe Ravens have been struggling on defense since the start of the season, and their inability to cover is one of the primary reasons they have already lost five games. Inside linebacker Daryl Smith has a team-leading 55 tackles and he has 2.0 sacks, while fellow linebacker C.J. Mosley has 35 stops, four passes defensed and 2.0 sacks.The Cardinals have been quite consistent on the defensive end as they rank sixth in yards allowed and they also make big plays that can turn any game around. Free safety Tyrann Mathieu has become a game-changing player who is second on the team in tackles with 36 tackles. He has nine passes defensed and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.
- Special TeamsThe Ravens have gotten an excellent contribution from their special teams, and that’s been the case throughout Harbaugh’s tenure with the team. In addition to getting the job done with the coverage teams, PK Justin Tucker has made 13-of-16 FG attempts.The Cardinals are also quite solid with their coverage teams, as they have not given up a return of more than 41 yards this season. David Johnson and Patrick Peterson are both explosive returners, while Chandler Catanzaro has made 9-of-10 FG attempts.
The Cardinals have played well this season, but head coach Bruce Arians is not happy after a loss and he will push his team hard to prepare for the Ravens. Arizona should find a way to win this game at home and remain in command of the NFC West. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports