Game Overview ::
By Mike Johnson >>
- The Ravens have the highest implied team total on the slate and are coming off a convincing win over the Lions.
- The Cardinals have been struggling despite some promising signs early in the season and now have a 1-6 record – but they may be getting Kyler Murray back soon.
- The Ravens should be able to move the ball in any manner they choose while the Cardinals will be throwing things at the wall and hoping they stick.
- Baltimore is coming off the most pass-heavy game this season in terms of Pass Rate Over Expectation (PROE) and appear to be hitting their stride in their new offensive system.
- There are signs for concern with the tempo of this game, mainly due to the play calling of the Cardinals and the pace of the Ravens.
How baltimore Will Try To Win ::
The Ravens faced arguably their toughest test of the season in Week 7 when they welcomed the scorching-hot Lions to town, and Baltimore passed with flying colors. The Ravens not only pulled off the victory, they absolutely dominated Detroit from start to finish, building a 28-0 halftime lead and coasting to an easy 38-6 win. Lamar Jackson took another step in his return to the top echelon of NFL QB’s and the team’s offense had their highest single-week PROE of the year, as things seem to be settling into place and Lamar is starting to roll in new offensive coordinator Todd Monken’s system.
This week, Baltimore will travel west for a game against a flailing Cardinals team that has lost its last four games by an average of 15 points. By all accounts, the Ravens *should* dominate this game on both sides of the ball. Baltimore is the top-rated team in the NFL by overall DVOA, while ranking in the top five in both offensive and defensive DVOA rankings. Baltimore and Kansas City are the only teams that hold such a distinction, signifying how strong a contender both teams are. However, the NFL can be random and chaotic, with unpredictable outcomes happening on a weekly basis. If ever there was a set-up for a huge letdown game, this would be as they come following a huge home win against a team they were “up” to play and now traveling to sunny Arizona for what appears to be a “cakewalk” game. The Ravens are well coached, so they should be prepared and avoid that trap, but the situation is at least worth being aware of.
From a tactical standpoint, the Ravens are taking the training wheels off Jackson. Baltimore led the NFL in PROE in Week 7, setting a season high as they took it to a Lions defense that had previously been playing at an elite level. Jackson threw for 255 yards and two touchdowns in the first half of that game, while also running for a touchdown. Gus Edwards and Justice Hill each played exactly 50% of the snaps in Week 7, but Edwards has taken control of the Ravens backfield at this point in the year, as he had 15 opportunities compared to Hill’s five. Over the last four weeks, Hill has averaged 5.5 carries and 2.5 targets per game, while Edwards has averaged 14.3 carries and 1.3 targets per game. Lamar is averaging nearly 10 carries per game himself, which takes a big chunk of the backfield work away, but Edwards has established himself as the lead running back who also has goal-line duties.
This week, the Ravens face a Cardinals defense that has given up 30 or more points in three of the last six games and has given up at least 20 in four straight contests. Arizona ranks in the bottom five in the NFL against both the run and the pass, and the Cardinals play a relatively conservative style of defense that focuses on taking away big plays and forcing teams to march down the field with long possessions – effectively shortening the game like a high school basketball team playing “stall ball” and running two minutes off the clock per possession. The Ravens should be able to play exactly how they want to, attacking the intermediate areas of the field through the air and leveraging Jackson’s dual-threat ability to create running lanes for him and their backs.