The New Orleans Saints finally seemed to get back on track this past Sunday with a 24-0 shutout against the Las Vegas Raiders and are getting closer to .500 now at 3-5. The Saints now move on to a Monday night matchup against the 5-3 Baltimore Ravens, who are coming off a 27-22 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In this article, I will be delving into how the Saints’ passing offense and Ravens’ passing defense have performed so far this season, as well as what we should expect from the two units matching up this coming week.
How have these two units performed this season?
Starting off on the Saints’ side, their passing game has been pretty far above average so far this season in most passing metrics. They rank 7th in passing yards (2121), 6th in passing touchdowns (14), 11th in passing yards per attempt (7.5), 15th in completion percentage (64.8%), 8th in passing first downs (96), and have only allowed the 9th least sacks on the season (15). They are tied for the 3rd most interceptions thrown on the season however after Andy Dalton threw 3 last week, with 9 on the season so far. Overall though, Dalton has been effective as the quarterback and aside from that one game has been safe with the ball.
On the other side of the ball, the Ravens secondary has been very hit or miss on the year, with their ball-hawking being the primary strength. In terms of positives, they are tied for the 6th most interceptions this season (8) and have gotten quite a bit of pressure on opposing QBs with a tie for the 5th most sacks this season (23). It is also worth keeping in mind that before I state these stats, the Ravens have seen the 2nd most passing attempts and completions against them with 310 and 205 respectively, which is good and bad, as it shows the counting stats are somewhat a product of volume, but that opposing teams also want to throw the ball against them. With that said, the Ravens have allowed the 14th highest completion percentage (66.1%), the 3rd most passing yards (2134), are tied for the 10th highest yards per pass attempt allowed (6.9), are tied for the 10th most passing touchdowns allowed (12) and have allowed the 2nd most passing first downs (108).
What should we expect from these two units on Monday?
This is an extremely difficult part of the game to predict, as both units have been above average in some categories and below average in others. The Ravens defense has been able to get pressure and force interceptions at an extremely high rate, but the Saints offensive line has been really strong as of late with pass protection and protecting the ball (with the exception of the game against the Arizona Cardinals).
In terms of what we should expect, you should see either some really extensive protective play calling where Dalton is giving the ball off to Alvin Kamara all game, or the normal system of play calling which may end up like the Cardinals game. Getting Kamara and Taysom Hill involved makes this offense go from below average to really strong, and this will need to be discussed in the locker-room before the game. Also, if Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry return, that completely changes the outlook of this game, as you have two strong short to intermediate route runners, which would allow Chris Olave to get more open than just Olave and the remaining receiver core. Keep an eye on the injury report, as it very well could determine the outcome of this matchup.