Baltimore Ravens at Arizona Cardinals (-10, 49)
A string of narrow losses and a punishing schedule have been major factors in the worst start in franchise history for the Baltimore Ravens, who hit the road again to face the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football. It will mark the fifth time in seven games that the Ravens are playing away from home and their fourth cross-country trip of the young season.
Baltimore, which opened the season with road games at Denver and Oakland, is headed west again after dropping a 25-20 decision at San Francisco last weekend – its fifth loss by six points or fewer. ”It’s disappointing to lose these close games the way we’re losing them,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “The bottom line is we’re not good enough to win them right now.” The Cardinals are coming off a 25-13 loss at Pittsburgh – the only team Baltimore has beaten – for their second setback in three games following a 3-0 start. Arizona is averaging 33.8 points per game, second only to the New England Patriots.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: The Cardinals opened as 7.5-point home favorites and that number has continually moved up to sit at its current number of Arizona -10. The total opened at 48.5, went down to 48, climbed to 49.5 and has come back down to 49.
Ravens – TE M. Williams (questionable Monday, ankle), RB J. Forsett (questionable Monday, ankle), DL C. Canty (questionable Monday, calf), WR D. Waller (questionable Monday, concussion), CB L. Webb (questionable Monday, thigh), S T. Brooks (questionable Monday, thumb), S K. Lewis (questionable Monday, knee).
Cardinals – WR J. Brown (questionable Monday, hamstring), TE D. Fells (Mid November, shoulder).
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Ravens (4.5) – Cardinals (-4.5) + home field (-3) = Cardinals -12
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “Both the Cardinals and the Ravens water this fray off losses last week. In fact, had Mike Tomlin not gifted an overtime session to Baltimore in Week 4, the Ravens could be the only winless team in the league. Both coaches have been solid moneymakers in their NFL careers, with Arizona’s Bruce Arians the best in the league at 33-1-5-2 ATS in his career. Baltimore’s John Harbaugh counters at 2-0 SU and ATS as a dog of more than 7 points. Tough call in this battle of the birds.” – Covers Expert Marc Lawrence
ABOUT THE RAVENS (1-5, 0-5-1 ATS, 4-2 O/U): Baltimore’s defense has been ravaged through the air, giving up an average of 286.2 yards per game and surrendering 340 yards to a 49ers club that ranked among the league’s worst passing attacks. Steve Smith, who has been the only reliable target for quarterback Joe Flacco with 36 receptions and three touchdowns, was mentioned as possible trade bait but Harbaugh steadfastly denied he would deal the veteran wideout. The Ravens could use a big effort from running back Justin Forsett, who had consecutive 100-yard games before he was limited to 62 yards last week.
ABOUT THE CARDINALS (4-2, 4-2 ATS, 5-1 O/U): Arizona typically moves the ball at will but its fortunes are tied to how well it executes in the red zone – the Cardinals have produced 16 touchdowns in 17 red-zone trips in their four wins while converting on only 2 of 9 in the two losses. John Brown is emerging into more than just a complementary piece of the passing game in his second season alongside veteran wideout Larry Fitzgerald, reeling in 10 catches for 196 yards versus Pittsburgh. Chris Johnson leads a three-pronged running attack that was limited to a season-low 55 yards a week ago.
* Ravens are 5-1 ATS in their last six Monday games.
* Cardinals are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 home games.
* Over is 4-1 in the Ravens last five games overall.
* Over is 4-0 in the Cardinals last four home games.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The public is split down the middle for this Monday Night Football matchup, with 50.48 percent of wagers giving the Cardinals the slightest of edges.
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