Expect another hard-hitting, tough game on the heels of a matchup in Pittsburgh as the Arizona Cardinals return home to face the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football.
The outcome of this game could largely depend on how Arizona comes out of the Steelers game from a health perspective. As of now, it appears that all is good on the injury front for the Cardinals. Meanwhile, the Ravens have stumbled to a 1-5 start and while they could be past the notion of a "must-win" game, a win tonight is certainly needed in order to salvage anything from the 2015 campaign.
Ravens QB Joe Flacco has proved to be a bit clumsy with the ball at times and the Arizona defense feasts on big plays by forcing opposing signal callers into making mistakes. We expect the Cardinals to make a point to stop the run and force Flacco into making bad decisions against the blitz.
Flacco has been average at best this season, compiling a QB Rating of only 80.1 to go along with an 8-to-7 touchdown to interception ratio. Look for playmakers Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu to lead the way for the Cardinals secondary which should force at least two turnovers and a good shot for more.
All the blame can't go to Flacco, however, as he has a very lackluster group of wide receivers to work with - other than Steve Smith, of course. Smith will need to make a major impact on Monday's game for the Ravens to have a chance at the win.
Offensively for the Cardinals, QB Carson Palmer is off to a tremendous start despite the loss last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Palmer has found former All-Pro wideout Larry Fitzgerald early and often this season and the emergence of John Brown is slowly but surely happening. Expect big games for both.
Arizona will also look to get back to a more balanced state on the offensive side of the ball and that starts with RB Chris Johnson. Johnson has been one of the most surprising stories so far in the NFL and he'll look to surpass the 100-yard mark for the third time this year.
Ravens player to watch: RB Justin Forsett
Forsett experienced a career revival last season and has found what appears to be a long-term home in Baltimore. Forsett had a down game last week against the San Francisco 49ers but had racked up 271 yards rushing in the Ravens' previous two games.
We mentioned above that Arizona will likely make it a priority to stop Forsett and the Ravens rushing attack, and if it can do that, a win is there for the taking.
Prediction: Arizona 31 Baltimore 24