A little more than 24 hours from kickoff, it's time to make some predictions concerning the upcoming contest between Arizona and Baltimore.
First off, this game is a lot closer than the Vegas line (Baltimore by 8) might indicate. The Cardinals are a talented football team headed in the right direction and Baltimore hasn't been dominant yet this season. The Ravens' offense isn't overpowering and the defense could struggle to contain all the weaponry the Cards sport on offense. So if I were a betting man, I'd put my money on Arizona to cover the spread.
That said, it could be a long day. The biggest key rests on the legs of Edgerrin James. He'll need to gain positive yardage in chunks to open up the passing game and keep Baltimore from focusing too hard on the passing game. The offensive line was great last week and they'll need a similar performance this time around to have any chance of victory.
Meanwhile, Arizona's defense will need to keep Willis McGahee from making any big plays. Steve McNair is starting at quarterback and he looked suspect week one against Cincinnati.
Point is, this isn't a game either team should win easily. The Ravens are a disciplined football team that relies on their defense to keep games close. Arizona will need to exploit that by keeping them honest with a blend of solid running and a smart passing game.
Arizona -- 20
Baltimore -- 23
Matt Leinart: 200 yards passing, 1 touchdown, 1 INT
Edgerrin James: 84 yards rushing, 1 touchdown