What experts are expecting in the Ravens-Saints Monday Night Football game

What experts are expecting in the Ravens-Saints Monday Night Football game

Most pundits predict Baltimore will win its third straight game

For the first time this season, the Ravens (5-3) are on a winning streak. In fact, their two-game winning streak marks their first streak of any kind in 2022.

Can they make it three straight by beating the New Orleans Saints under the bright lights of “Monday Night Football” (assuming the lights actually stay on at Caesars Superdome)?

The Saints (3-5) are coming off an impressive 24-0 win over the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 8, but most of the experts we looked at (40 of 48) like the Ravens’ chances.

If the Ravens are to win their third straight, they will have to do so without All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews (knee, shoulder), who is out, and wide receiver Rashod Bateman, who is undergoing season-ending foot surgery. Additionally, running back Gus Edwards (hamstring) is questionable for the game.

Here’s what experts say about the game:

Special teams will lead the Ravens to victory.

NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal: “It’s too early to say the Saints defense is back, but the offense is efficient enough and the Superdome will be rocking. I’m giving the Ravens just a slight edge because they may have the best special teams in football, while the Saints may have the worst.”

Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk: “The Saints made a statement after beating the Raiders last week, and I think they’ll be competitive with the Ravens. But ultimately I think the Ravens’ huge advantage on special teams will make the difference in this game.”

The Ringer’s Sheil Kapadia: “The Saints completely dominated the Raiders last week. Alvin Kamara had 27 touches for 158 yards. The Ravens don’t have anything to hang their hat on, and I could see a low-scoring game. But Baltimore can win in different ways and has a big advantage on special teams. I like how they take care of business here.”

The Ravens’ acquisition of inside linebacker Roquan Smith will pay immediate dividends.

Chris Schisler of Ebony Bird: “Couldn’t be a better play to introduce Roquan Smith to the defense. Smith leads the league in tackles, and this could be another game where he goes 10-12. Kamara is second on the team in receptions, and Juwan Johnson is no slouch in tight end. The biggest thing Smith brings to this defense is a linebacker who can cover, and as such could be used to neutralize the pass game over the middle of the field. He’s one of the few linebackers athletic enough to keep up with Kamara.”

Vinnie Iyer of Sporting News: “The Ravens have stepped up the pass rush with Roquan Smith and have played a much-improved overall defense of late with a different coverage-versus-press philosophy. That’s bad news for [Saints quarterback] Andy Dalton, who tends to have a lot of nightmares in strikeouts.”

This time, Dalton will shine in prime time.

CBS Sports’ John Breech: “CAN DALTON ACTUALLY BE SPOKEN IN PRIME TIME? On the one hand, he has 11 years of history that says no. As the hometown Bengals homer here at CBS Sports, I have to point out that I’ve personally suffered through Dalton’s 21 prime-time starts since his rookie year 2011 and when he plays, it usually ends up being a good thing for the other team. That being said, the last time Dalton got a primetime win it was against the Ravens and I think he can lead the Saints to an upset here.”

The Ravens will pick up where they left off in the second half against the Buccaneers.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk: “I just think the Ravens are finding a groove; they looked great against the Buccaneers. And I just feel like the Saints are an inconsistent enough team this year [that] I could see them winning the break with a not-so-great result next week as they start to get their balance and then lose their wobble.”

Based on the failure of the Saints defense against a dual-threat quarterback, Lamar Jackson could have a big game running the ball.

The Baltimore Sun’s Childs Walker: “Jackson remains a weapon no defense can account for, leading the team with 553 rushing yards on 7.4 yards per carry. … The Saints aren’t as good against the run as they are against the pass, but they held the Raiders and Josh Jacobs to 38 yards. They haven’t played as well against teams with threats at quarterback, including the Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals.”

NBC Sports’ Chris Simms: “The Saints, two years in a row, against Jalen Hurts, … and some of those Lamar Jackson-type games, they couldn’t stop Philadelphia when they did that, and this is a team that I look at is similar to that.”

Bold prediction: The Ravens will have two 100-yard rushers.

ESPN’s Jamison Hensley: “With Baltimore’s top two passing targets (Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman) hit, the Ravens will rely on their ground game. Lamar Jackson ran for the third-most rushing yards (1,123) of 2018, and Kenyan Drake should get plenty of carries as JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards are both injured.This wouldn’t be the first time this has happened to the Saints, who allowed 100 yards to Eagles’ Miles Sanders and Jalen Hurts in the same game in 2020. years.”

The Saints are better than their record and will pull off an upset.

CJ Doon of the Baltimore Sun: “For a team with a losing record, the Saints are pretty scary. Demario Davis might be the best inside linebacker in the NFL. Running back Alvin Kamara is coming off a three-touchdown game. Rookie wide receiver Chris Olave is averaging nearly 15 yards per catch .Defensive ends Marcus Davenport and Cameron Jordan can stop the run.Safety Tyrann Mathieu is still a playmaker.Quarterback Andy Dalton is playing better than you think.It all adds up to a dangerous road test for the Ravens, especially if they’re missing Mark Andrews and Gus Edwards .”

Don’t be surprised if there are a lot of fines.

Joe Gibbs of Sharp Football Analysis: “[Head referee] Brad Rogers has the third most penalties per game in 2022, and the Saints are the third most penalized team. … Rogers leads the NFL in defensive pass interference penalties and penalty yards in this category in 2022. The Ravens have committed the fifth-most defensive pass interference penalties through eight weeks of the NFL season. The Saints lead the NFL in defensive penalties. … Rogers is third in roughing the passer penalties. The Ravens are top 10 in this category.”

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