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Ravens vs Saints: Week 1 NFL preseason preview

Vincent Frank

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The Baltimore Ravens and New Orleans Saints will kick off their 2021 NFL preseason schedules on Aug. 14. This represents a preseason matchup against two teams who fancy themselves as title contenders. Below, we preview this initial preseason game for each team.

Ravens vs Saints: What you need to know

Jameis Winson vs Taysom Hill

ravens vs saints: jameis winston, new orleans qb competition
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

We would normally look at quarterbacks for both times. But right now, that doesn’t make sense with Lamar Jackson unlikely to go in this one. Instead, the attention turns to New Orleans quarterback competition. These two will be tasked with replacing future Hall of Famer Drew Brees and hold the key to the Saints’ success in 2021.

NFL power rankings: Where the Saints and Ravens stand

  • No clear-cut favorite: Through the first week-plus of training camp, no favorite has emerged between Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. Both have shown flashes, but have also shown themselves to be inconsistent. This is a less-than-stellar situation for head coach Sean Payton and Co.
  • Preseason will be telling for Saints’ QB competition: Without a clear-cut favorite in camp, the expectation here is that both Winston and Hill will see a ton of action during New Orleans’ three preseason games. It will be interesting to see how the snaps are allocated Week 1 against the Ravens.

Rashod Bateman vs Paulson Adebo

ravens vs saints: rashod bateman
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore sought to upgrade a lackluster wide receiver group this past offseason by signing Sammy Watkins and selecting this former Minnesota standout in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. This is going to be a huge key as the Ravens battle it out with both the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North.

Are the New Orleans Saints legit Super Bowl contenders?

As for the Saints, they pretty much whiffed on signing a starter-caliber corner opposite Marshon Lattimore. No, Prince Amukamara is not the answer. That’s where the team’s young cornerbacks are going to have to step up.

  • Rashod Bateman as the X-factor: Baltimore didn’t take Bateman in the first round for him to be a red-shirt performer as a rookie. The expectations are high after a dominating career for the Gophers. Unfortunately, a minor injury during the early stages of training camp has set him back a tad.
  • New Orleans Saints pass defense: A third-round pick out of Stanford this past spring, Adebo might be thrown into the mix early on. He’s a physical corner who might have success against bigger-bodied receivers. I’d expect Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to line the rookie up against Bateman a lot.

New Orleans Saints wide receivers

ravens vs saints: deonte harris
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

With star pass-catcher Michael Thomas out of action over the long-term, other players are going to have to step up for New Orleans. Simply put, the Saints can’t expect Alvin Kamara to catch 150 passes this season.

This preseason opener should be a good test against a Ravens cornerback group that goes about six deep. That’s not hyperbole.

Click here to see where the Baltimore Ravens’ defense ranks in the NFL

  • Stepping up in the Bayou: The likes of Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harris, Juwan Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey should see extended playing time in this one. New Orleans won’t want to risk injury to its lone starter-caliber receiver, Tre’Quan Smith. It’ll be interesting to see who steps up.
  • Odd-man out in Baltimore: Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey are the Ravens’ two starting corners. Neither will see action here. Instead, it will be interesting to see if youngsters Shaun Wade and Anthony Averett can push Jimmy Smith for the No. 3 corner spot.

Bottom line: There’s a lot of backstories when it comes to this Ravens vs Saints preseason opener. Obviously, what we see from Winston and Hill will be more important than the final score. From Baltimore’s perspective, it’s all about finding out what type of depth the team has.