Baltimore Ravens (3-0) vs New Orleans Saints (3-0)
Thursday August 28, 2013 7PM Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Last week’s results: New Orleans beat Indianapolis 23-17 and Baltimore beat Washington 23-17
Did you know? The Baltimore Ravens are the only 3-0 team in the AFC this preseason. The Saints, Vikings and NY Giants are all undefeated in preseason going into the final game. Baltimore will open their 2014 season next week against the Bengals in an AFC North tilt while the Saints head to the ATL to take on the Falcons.
Noteworthy: OK, let’s be real here. The final preseason game may determine the fate of some players that are "on the bubble." The way I feel is that Coach Sean Payton pretty much has his mind made up on his 53 man roster with the exception of a few spots.
The two most recognizable positions that are up for grabs are very important - the back-up to Drew Brees could come down to who performs the best against the Ravens. In the battle are Ryan Griffin and Luke McCown.
“Right now if I had to pick I would go with Luke McCown,” said the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert. The main reason Hebert would give the nod to the veteran QB is because of experience. “Ryan Griffin has progressed a lot since last season and he’s made this battle a tough one. The Saints could very well go with Griffin,” said Hebert. Bobby also thinks that the Saints might keep both McCown and Griffin on the active roster.
In another battle, the Saints kicker could be decided over the next four quarters. Derek Dimke and Shayne Graham have both had their good moments during training camp, but both have looked not so good at times, too. “They’ve been inconsistent. Who knows, the Saints kicker might not even be on the roster right now,” said Bobby.
Folks, tonight's game is all about players getting one more shot to show not only their current team what they can do, but as the final cut nears, all 32 teams in the league are well aware of each player's ability. Training camp has become a tryout for all 32 teams in the NFL. Many players that are cut Saturday will be picked up by other teams.
This preseason, the Saints have been able to get more pressure on the opposing QB with 11 sacks. The Saints recorded four sacks in each of their first two games and the Black and Gold D got another three QB take-downs in their win over the Colts last Saturday.
New Orleans also wanted to up their forced turnover total this season. If the preseason is any indication of what is to come, then the Saints will be alright. The Saints are atop of the NFL in preseason with a +5 turnover margin, having forced eight turnovers in three preseason games. And last week the Saints first team defense was more than solid against a very good Colts offense. Before the Colts final drive (13 plays 78 yards) of the first half, the Saints defense held the Colts offense to 54 yards on 14 plays.
This game, the Saints just want to get out injury free and then start to focus on a huge opening game against the Falcons. Earlier this week, I compiled some numbers of what the Saints have done in preseason games:
The Saints have won their first three preseason games in consecutive seasons for the first time in franchise history
Thursday night's game in the Mercedes Benz Superdome is the only match-up of 3-0 teams in the final week of preseason action.
New Orleans has scored 80 points 26.6 points per game
The Saints have allowed 65 points 21.6 points per game
The Saints offense has 1,130 yards averaging 377 yards per game
New Orleans has been flagged 42 times for 372 yards
The Saints average 14 penalties and 124 yards per game
Drew Brees completed 9-of-15 pass attempts for 128 yards with two TD’s and a QB rating of 127.2 in his only action in a preseason game
Saints RB Mark Ingram has carried the ball 21 times for 148 yards averaging 6.8 yards per carry