Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston picks three key matchups in the Ravens' game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald vs. Ravens CB Jimmy Smith: Fitzgerald is off to one of the best starts of his career. In six games, he has 43 receptions for 583 yards and six touchdowns, including three in Week 2 against the Chicago Bears. Smith had a slow start, but has been consistent the past three games. He appears to be playing with more confidence. Smith is third on the team with 31 tackles and has two interceptions. He has knocked down four passes. Edge: Cardinals.
Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson vs. Ravens WR Steve Smith Sr.: Peterson was the fifth overall pick in the 2011 draft and has become one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL. He can run with any receiver and is physical at the line of scrimmage. Peterson has 15 tackles, two interceptions and three passes defensed. Smith has great respect for Peterson and he relishes these types of matchups. Smith has 36 catches for 510 yards and three touchdowns. He is the Ravens' only deep threat on the outside, so Peterson needs to shut him down. Edge: Even.
Cardinals LB Deone Bucannon vs. Ravens QB Joe Flacco: The Cardinals call Bucannon a dollar linebacker because he is a safety who can play inside the box and make tackles like a linebacker. He leads Arizona in tackles with 42, 35 of those unassisted. Flacco will have to identify Bucannon and know where he is at all times. Flacco might want to run away from Bucannon or pass if he is crowding the box. It's a great game of chess for Flacco, as well as both coordinators. Edge: Cardinals.