Here’s how The Baltimore Sun sports staff views the outcome of Monday night’s Week 9 game between the Ravens (5-3) and New Orleans Saints (3-5) at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans:
Jonas Shaffer, reporter
Ravens 17, Saints 16: This might look like a Thursday night game. The Ravens, despite a long layoff, probably won’t have their top wide receiver, tight end or running back available. New Orleans will be down a couple of stars, too, and doesn’t match up well with the Ravens’ defense. Lamar Jackson’s jazzy skills and steady hand should be the difference in his first start in the Superdome.
Mike Preston, columnist
Ravens 24, Saints 21: Playing the Saints in the Superdome is a tough assignment, but the Ravens seem prepared to go on a little roll. Quarterback Lamar Jackson knows he doesn’t have to play “hero ball” every week, and the Saints are having trouble finding a No. 1 quarterback after replacing Jameis Winston with Andy Dalton.
Childs Walker, reporter
Ravens 27, Saints 20: With a solid defense, an unorthodox running game and several big-play threats, the Saints aren’t your run-of-the-mill 3-5 opponent. But the Ravens will move the ball on the ground, and their massive advantage on special teams could come into play. They will batter their way to another victory in their midseason tour of the mediocre NFC South.
Ryan McFadden, reporter
Ravens 24, Saints 21: With Rashod Bateman out for the season and Mark Andrews’ availability up in the air, the Ravens will once again rely heavily on the running game. Even if Gus Edwards doesn’t play, Baltimore should be able to move the ball effectively while continuing to dominate on special teams.
C.J. Doon, editor
Saints 28, Ravens 27: For a team with a losing record, the Saints are pretty formidable. 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.
Tim Schwartz, editor
Ravens 30, Saints 20: Maybe I’m too optimistic based on the up-and-down season the Ravens have put together thus far, but the Saints aren’t that good, and the Ravens have been fueling up to make a run down the stretch. The mini-bye will help, as they’ve been dealing with injuries to several key players, but assuming Mark Andrews is good to go, I don’t see New Orleans posing a big threat to Baltimore. The Ravens have done well against quarterbacks who can’t escape the pocket and take off (see: Joe Flacco, Tom Brady, Jacoby Brissett), and while Andy Dalton has played well since he became the starter, he is not the fleetest of foot. Running back Alvin Kamara is a stud but the defense will stand tall and Lamar Jackson will more closely resemble the quarterback we saw early in the season as a dominant dual threat.