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5 questions and a prediction for Ravens (1-5) at Cardinals (4-2)

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5 questions and a prediction for Ravens (1-5) at Cardinals (4-2)

GLENDALE, Ariz. – The Ravens and Cardinals will wrap up Week 7, meeting on Monday Night Football (8:30 p.m. Eastern) at University of Phoenix Stadium. Losing on national television would be the latest downer for a Ravens (1-5) season that has gone nothing like they expected. Can the Ravens stop the bleeding by beating the talented Cardinals (4-2), who lead the NFC West?

Here are five questions to ask, and a prediction:

1) Is the Ravens’ secondary healthy enough to keep from getting burned again?

The Ravens enter the game with three defensive backs listed as questionable on the injury report – cornerbacks Lardarius Webb (thigh) and Asa Jackson (thigh), and safety Kendrick Lewis (knee), while safety Terrence Brooks (thumb) is out. Even at full strength, containing Cardinals wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown would be a handful for the Ravens defense. And they may have to depend on cornerbacks Kyle Arrington and Shareece Wright for plenty of snaps if Webb can’t go. That could be a serious problem.

MORE RAVENS: MORE INJURY WOES IN THE SECONDARY FOR BALTIMORE

2) Can the Ravens’ defense force a few turnovers?

Another glaring weakness for the Ravens has been their inability to force turnovers. They have just three interceptions and one fumble recovery all season. Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer is a hot, coming off a 400-yard game in Pittsburgh. He’s going to attack the Ravens’ secondary. If the Ravens don’t force Palmer into a few miscues, it’s hard to see Baltimore winning this game.

3) Will Ravens running back Justin Forsett have success?

Forsett has rushed for at least 100 yards in two of the last three games, and the Ravens’ offensive line seems to have hit its stride. The Cardinals aren’t bad at stopping the run, ranked 12th in the NFL. But the strength of the Cardinals’ defense is their secondary. If Forsett has running room and the Ravens’ offense can control the clock, it would improve their chances of pulling off an upset.

4) Can the Ravens avoid falling behind?

They have not scored on an opening drive all season, and have spent too much time playing catchup. The Ravens have lost eight straight when quarterback Joe Flacco has thrown  40 times or more. If the Ravens get down early in this game, the Cardinals could run away with it. 

5) Even if the Ravens stay in the game, can they close it out?

Close losses have been the story of the Ravens’ season – five defeats by a total of 22 points. Their defense must prove it is capable of making key stops in the fourth quarter.

Prediction: It’s going to take the Ravens’ best game of the season to win. And coming off a loss in Pittsburgh, the Cardinals should be fired up, especially on Monday. I see too much Palmer and Fitzgerald for the Ravens to handle.

Cardinals 31, Ravens 20

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Baltimore Ravens' 2018 regular season matchups, dates and times

Baltimore Ravens' 2018 regular season matchups, dates and times

We've known the Ravens' 2018 preseason and regular season opponents for some time now, but the NFL finally released their full schedule with exact dates and times.

As they do every year, the Ravens will be seeing the Bengals, Steelers and Browns twice. 

For the ninth consecutive year, Week 16 and 17 will be divisional games with playoff implications.

The Ravens will also be playing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame preseason game against the Chicago Bears in Canton, Ohio, bringing an extra preseason game to their schedule.

In the regular season, the birds will be flocking south to take on the Panthers, Falcons and Titans. They haven't seen the Panthers or Falcons since 2014 - both ending in wins - and came up just short against the Titans in their 23-20 loss last season.

The Ravens will only have to travel to the west coast once when they take on the Los Angeles Chargers, who they last saw in 2015 and earned a 29-26 win.

Not including AFC North rivals, the last time the Ravens saw their remaining five home opponents they came away with wins. Hopefully history will repeat itself.

Prime-time games, which the Ravens have two of, will kick off at earlier times than in the past. Monday Night Football will now start at 8:15 p.m. while Thursday and Sunday Night Football will start at 8:20 p.m.

Ravens 2018 Regular-Season Schedule:

Week 1: Sunday, 9/9 vs. Bills, 1:00 p.m.

Week 2: Thursday, 9/13 @ Bengals, 8:20 p.m.

Week 3: Sunday, 9/23 vs. Broncos. 1:00 p.m.

Week 4: Sunday, 9/30 @ Steelers, 8:20 p.m.

Week 5: Sunday, 10/7 @ Browns, 1:00 p.m.

Week 6: Sunday 10/14 @ Titans, 4:25 p.m.

Week 7: Sunday, 10/21 vs. Saints, 4:05 p.m.

Week 8: Sunday 10/28 @ Panthers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 9: Sunday 11/4 vs. Steelers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 10:  BYE week

Week 11: Sunday 11/18 vs. Bengals, 1:00 p.m.

Week 12: Sunday 11/25 vs. Raiders, 1:00 p.m.

Week 13: Sunday 12/2 @ Falcons, 1:00 p.m.

Week 14: Sunday 12/9 @ Chiefs, 1:00 p.m.

Week 15: Sunday 12/16 vs. Buccaneers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 16: Saturday 12/22 or Sunday 12/23 @ Chargers, TBD

Week 17: Sunday 12/30 vs. Browns, 1:00 p.m.


PRESEASON 

Hall of Fame Game: Thurs., 8/2, vs. Chicago Bears (Canton, OH), 8:00pm (NBC).

Week 1: Thurs., 8/9, vs. Los Angeles Rams

Week 2: Mon. 8/20,  at Indianapolis Colts (Monday Night Football, ESPN).

Week 3: at Miami Dolphins*

Week 4: Thurs., 8/30 at Washington Redskins

* - Game date and time not yet determined

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As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

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As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

With 10 days until the 2018 NFL Draft, quarterback Lamar Jackson is set to visit the Ravens this week, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. 

The former Heisman Trophy winner is a projected first-round pick as he has proven to have success in the air and on the ground. 

While at Louisville, Jackson had 9,043 passing yards and 69 touchdowns. He also rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns. His NFL draft profile compares him to Michael Vick. 

RELATED: BEST QUOTES FROM RAVENS PRE-DRAFT PRESS CONFERENCE

The Ravens are in search of Joe Flacco's successor, but spending a first-round pick on a quarterback when there are other glaring needs is up in the air. However, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta isn't ruling out the possibility

"I feel like if there is a guy there that we think is really too good to pass up, we're going to take him," DeCosta told the team's website on the chance of drafting a quarterback in the first-round.

At their pre-draft press conference, GM Ozzie Newsome and DeCosta kept reiterating we could be surprised by who they pick at No. 16, if they do at all. 

While Jackson's numbers are impressive, he continues to be considered a late first-round pick as his build isn't up to typical NFL QB standards and scouts are concerned with his accuracy. What he does have in his favor is speed.

While fans are hoping for an offensive weapon, having Jackson learn under Flacco for a year (and maybe RGIII?) could rev up some excitement. 

RELATED: RGIII READY TO MOVE FORWARD AS NEW, GROWN PLAYER