Preview: Ravens Look to Make it Three Straight Wins Against Saints
The Baltimore Ravens head south to New Orleans to take on the Saints in a Monday night showdown. The Ravens head into Monday still atop the AFC North at 5-3. While the Saints enter Monday night 3-5, good for third in the NFC South. The Ravens will look to win their third straight game after a dominate performance last Thursday night against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While the Saints are looking to continue their winning ways after shutting out the Las Vegas Raiders 24-0 last Sunday.
The Ravens and Saints both come into Monday night dealing with injuries to key players. The Saints have already ruled out three players including top cornerback Marshon Lattimore (abdomen) and former Raven running back Mark Ingram (knee). Veteran receiver Jarvis Landry (ankle) was limited in practice all week and is listed as questionable.
The Ravens continue to have a long list of injuries heading into week nine. Tight end Mark Andrews (knee/shoulder) did not travel with the team and has already been ruled out. Running back Gus Edwards (hamstring) did not practice all week and is currently listed as doubtful. Receiver Demarcus Robinson (groin), linebacker Malik Harrison (foot), and offensive lineman Patrick Mekari (back) are all listed as questionable. Cornerback Marcus Peters (quad/knee) is also listed as questionable. A positive injury note for the Ravens is that outside linebackers Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo do not have an injury designations for Monday, meaning its a possibility both could be active for the first time this season as they are both coming off achilles injuries.
DeSean Jackson is expected to make his season debut with the Ravens Monday night. With Mark Andrews out and Rashod Bateman out for the season. The Ravens are desperate for production from other pass catchers on the roster. DeSean Jackson could be that boost with his ability to take the top off the defense. Outside of wide receiver Devin Duvernay, Ravens receivers only have 22 receptions on the season.
The Ravens in recent weeks have gotten back to being a run first offense with the return of Gus Edwards. Jackson’s speed will keep defenses honest and likely spread the defense out when he is on the field. While his snaps will probably be limited on Monday night his presence on the field even when he isn’t catching the ball could be key for a Ravens offense going against a Saints defense that gives up nearly 113 yards rushing per game.
Saints Passing Offense
While the Saints sit at a disappointing 3-5 its not for a lack of offense that has been holding this team back. Through eight games the Saints currently have the third ranked offense in the NFL, behind only the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills. Led by Andy Dalton at quarterback and running back Alvin Kamara. The Saints average an impressive 394.4 yards per game, three yards more then the 8-0 Philadelphia Eagles. Through the air the Saints rank seventh an average of 253.1 yards per game. On the ground the Saints are just as efficient averaging 141.3 yards per game on the ground, good for eighth best in the NFL.
The Saints offense doesn’t just put up yards they also put points on the scoreboard scoring nearly 25 points per game, one point less then the Ravens. While the record may say that the Saints are a bad team the Ravens defense can’t take this Saints offense lightly. The Saints have weapons like Kamara and emerging rookie receiver Chris Olave who has 37 catches for 547 yards and two touchdowns. Both Kamara and Olave have big play ability that can make Monday night a high scoring affair if the Ravens defense is not ready.
The Ravens will come out early and look to establish the run. Last week against the Buccaneers they looked early to pass, before turning to the run game for almost the entire duration of the second half. Expect the Ravens to continue the trend of using their backs and controlling the pace of the game from the opening snap. The new look Ravens defense with newly acquired linebacker Roquan Smith will make their presence felt not allowing Andy Dalton and the Saints offense to get into a rhythm, both in the air and on the ground. Smith will lead the Ravens in tackles while the Ravens defense forces two turnovers with one being an Andy Dalton interception.
The Ravens control the run game and time of possession leading to another dominate win in primetime. Ravens win third straight 27-13.
Line: Baltimore -1.5
All-Time Record: Baltimore leads series 5-2
Last Meeting: 10/21/2018 New Orleans 24-23