Both the Baltimore Ravens and Arizona Cardinals will be hoping to remain undefeated when they clash at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Sunday afternoon.
Fit to be tied
Both teams may be undefeated, but the Cardinals are not coming off a win. In their first regular-season game in the new era led by head coach Kliff Kingsbury and quarterback Kyler Murray, they tied Detroit 27-27 at home in Week 1. It may not have been an ideal beginning, but it also wasn’t bad for a team that started 0-4 last year and finished 3-13. Arizona managed nothing more than two field goals through the first three quarters, but that is when Murray’s NFL career began to take flight. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner threw touchdown passes to Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson and the Cardinals also got a field goal and a two-point conversion (also on a pass by Murray) to score 18 unanswered points and force overtime.
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“It was three quarters of the worst offense I’ve seen in my life and it was my fault,” Kingsbury admitted. “Bad play calls, just trying to do too much, and we’ll get that corrected.”
Murray finished 29-of-54 (yes, he attempted 54 passes) for 308 yards with two TDs and one interception. He also kept it three times for 13 yards, while Johnson was the team’s leading rusher with 82 yards and 18 carries.
One player who will have mixed feelings about returning to Baltimore is Terrell Suggs, 12th all-time in sacks. The former Ravens All-Pro linebacker, who spent 16 years in Baltimore, had seven sacks last season and two in the opener against the Lions.
“I think we’re all clear that for three hours come Sunday, I am their opponent, they are my opponent,” Suggs said Friday. “They gonna try to win, and I’m gonna try to win. And after the game, we’ll see if I’m showed the backseat or embraced like a brother. We’ll see.”
Not bad for a running back
Baltimore blasted Miami–which is expected to be the worst team in the NFL–by a 59-10 margin. Thus the Ravens return home with extremely high expectations, especially after quarterback Lamar Jackson’s brilliant performance through the air. He completed 17 of 20 passes for 324 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions.
— NFL Films (@NFLFilms) September 12, 2019
“The offensive line did a great job; I barely had pressure,” Jackson noted. “And the receivers were getting open and catching the ball…. Not bad for a running back.”
It was an impressive defensive performance by Baltimore, as well. Again, though, that is not exactly saying a lot against the Dolphins. Miami starter Ryan Fitzpatrick, making his team debut, had little time to throw the ball and went 14-of-29 for 185 yards and one score while getting sacked twice. Josh Rosen replaced Fitzpatrick to cheers late in the third quarter and went 1-for-3 for 5 yards with one interception.
Jackson did have just three carries for six yards, showing that he can do it with his arm and not just his legs.
“If they allow Lamar to run, he’s going to run,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said at his weekly news conference Monday. “They didn’t. They were taking it away, for sure. It was part of their plan not to allow him to run. If people decide that that’s going to be the way it’s going to go, he’s not going to run. That’s the way the offense is organized. So we’re not worried about it at all.”
One major concern for the Ravens right now is at cornerback, where Jimmy Smith (knee) is out indefinitely and slot corner Tavon Young (neck) is already out for most, if not the entire season. Smith will miss “multiple weeks” which means more time for second-year pro Anthony Averett and veteran Brandon Carr. Averett will likely get the start next to fellow Alabama starter Marlon Humphrey.
The Arizona Cardinals are:
- 9-3 ATS in their last 12 Week 2 games
The Baltimore Ravens are:
- 1-6 ATS in their last seven home games
- 1-6 ATS in their last seven games on fieldturf
- 4-11-2 ATS in their last 17 games following a win by more than 14 points