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New Orleans Saints vs. Baltimore Ravens,
10-21-2018 - Pick and Prediction

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Game Snapshot with Current Line

#469 New Orleans
Saints 51
#470 Baltimore
Ravens -3

Sunday, October 21, 2018 at 4:05pm

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

Featured Video from Scott Reichel

M&T Stadium is the setting for the Sunday National Football League game between the New Orleans Saints (4-1) and the Baltimore Ravens. The Saints are coming off a blowout victory over the Redskins and Baltimore shutout the Titans in their own house. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 pm Eastern.

Drew Brees is Rolling

The Saints are 4-1 largely in part to future Hall of Famer Drew Brees. Brees is completing 77 percent of his passes for 1658 yards, 11 TD’s, eight sacks and ZERO interceptions over 190 passing attempts. Much has been made about the Brees at home vs the Brees on the road but that might be noise from the Daily Fantasy gamblers.

RB Mark Ingraham has returned and that makes folks wonder how the Saints will use RB Alvin Kamara. This article is as good as any I’ve read about this. Either way, the Saints backfield is solid and the Saints average 103.2 rushing yards per game.

WR Michael Thomas is having a good season with 519 receiving yards and three TD’s on 49 targets. Only Kamara has more targets than Thomas and also gives us a snapshot on how Kamara will be used going forward.

New Orleans converts 42 percent of their third down attempts, 100 percent of their fourth down attempts and have scored TD’s on 65 percent of their Red Zone possessions.

The Saints defense allows an average of 28 points per game. They have recorded 12 sacks, two interceptions and have recovered two fumbles. Teams convert 42 percent of their third downs, 50 percent of their fourth downs and teams are scoring TD’s on 73 percent of their trips to the Red Zone. Cornerback Marshon Lattimore is still in concussion protocol and his status for Sunday is up in the air.

The Ravens and Their Spectacular Defense

The Ravens have won three of their past four games and part of that success is due QB Joe Flacco. Flacco is completing 62 of his passes for nine TD’s, four interceptions and 11 sacks.

RB Alex Collins does the lion’s share of the workload and has rushed for 271 yards and four TD’s. He’s also caught nine passes for 77 yards and a TD and has lost both of his fumbles this season.

Flacco spreads the ball around with WR Michael Crabtree leading the team in targets (55) and receptions (30), WR John Brown leads the team in receiving yards (424) and TD’s (3) and Willie Snead IV has 30 receptions and one TD.

Baltimore has converted 46.9 percent of their third downs, 71 percent of its fourth downs and have scored TD’s on 41.6 percent of their Red Zone possessions this season.

Baltimore is allowing just 12.1 points per game but that will be tested on Sunday. They were dominant against a weak Tennessee offense last week. This Ravens defense allows 202 passing yards and 99 rushing yards per game. The Ravens defense has a league-leading 26 sacks, five interceptions and have recovered one fumble. Teams score TD’s on 46 percent of their trips to the Red Zone, convert 26 percent of their third downs and this defense hasn’t allowed teams to convert any of their fourth down attempts this season. Now you see why the Ravens have only allowed 12 points a game so far this season. Amazingly, they have not allowed a touchdown in the second half all season.

The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet

This one could be a classic. The Ravens defense has been lights out all season long but one thing that concerns me is the 202 passing yards allowed. That right there is concerning enough for me to go with the Saints on Sunday. The reason should be clear; the Ravens only weakness is the Saints strength and no one outside of maybe Aaron Rogers does it better than Drew Brees and I don’t believe the Ravens will be able to stop this passing attack.

I’m aware the Saints defense is shaky and banged up. That does concern me but I don’t hold the Ravens offense in the same regard as I do the Saints. The Ravens will surely score but the Saints should be able to overcome that and cover the +2.5 on Sunday. Take the Saints and the points and cash that ticket Sunday!

Prediction: New Orleans +2.5

Full-Game Total Pick

If I were betting this game the 49.5 point total is where I would be looking to place my action. Specifically the over 49.5 points. That Ravens passing defense plus the longer rest for Brees and the Saints is going to matter. And let’s face it; the Saints are banged up and even when fully healthy that team isn’t exactly a defensive minded tackle football team.

If I’ve read this game right this could be a back and forth shootout type of game and if that is indeed the case those two teams might smash that total in a million little pieces. That’s what I’m hoping for and that’s why you should play the over on Sunday and cash your ticket Monday morning!

Prediction: Over 49.5 Points

Phil Naessens

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