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With Brandin Cooks On IR, Ravens Can Increase Focus on Jimmy Graham

Brandin Cooks was placed on IR with a broken thumb suffered in last week's loss to the Bengals.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

I'll admit it, last week, I wasn't feeling too great about the Ravens upcoming Monday Night Football matchup agains the Saints. Now that rookie wide receiver Brandin Cooks is out for the year with a broken thumb and seeing how the Saints were manhandled by the Cincinnati Bengals - I'm feeling much more confident.

Having such an underperforming and injury-riddled secondary, it's safe to assume that the making of a field day for Brandin Cooks isn't too far fetched. Cooks had come into his own in the past few weeks, having averaged more than 10 yards per catch in his past five games, scoring two touchdowns in his past four games.

Now that Cooks is reduced to a spectator, the Ravens defense can focus more attention to one of the NFL's premier offensive weapons, tight end Jimmy Graham. Every week, Graham can keep defensive coordinators restless leading up to the game, but the Ravens have generally done a great job against tight ends this season.

This season, the Ravens find themselves tied for second-fewest in the league for touchdowns allowed (2) and receptions allowed (35) to tight ends. Their 460 yards against is good enough for 11th.

Just as we saw on Thursday with the Raiders victory over the Chiefs, this league is week-to-week. The Saints may be having a down year with a 4-6 record, but that doesn't mean they're not a dangerous team given the playmakers on their offense.

Whether the Ravens win or lose, most of the result is going to be dictated by how well the secondary plays. Not having Cooks out on the field allows the Ravens to focus more attention on Graham and other playmakers, thus giving them a better chance to hand the Saints their seventh loss on the season.

For more Ravens news and notes, follow me on Twitter @RavenManiac.