For the second straight week, the Ravens will face a 1-5 team coming off five straight losses. Sounds harmless enough, but after Monday night's debacle against the Jaguars, we all know no team is to be overlooked the rest of the way out.
The Cardinals might have dropped five in a row, but as was the case with Jacksonville, all but one of those games have been highly competitive. Another similarity between the Cards and Jags is that both teams faced the Steelers - and kept things close with the Ravens' arch rival - leading up to their battle with Baltimore.
The Ravens hope that's where the similarities between Arizona and Jacksonville end. Here's how the Ravens and Cardinals match up statistically:
Ravens: 330.3 yards per game (20th)
Cardinals: 338.5 yards per game (16th)
Ravens: 107.0 ypg (19th)
Cardinals: 98.0 ypg (24th)
Ravens: 223.3 ypg (17th)
Cardinals: 240.5 ypg (13th)
Ravens: 272.7 ypg (1st)
Cardinals: 388.3 ypg (26th)
Ravens: 85.8 ypg (3rd)
Cardinals: 114.2 ypg (14th)
Ravens: 186.8 ypg (4th)
Cardinals: 274.2 ypg (28th)
Ravens: +4 (t-6th)
Cardinals: -5 (t-25th)
The Cardinals will have one thing working against them as soon as they step foot off the plane this weekend - they'll be playing on the road. Arizona has dropped 10 straight road games, and making matters worse will be the fact that they're taking on an East Coast opponent. Former Cardinals and current Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin commented this week that 1 p.m. games can be really tough on West Coast teams because kickoff feels so early in the morning.
Arizona's offense is led by quarterback Kevin Kolb - acquired this offseason in a trade with the Eagles - and All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald is a prototypical wideout; he can beat you deep down the field, rip a jump-ball away from you or out-muscle you on a slant or a short route near the line of scrimmage. Boldin's former running mate often draws double-teams, especially now that he lacks a legitimate threat opposite him.
Running back Beanie Wells has gotten off to a strong start to the season, putting up 423 yards and six touchdowns through six games. Wells might be a gametime decision for Sunday's game, however, as he's battling a knee injury suffered against Pittsburgh on Sunday. As for Kolb, he's been inconsistent this season, throwing four touchdowns to just one interception in his first two games of the year combined, but tossing five picks and only two TDs over his last three contests.
Defensively, the Cardinals utilize a 3-4 front and are fairly solid up front. Defensive end Calais Campbell (2.5 sacks this season) could be a threat to tackles Michael Oher and Bryant McKinnie off the edge, while linebacker Daryl Washington has done a nice job in the middle for Arizona. Washington is quietly turning into a quality player in just his second season, and has two sacks and an interception to go along with his 30 tackles on the year.
Arizona is young at cornerback, as their two starting corners (Patrick Peterson and A.J. Jefferson) have a combined 12 NFL starts, all of which have come this year. Peterson, a rookie first-round pick out of LSU, has talent, but the Ravens could look to exploit the Cardinals' inexperience on the outside.
It will be interesting to see how the Ravens bounce back from Monday's loss when they hit the field against Arizona. Will any of that offensive stench carry over into Sunday, or will John Harbaugh's group come out determined to put the stinker in Jacksonville behind them?
I think we'll see an inspired performance against a mediocre Arizona team, with the Ravens looking to reestablish the ground game and then mix in some play action to suck in the safeties and allow for one-on-one opportunities down the field against the Cardinals' corners.
Will it be a dominating effort? Maybe not; after all, the Cardinals have a decent amount of talent on both sides of the ball and will be fired up to get back in the win column. But it will be a win for the guys in purple.
Put me down for a 26-13 Baltimore victory.
Now it's on you: Are you feeling a bounce-back win at home for Harbaugh's bunch, or do you envision a repeat of Monday's effort and another disappointing loss?
Who you got?