The Ravens snapped a two-game losing streak with an SU and ATS win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 10 prior to taking their bye week.
In order to get a grasp on this primetime matchup, we’ve enlisted the help of those who know these teams the best. Expert NFL bloggers Justin Silberman from Ravens blog The Purple Chaos and Andrew Juge of Saints blog Saints Nation strap on the pads and debate which team will not only win, but cover the spread Monday night.
WHY BALTIMORE WILL COVER
Justin Silberman writes for The Purple Chaos. You can follow them on Facebook and Twitter @ThePurpleChaos.
Ravens Have Brees’ Number
The Ravens are the only team in the NFL that Saints quarterback Drew Brees hasn’t defeated. He’s 0-3 against them during his 13-year career, having lost to Baltimore once with the Chargers in 2003, and twice with the Saints in ’06 and ’10. An eight-time Pro Bowl selection, Brees has managed to complete just 59.6 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and seven interceptions during those contests.
Ravens are Tough to Beat Coming Off a Bye Week
Bye weeks have served the Ravens well since John Harbaugh took over as the team’s head coach in 2008. Baltimore is 5-1 during that stretch, having won five straight before last season’s post-bye loss at Cleveland, 24-18. With veterans like Steve Smith Sr., Terrell Suggs and Lardarius Webb getting an extra week of rest to recover from their aches and pains, look for the Ravens to come out rested and recharged.
Ravens’ Rushing Attack
The Ravens are 6-0 this season when they have rushed for 120 yards or more. Journeyman running back Justin Forsett has found himself a home in Baltimore, rushing for a team-high 721 yards on 133 carries for an NFL-high 5.4 yards per carry average. Forsett should see a heavy workload Monday to help keep Brees and the Saints’ high-powered offense on the sideline. Last week, fellow AFC North running back Jeremy Hill rushed for 152 yards on 27 carries during the Bengals’ 27-10 win at New Orleans, which should bode well for Forsett.
WHY NEW ORLEANS WILL COVER
Andrew Juge writes for Saints Nation. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter @SaintsNationBlg.
History with Drew Brees
In Brees’s last eight starts at home in the Superdome on Monday night football, his numbers look like this: 7-1 record, including five wins of 15 points or more. In those eight games he’s thrown for 26 touchdowns and just five interceptions. Brees is already a hall of fame quality quarterback, but one could argue that on Monday night when playing at home, for whatever reason, he’s the best quarterback of all time. The Saints play their best football at home in prime time and have done so since Brees first joined the team. And as much as the Saints are struggling this year, they still beat the Packers 44-23 in their lone prime time home game this season.
Joe Flacco’s Drop in Form
Flacco started the season red hot with 12 touchdowns and three interceptions in the Ravens’ first six games, and the team compiled a 4-2 record. Since then, Flacco hasn’t played nearly as well. In the last four games the Ravens are 2-2 and Flacco has thrown for five touchdowns and five interceptions. If the Ravens want to beat the Saints, Flacco will need to outperform Brees and that will be a tall order.
The Saints are still tied for first place in the woeful NFC South at 4-6 but the only way to get into the playoffs will be by way of the division title. This game is a must win for both teams given how close their respective division races are but the Saints are playing at home in a game that will likely make or break their season. Expect them to play more desperate and focused feeding off the Monday night crowd energy.
Join in the debate. Who covers on Monday night: Baltimore or New Orleans?