For the final game of what has been a wild Week 9 of the 2022 NFL season, the New Orleans Saints are set to host the Baltimore Ravens on "Monday Night Football.''
The Ravens enter this contest dealing with a rash of injuries on offense, but also coming off an impressive performance on Thursday Night Football last week, which itself followed up a wild victory over the division rival Cleveland Browns. The Saints are coming off arguably their best game of the season -- a shutout victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.
Will the Ravens extend their win streak, or will the Saints carry over their momentum from last week's electric performance? We'll find out soon enough. Before we break down the matchup, here's how you can watch the game.
How to watch
Date: Monday, Nov. 7 | Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
Location: Caesars SuperDome (New Orleans, Louisiana)
TV: ESPN | Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Follow: CBS Sports App
Odds: Ravens -1.5, O/U 46.5 (courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook)
When the Ravens have the ball
Baltimore comes into this game with almost all of Lamar Jackson's primary weapons sidelined. Rashod Bateman is out for the year. Mark Andrews is dealing with multiple injuries and will not play in this game. JK Dobbins is on injured reserve and Gus Edwards has a balky hamstring. Jackson will be working with the likes of Devin Duvernay, James Proche, Demarcus Robinson, and Tylan Wallace at receiver, Isaiah Likely and Josh Oliver at tight end, and Kenyan Drake and Justice Hill in the backfield. That's not exactly what the Ravens envisioned for their offense this year.
The Saints have been a borderline top-10 defense against both the run (12th in Football Outsiders' DVOA) and the pass (11th), but they have not done a particularly good job limiting opponent runs to short gains. It's been more situational success. According to Football Outsiders, the Saints have stopped only 16% of opponent rush attempts at or behind the line of scrimmage, the eighth-lowest rate in the NFL. Baltimore has somewhat surprisingly not gotten the best push from its offensive line in the run game, but there's an opportunity here to test Dennis Allen's unit up front.
Without Andrews or Bateman, a lot of the passing game success is likely to depend on A. Jackson's ability to make plays outside of structure; B. Jackson's ability to throw receivers open; and C. Isaiah Likely's ability to win in one-on-one coverage against a strong group of coverage linebackers. Likely was excellent during the preseason and looked terrific in relief of Andrews last week (6-77-1 on 7 targets), but New Orleans ranks first in the entire league in DVOA on throws to tight ends this season. That's owed primarily to the presence of Demario Davis, one of the best coverage linebackers in football, but his second-level partner Pete Werner has played quite well in his own right.
When the Saints have the ball
New Orleans is dealing with injuries on offense as well, with Michael Thomas likely out for the year, Mark Ingram II dealing with a knee injury, Jarvis Landry still working his way through an ankle ailment, and Trevor Penning having been on injured reserve for weeks.
But Andy Dalton has given the Saints better quarterback play than did Jameis Winston, Alvin Kamara has rediscovered his peak form, and rookie wideout Chris Olave looks like a real-deal alpha receiver capable of commanding a heavy target share and doing a whole lot with it. Since returning to his full-time role in Week 5, Kamara is averaging 17.2 rushes for for 74.8 yards AND 6 catches for 56 yards per game. In other words, he's on a full-season pace of 2,224 total yards.
Baltimore's pass defense on throws to running backs has been mostly fine (17th in DVOA), and really most of the damage against them has come on throws over the middle of the field to slot receivers and tight ends. That's not the strength of this New Orleans offense, so it'll be interesting to see how the Saints elect to attack through the air. Olave figures to see a lot of Marlon Humphrey in coverage, but the rest of the Ravens cornerbacks have been somewhat beatable and however offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael can figure out a way to scheme Olave into those matchups, he should take advantage of it.
The Ravens will be getting some pass rush help here as they have activated both Tyus Bowser and rookie David Ojabo, who should help Justin Houston, Jason Pierre-Paul, and Odafe Oweh get some pressure on Dalton. New Orleans' offensive line is playing a bit better in recent weeks, as Dalton has been under pressure on only 24.3% of his dropbacks, per Tru Media. Some of that is him just getting rid of the ball very quickly (2.57 seconds to throw average, eighth-fastest in the NFL), but some of it is some improved performance up front.
How Dalton is able to navigate the pass rush and whether he can push the ball down the field against a group that other quarterbacks have been able to throw on, should go a long way toward determining how much offensive success the Saints find on Monday night.
Prediction: Ravens 21, Saints 17