The Baltimore Ravens nearly beat the eventual Super Bowl champs in last year’s playoffs, but their 2015 postseason hopes may be dashed by the conclusion of Week 7. John Harbaugh's squad is in desperate need of a win when they face the Arizona Cardinals in Phoenix on Monday night.
Having lost five of their first six games, Baltimore is a nine-point underdog against the 4-2 Cardinals, according to vegasinsider.com. All of the Ravens’ games have been close this season, and none of their contests have been decided by more than six points.
“It’s disappointing to lose these close games the way we’re losing them,” Harbaugh said on Monday. “The bottom line is we’re not good enough to win them right now.”
Arizona is coming off a loss in Pittsburgh, but they are beating teams by an average of 25.5 points per game. The Cardinals have lost 10 of their last 12 appearances on Monday night, while the Ravens are 7-2 in their last nine Monday night games.
Bruce Arians' offense has been dealt a few injuries to the receiving corps. Tight end Darren Fells is out with a left shoulder injury, and wide receiver Josh Brown is questionable with a hamstring injury. Brown was limited in practice on Thursday and Saturday, and he sat out practice all together on Friday. The Cardinals have one of the best passing offenses in the NFL, ranking sixth in passing yards per game (284 yards per game).
Brown has been one of the NFL’s best No.2 receivers in 2015. He's second on the team with 33 catches for 497 yards, and he ranks in the top 20 in yards per game. Larry Fitzgerald is already more than halfway to his first 1,000-yard season since 2011, and he could see even more targets if Brown is hampered or can’t play at all.
Baltimore's secondary is banged up. Defensive backs Lardarius Webb, Asa Jackson and Kendrick Lewis are all questionable for Monday’s game. The Ravens have one of the NFL’s worst pass defenses, and it’s been one of the biggest reasons why they only have one win. Baltimore ranks 29th in passing yards allowed per game, and four of the six quarterbacks they’ve faced have thrown their season-high in yards against the Ravens.
The Ravens have been known for their defense for years, but 2015 has been riddled with problems. They rank 26th in opponents’ scoring average (27.0 points per game) and 25th in total defense (380.7 ypg). Baltimore’s run defense, however, has remained one of the best in the NFL. They are third in the NFL, allowing just 3.6 yards per carry. The Cardinals are fifth in the league with 4.7 yards per carry.
The game is set to begin at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN. Viewers can watch a free live stream online with WatchESPN.