Baltimore Ravens: Top Matchups to Watch vs. Saints

2 of 5

Oct 26, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Baltimore Ravens defensive end

Haloti Ngata

(92) knocks the ball away from Cincinnati Bengals quarterback

Andy Dalton

(14) during the fourth quarter at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Haloti Ngata and Brandon Williams vs. Saints Interior O-Line

In my opinion this matchup will decide the game. The Saints have sneakily been a very good team in running the ball this season. Mark Ingram has had a resurgence in his contract year that has led the Saints to rank as the 8th rushing offense this season.

However, the Saints have been polar opposites in protecting Drew Brees across the interior line. All three of the Saints interior lineman have a very poor negative PFF pass-blocking grade which averages to -9.17. Former Raven Ben Grubbs has the best of the three with a -3.8 grade.

Ngata and Williams have both been stout against the run game, both grade in the top 12 at their respective positions in run defense according to PFF.  If they can take the Saints’ running game out of the equation and make the Saints one dimensional, then the Ravens can release Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs on the edge to terrorize Drew Brees.

Also watch Pernell McPhee against the interior line, where, on third down pass-rush situations he usually lines up over the guard/center. I think he’ll have a big impact in this game because of how poorly the interior line struggles in pass blocking.