Baltimore is coming off a bye week and heading to New Orleans to face off against the Saints on Monday Night Football at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The Ravens come into this game with a record of 6-4 while New Orleans is sitting at 4-6. The Baltimore Ravens is the only team Drew Brees hasn’t beaten as a Saint.
Baltimore has been extremely inconsistent this year struggling in games against the Indianapolis Colts, Cincinnati Bengals, and Pittsburgh Steelers. The Ravens have shown they can be a serious contender for the AFC Championship. However, on the other hand, there have been games that make me think they shouldn’t even be in the mix.
The key to this game is to be balanced on offense. They are going to have to keep the Saints defense on their toes wondering what type of play is going to be called next. In games where the run game hasn’t been setup, we have seen the Ravens struggle. Too much pressure is put on quarterback Joe Flacco and he doesn’t always make the best decisions. It is vital to get the run game setup early in tonight’s game, take some of the pressure off of Flacco and put it on the offensive line, as well as the running backs.
In the game against the Steelers where the Ravens lost, Flacco had 45 passing attempts with 30 completions, two touchdowns and one interception. Running backs Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro combined for 16 rushing attempts and had only 59 rushing yards with no touchdowns. If you then look at the game against the Tennessee Titans, Flacco had 16 completions on 27 attempts and one touchdown. Forsett had 20 carries for 112 yards and two touchdowns in this game. Baltimore beat the Titans 21-7.
The Ravens have dominated in games where they keep a balanced offense. If they try and make Flacco do too much he doesn’t always come out on top. Take some of the pressure off of Flacco by setting up the run game.
On the Defensive side, the Ravens need to apply pressure to Drew Brees. If the defense can get pressure on the quarterback I think that Baltimore can force some turnovers, the way they have in previous games and completely take over the ball game. During their last game against the Titans, Baltimore had five sacks on the opposing quarterback. Having this much pressure on someone is going to force mistakes, even if that quarterback is Drew Brees.
My prediction is that the Ravens struggle in the first half, but find themselves after halftime and beat the Saints 35-17 against a New Orleans team that has struggled this year.
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