New Orleans has struggled to find their offensive rhythm this preseason, and enters Thursday’s preseason finale with a 0-3 record.
Saints head coach Sean Payton said he plans to open the game with nearly all of the team’s starters, including quarterback Drew Brees. Brees hasn’t started the fourth preseason game since his first year in New Orleans.
“We’re going to play a lot of our guys early on in this game,” Payton said during a press conference. “Our plan early in the first quarter is to play our starters and then make a transition at some point.”
Coming off a 27-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Payton is looking to see overall improvement from the offensive line, and a more aggressive pass rush from his defense.
“We didn’t play well enough at all on the offensive line. I thought defensively there were some things that show up that are encouraging and yet, we give up three explosive passing plays,” he said. “For the amount of times they threw the ball, our ability to affect the quarterback was poor. Those were the two (that stood out).”
The Baltimore Ravens enter the preseason game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with a perfect 3-0 record. For head coach John Harbaugh, the preseason can’t end soon enough. He plans to rest the majority of his starters for the Sept. 11 regular-season opener against the Buffalo Bills.
Players such as quarterback Joe Flacco, wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., rush linebacker Terrell Suggs and cornerback Jimmy Smith will not take the field on Thursday night.
Expect to see plenty of action from second and third string players. NFL teams have to cut their roster from 75 to 53 by Saturday afternoon, which means Thursday’s game is the final opportunity for players who are on the bubble to make one last impression.
“We have some good choices and some tough choices, and that’s a good problem to have,” Harbaugh said this week.
Baltimore Ravens vs. New Orleans Saints Viewing Info
Date: Thursday, September 1
Start Time: 8 p.m. ET
–Ravens Preseason TV Network:
WBAL (NBC/11 – Baltimore)
Comcast Sportsnet (Mid-Atlantic)
WJLA (ABC/7 – Washington)
-Saints Preseason TV Network:
WVUE (FOX/8 – New Orleans)
WAFB (CBS/9 – Baton Rouge)
KSLA (CBS/12 – Shreveport)
Line: Saints (-5.5), per OddsShark