The Ravens and Saints are in very different positions ahead of their Monday night meeting. Baltimore (5-3) is looking to solidify its standing atop the AFC North while New Orleans (3-5) is in the thick of things in the NFC South.
This is Lamar Jackson’s first career start against the Saints and he’ll be without many of his top weapons. Still, the Ravens have been the better team so far this season with a 3-1 mark on the road and they’ll head into the Caesars Superdome as 2.5-point favorites. Neither squad has fared well against the spread: Baltimore is 3-4-1 and New Orleans is just 3-5.
Ravens vs. Saints Odds
Moneyline: Ravens (-133) | Saints (+110)
Spread: Ravens -2.5 (-105) | Saints +2.5 (-115)
Total: 47.5 Over (-110) | Under (-110)
The Ravens rank No. 5 in scoring (26 PPG) and the backbone of their offense is the rushing attack, which averages the second-most yards on the ground in the league (165.6). Jackson leads the team on that front with 553 yards so far, good for 12th in the league entering Sunday and the most among quarterbacks. With Gus Edwards doubtful for Monday’s contest, it will likely be Kenyan Drake in the backfield alongside Jackson.
New Orleans’ rushing defense isn’t what it once was. The Saints are about league average against the run, though they did hold Josh Jacobs and the Raiders last week to 38 rushing yards.
It should be relatively easy for New Orleans to move the ball against Baltimore. The Ravens are bottom 10 in yards allowed (364.3) and the Saints rank fourth in total yards per game (394.4). Quarterback Andy Dalton will be without Michael Thomas and potentially Jarvis Landry but the two most important players on this offense — Alvin Kamara and Chris Olave — will be active. After a slow start, Kamara has four games in a row with at least 100 yards from scrimmage.
Even though injuries will hamper both offenses (Ravens All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews has been ruled out and receiver Rashod Bateman is done for the season), the game total is relatively high because neither defense has done a great job keeping its opponent out of the end zone. The Saints shut out the Raiders a week ago but had surrendered 30-plus points in three straight before that. And teams have an easy time passing the ball on the Ravens' secondary, though it’s tough to run on them. Still, Baltimore, like New Orleans, allows more than 22 PPG.
The onus will be on Jackson to have a big outing on the ground. With his receiving options limited he’ll have to take matters into his own hands on the road to march the Ravens down the field. The Saints are one of the better teams in the NFL at stopping opponents in the red zone, which is why having such a reliable kicker like Justin Tucker matters in a matchup like this. I expect Baltimore and New Orleans to trade blows and for the Ravens to ultimately come out on top. I feel confident in that outcome with this line just below a field goal. Any more than that and I’d be tempted to take the points.