Regarded by some as a Super Bowl contender at the start of the season, the Baltimore Ravens (1-5) are off to the worst start in franchise history and play the Arizona Cardinals (4-2) on Monday Night Football (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/WatchESPN).
The Ravens were eighth in the first ESPN Football Power Index rankings of the season but head into Monday’s game ranked 16th in FPI. They are one of three teams with one win this season.
Still, are they as bad as their record might indicate?
Among one-win teams, the Ravens have the smallest point differential (minus-19 points), one point better than the minus-20 of the Titans. The Lions, the other one-win team (who have played one more game than the Ravens and Titans heading into Monday), have a minus-61 point differential.
All six of the Ravens’ games this season have been decided by six or fewer points. Elias Sports Bureau research notes that they are the first team since the 1995 Indianapolis Colts to have each of their first six games decided by six or fewer points, and no team has had its first seven games decided by six points or fewer.
The Ravens had a chance to tie the score or take the lead in the final two minutes of each game this season. The Ravens have lost three games after leading in the fourth quarter; only the Seattle Seahawks (four) have dropped more.
The Ravens have allowed 27.0 points per game this season (26th in the NFL). That would rank as the Ravens’ worst opponent scoring average since their inaugural season in 1996 (27.6 points per game), when they finished 4-12.
Joe Flacco’s 37.7 Total QBR this season would rate as the worst of his career. Against the blitz, Flacco has an 11.1 Total QBR, worst among 32 qualified quarterbacks this season. The Cardinals have blitzed at the third-highest rate this season (42 percent of dropbacks).
Flacco has the second-worst total QBR in the fourth quarter and overtime this season (15.0). He led the NFL in Total QBR in the fourth quarter and overtime last season (83.3).
According to Elias, since the current playoff format was adopted for the 1990 season, no team that started 1-5 has reached the postseason. FPI gives the Ravens a 3.4 percent chance to make the postseason.
Matchup of accomplished receivers
Monday’s game features Steve Smith Sr. and Larry Fitzgerald, who are neck-and-neck on the all-time receptions list. Fitzgerald ranks 14th with 952 receptions, and Smith is one spot behind, with one fewer reception.
Smith, 13th in career receiving yards with 13,772, is 128 yards from passing Cris Carter and taking over the 10th spot all time. Fitzgerald ranks 19th with 12,734 receiving yards.
Fitzgerald has at least five receptions and 50 receiving yards in each game this season. He has at least one reception in 169 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the league. Next on the list are Brandon Marshall (134) and Smith (127).
The Cardinals’ Chris Johnson, formerly of the Tennessee Titans and the New York Jets, has run for at least 100 yards in four of his six appearances on Monday Night Football. He can become the second player to have a 100-yard rushing game for three franchises on Monday Night Football (Ricky Watters -- San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks).
Flacco has a 6-3 record on Monday Night Football, winning his past three games.
ESPN’s FPI projects the Cardinals, who are second in the FPI rankings, as 80 percent likely to win.