Seeking to end a five-game losing streak, the Arizona Cardinals face the Baltimore Ravens on the road at 10AM Arizona time. The 4-2 Ravens themselves are coming off of a very disappointing loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday night.
This game is a reunion game of sorts. Todd Heap played for ten years in Baltimore before joining the Cardinals this offseason. Receiver Anquan Boldin is in his second season with the Ravens. He played the rest of his career in Arizona, before he was traded before the 2010 season.
Arizona is facing a Ravens defense that is first in overall defense. Baltimore is third against the run and fourth against the pass. Terrell Suggs leads the team with five sacks. S Ed Reed has two interceptions on the season.
On offense, RB Ray Rice has rushed for 426 yards so far. He is averaging 4.4 YPC and a pair of touchdowns. QB Joe Flacco has been inconsistent. His QB rating is 76.2. He has eight TDs and five INTs. In comparison, Kevin Kolb's QB rating for the season is 78.8. He is only completing 52 percent of his passes, too.
The key to stopping Baltimore is to shut down Rice. Last week against the Steelers, the Arizona defense was able to limit Rashard Mendenhall, but gave up several big plays. The Ravens don't have Mike Wallace, so that facet of the game hopefully does not give as much trouble.
Arizona's leading rusher, Beanie Wells, might not play. If he is unable to go, Alfonso Smith will start in his place and get the bulk of the carries on offense. He scored his first career TD last week.
Kevin Kolb is seeking to show improvement. He started out well this season and has had some struggles. He has thrown seven interceptions. He has completed almost 58 percent of his passes. The key will be how much time he gets to throw the ball. Against Pittsburgh he showed a little more poise in the pocket, but he will need to continue to do that and step up and make throws.
This game will certainly not be an easy one. No one is expecting an Arizona victory. However, with the recent loss, Baltimore has not looked more beatable.
Can Arizona pull off the upset? We will soon find out.