John DeShazier | Senior Writer - NewOrleansSaints.com
No secrets here: This one figures to be physical, bruising and limit-pushing.
True, every NFL game possesses those characteristics to some degree. But when New Orleans (4-1) takes on Baltimore (4-2) on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, it does so with the knowledge that the Ravens love nothing more than physically imposing their will, and with the knowledge that the Saints themselves have been able to do just that during their four-game winning streak.
Yes, the Saints’ offensive numbers look pretty – a league-leading 36 points, and 424 yards, per game. But underneath the glitz has been an ability to win the grind game: 4.1 yards per carry, 31:46 time of possession, 10 rushing touchdowns, 17 of 19 on goal-to-go, 15 of 21 on third-and-3 or less.
Here are a few ways that the Saints can grind, and perhaps win, against the Ravens:
1. Baltimore gets after you defensively like few others. The Ravens lead the league in sacks (26, including a team-record 11 in their last game) and total defense (270.8 yards allowed per game), are second in pass defense (188 yards) and third in run defense (82.8). For the Saints, it begins with protecting Drew Brees. New Orleans only has allowed eight sacks this season, and Brees hasn’t thrown an interception through five games. We know how effective he is when given time, or even when facing a blitz. The more he’s standing upright, the better for the Saints’ offense. This is a good time to have his full complement of weapons, too. ...
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