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Monday Night Football Preview: Ravens vs. Saints

Lamar Jackson

WEEK 9 MNF GAME PREVIEW: RAVENS VS. SAINTS

Baltimore Ravens (5-3) at New Orleans Saints (3-5)

NFL Odds: Ravens (-2.5) | O/U 48

The New Orleans Saints will host the Baltimore Ravens in an intraconference matchup Sunday night at the Superdome. The Ravens knocked off the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week and have won three out of their past four games. The Saints blanked the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 8 to snap a two-game losing streak.

TEAM BREAKDOWNS

Two of the NFL’s highest-scoring offenses will collide in a projected shootout. The Ravens rank fifth with 26 points per game, while the eighth-ranked Saints average 24.9 points an outing. New Orleans erupted for 17 fourth-quarter points to garner a narrow 24-23 victory over Baltimore the last time these two teams met in 2018. Backup rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson completed his only pass attempt for five yards and tallied nine yards and a touchdown on three carries.

THE RAVENS

Baltimore has lost three games by a combined 11 points and boasts one of the league’s top rushing attacks. The Ravens feature a ball-control offensive strategy that ranks sixth in the NFL in time of possession despite a mediocre passing game with the seventh-fewest passing yards.

Jackson continues to be the measuring stick for dual-threat quarterbacks. His 15 touchdown passes are the fourth-most in the league, and he is the 12th leading rusher with 553 yards. The fifth-year field general has also posted a league-high 7.4 yards per rush for ball carriers with 40-plus rushing attempts.

Kenyan Drake is the second-leading rusher in a crowded Baltimore backfield. Drake has 251 yards on 49 carries, while Justice Hill (28/179), Gus Edwards (27/131), and J.K. Dobbins (35/123) have combined for 433 rushing yards. Dobbins recently had his left knee scoped and should return from IR in 3-4 weeks.

Tight end Mark Andrews leads the Ravens with 488 receiving yards and five touchdowns on 42 receptions. However, he is dealing with shoulder and ankle injuries which limited him to only 10 snaps in Week 8. Rookie Isaiah Likely, who caught six passes for 77 yards and a score last week, would have another increased workload if Andrews is sidelined.

Devin Duvernay and Demarcus Robinson are the top wideouts for the league’s 26th-ranked passing attack. Duvernay has 24 receptions for 313 yards and three touchdowns, while Robinson has 140 yards and a score on 15 catches.

The Ravens upgraded their fifth-ranked rushing defense with the acquisition of Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith. The 25-year-old leads the NFL with 83 tackles and has 2.5 sacks and a pair of interceptions.

Linebacker Patrick Queen has recorded 53 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and one pick for a defensive unit allowing 364 yards and 22 points a game. Safety Chuck Clark is third on the team with 52 tackles, and linebacker Justin Houston has a team-high six sacks, and safety Marcus Williams leads the team with three interceptions.

THE SAINTS

New Orlean’s offense ranks in the top 10 in points scored (8th), total yards (5th), passing yards (9th), and rushing yards (8th). The Saints are averaging 29 points over their last four games and have scored 24-plus points for five consecutive weeks.

12th-year quarterback Andy Dalton has resurrected his career after two forgettable campaigns in Dallas (2020) and Chicago (2021). Dalton has completed 105-of-161 passes for 1,175 yards with nine touchdowns and four interceptions in five games. He has tossed six scoring strikes in his last two outings and has not thrown a pick in three out of five contests this season.

Alvin Kamara and Taysom Hill headline the Saints’ 14th-ranked rushing attack. Kamara leads the team with 413 yards and has caught 28 passes over the past four games. Hill has rushed the ball 39 times for 337 yards and a team-high five touchdowns.

Rookie Chris Olave is the leading receiver with 547 yards and two touchdowns on 37 catches. Kamara has reeled in 33 passes for 287 yards and a pair of scores, and tight end Juwan Johnson has found the end zone twice on 21 receptions for 216 yards.

New Orlean’s defense has allowed the 10th-fewest yards but has also surrendered the fifth-most points. However, the Saints turned in their best performance a week ago with a shutout against the Raiders. The Saints registered four sacks and prevented Las Vegas from crossing midfield until two minutes remained in the game.

Second-year linebacker Pete Werner leads the Saints’ 14th-ranked rushing defense with 70 tackles. Cameron Jordan (5) and Demario Davis (5) have combined for 10 out of New Orlean’s 19 sacks. Safety Tyrann Mathieu has collected the only two interceptions the team has registered this season.

RAVENS VS. SAINTS PREDICTION

The Saints are playing well on both sides of the ball, and the Ravens allow the fifth-most receptions to opposing running backs. I think Dalton will continue to feed Kamara passes out of the backfield to negate the Ravens’ sixth-ranked pass rush. But the addition of Smith should help Baltimore contain the Saints’ short passing game.

Baltimore will look to establish its running game with Jackson and Edwards leading the pack. However, If Andrews cannot suit up, I think Duvernay will play a major role in the passing game. But ultimately, the game will hinge on Dalton’s ability to protect the ball.

  • My Prediction: Baltimore 23, New Orleans 20
  • Picks Calculator: Saints play spoiler and upset the Ravens. Either way it should be a close game

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