NFL Preseason Betting – New-Look Saints Visit Ravens
Zack GarrisonNo comments
The New Orleans Saints’ new-look offense needs to take advantage of the preseason as much as possible. With TE Jimmy Graham now in Seattle, Drew Brees and company will have to make significant adjustments to maintain their status as one of the league’s best. Their first chance to find some chemistry will come this Thursday when they travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium (7:30 PM Eastern).
With Graham gone, QB Drew Brees will have to rely on the likes of Marques Colston, Brandin Cooks, and Joe Morgan in the passing game. The trio represents New Orleans’ biggest threats outside the numbers.
Cooks, a second-year player out of Oregon State, is to build on a solid rookie season after posting 53 catches for 550 yards last year.
“Throughout the whole offseason, one of my main focuses was being a better route runner,” Cooks said to Fox Sports. “I was in San Diego the whole off season training. I was with Drew [Brees] the majority of the time, basically the whole time.”
The Saints also want to see what RB CJ Spiller brings to the table after an injury-riddled year in Buffalo. Expect head coach Sean Payton to try to use Spiller much the way that he used Darren Sproles before the diminutive back was shipped to the Eagles.
The Saints will meet a Baltimore Ravens team coming off a heartbreaking playoff loss to the eventual Super Bowl champs from New England. The Ravens twice held leads of 14-points over the Patriots, but both times saw their advantage evaporate.
The big news out of Baltimore camp this week is that 35-year-old WR Steve Smith Sr. plans to make 2015 his last season in the NFL. The last time a big name in the Ravens organization went on a farewell tour the team ended-up lifting the Lombardi Trophy as legendary linebacker Ray Lewis left the game on the highest of high notes.
While the team knows what to expect from hard-working veteran Smith Sr., rookie WR Breshad Perriman is a question mark, especially in light of his current knee injury. Fellow WR Marlon Brown, who is expected to challenge Perriman for a starting role, is dealing with a nerve issue in his back. Whichever laboring receiver can come back sooner should have the advantage in the battle for a starting spot.
If you’re looking to put a wager on this game, know that the Saints are a decent 21-17 straight-up during the preseason under Payton, while the Ravens are an even better 19-9 during John Harbaugh’s tenure. Often times, these games come down to which second and third-string QBs play better. If that means choosing between veterans Matt Schaub (Baltimore) and Luke McCown (Baltimore), I’ll take the one with over 24,000 career passing yards.
Pick: Ravens (-3).