“Life happens at times. I got traded, so initially I was shocked,” Smith said. “But I’m excited to be here. [It’s] a good group of guys, guys that are contending for a title, and that’s what I’m in the game to play for.”
“I know they’re trying to get over the hump and win the big game,” Smith said. “So, I feel like I can be one of the guys that can help with that, so I’m excited to be able to give everything I have to make that happen.”
“My main focus right now is learning the playbook, getting a great relationship with the guys and then going from there,” said Smith, who expects to make an impact in his debut against the Saints.
“I don’t feel like it’s an all-out cram session because I feel like I have a nice understanding of everything that we’re doing here on defense. That’s part of being a pro, and those guys in the locker room are getting me right, as well as the coaching staff helping me out big time. So, I feel very comfortable with where I’m at right now, and by Monday, I know I’m going to feel even better. So, I’m excited.”
Overall grades for each NFL team at midway point: Eagles, Bills ace midterm; Packers get embarrassing mark - Jeff Kerr
The Ravens are a very good football team that has three losses — all after blowing double-digit leads. Lamar Jackson hasn’t played well over the last four weeks, yet the Ravens are 3-1 during that stretch. Take away the two weeks against the Dolphins and Patriots, and the Ravens are allowing just 320 yards per game — that’s a top-10 defense (that just added Roquan Smith).
Jackson will get going again and the Ravens will eventually get J.K. Dobbins back for the stretch run. They still need an upgrade at wide receiver, but maybe DeSean Jackson will be that player who can make the offense more explosive.
NFL offensive line rankings ahead of Week 9 - Sam Monson
3. BALTIMORE RAVENS (NO CHANGE)
Projected Week 9 Starters:
LG Ben Powers
RT Morgan Moses
Ronnie Stanley played 61 of 76 snaps against the Buccaneers on Thursday night, allowing no pressure all game.
Rookie Tyler Linderbaum leads the team with 10 pressures surrendered.
Upcoming Opponent: New Orleans Saints
The Saints’ defense has been underachieving, but they showed up last week, putting Derek Carr under pressure 41.4% of the time.
The Ravens (5-3), enjoying their first winning streak of the season, are favored by three points over the Saints, who blanked the visiting Las Vegas Raiders, 24-0, on Sunday. New Orleans is 3-5 overall and 2-3 since quarterback Andy Dalton took over for the banged-up Jameis Winston in Week 4.
The Ravens are 3-1 on the road this season, including a 27-22 win Thursday over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They’re also 3-1 against the spread away from Baltimore, with the exception being their 24-20 loss to the New York Giants. New Orleans is 2-3 overall at the Caesars Superdome and 3-2 against the spread.
Both teams could be missing star players. Saints starting wide receivers Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry have been sidelined for over a month by foot and ankle injuries, respectively, while starting cornerback Marshon Lattimore (abdomen) hasn’t played since Week 5. Ravens starting wide receiver Rashod Bateman (foot) will miss several weeks, and the availability of All-Pro tight end Mark Andrews (shoulder) and starting running back Gus Edwards (hamstring) is unknown.
How will the Saints’ passing offense stack up against the Ravens’ passing defense? - Jeremy Trottier
Starting off on the Saints’ side, their passing game has been pretty far above average so far this season in most passing metrics. They rank 7th in passing yards (2121), 6th in passing touchdowns (14), 11th in passing yards per attempt (7.5), 15th in completion percentage (64.8%), 8th in passing first downs (96), and have only allowed the 9th least sacks on the season (15). They are tied for the 3rd most interceptions thrown on the season however after Andy Dalton threw 3 last week, with 9 on the season so far. Overall though, Dalton has been effective as the quarterback and aside from that one game has been safe with the ball.
In terms of what we should expect, you should see either some really extensive protective play calling where Dalton is giving the ball off to Alvin Kamara all game, or the normal system of play calling which may end up like the Cardinals game. Getting Kamara and Taysom Hill involved makes this offense go from below average to really strong, and this will need to be discussed in the locker-room before the game. Also, if Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry return, that completely changes the outlook of this game, as you have two strong short to intermediate route runners, which would allow Chris Olave to get more open than just Olave and the remaining receiver core.
Week 9: Ravens Vs. Saints Preview, Where to Watch, Prediction - Todd Karpovich
The Saints’ pass defense is ranked 12th in the league, allowing 208.3 yards per game. Tyrann Mathieu is having a solid season and leads the team with two interceptions. New Orleans also has a formidable pass rush — Demario Davis and Cameron Jordan have five sacks apiece. The Ravens will try to get their top playmaker, Devin Duvernay, involved early and often. Duvernay’s versatility and speed can create challenges for New Orleans. If Andrews can’t play, rookie Isaiah Likely will look to stack another solid game. The Ravens can’t come out throwing the ball 30 times in the first half; balance will be key.
The Saints could try to dictate the tempo with a running attack that averages 141.3 yards per game. Alvin Kamara lead the team with 413 yards rushing, followed by Taysom Hill (337). The Ravens have been stout against the run all season and allow fewer than 100 yards per game. The new additions make this defense even tougher.
The Ravens are gaining some momentum and have won two straight games for the first time since last November. The defense should be tougher with the aforementioned additions. The Ravens are successful when they run the ball, but the Saints’ defense is a bit tougher than Tampa Bay’s. Still, the Ravens are the deeper and better team.
Ravens 23, Saints 17