The Saints have had one of the most unsettled quarterback situations in football this season, a theme that is becoming pretty persistent in the post-Brees era. Jameis Winston opened the season as the Saints’ starting quarterback for the second consecutive year, only to struggle with turnovers and suffer a back injury in September.
Enter Andy Dalton, who helped the Saints’ offense take a step forward and played his way into the conversation to start full-time. Who is starting for the Saints on Monday Night Football this week?
Saints Starting Quarterback vs. Baltimore Ravens
Coach Dennis Allen announced last week that Dalton will be the Saints’ starting quarterback going forward. Winston could still reasonably take over at some point if Dalton struggles, but the 35-year-old strengthened his grip on the job with another strong performance in a 24-0 win over the Raiders last weekend.
Dalton finished 22-of-30 for 229 yards and 2 touchdowns in the dominant win. It was ironically the Saints’ lowest-scoring game since Dalton replaced Winston, but that outlines just how much of a difference the former Bengals quarterback has made. New Orleans is averaging 29.6 points per game in Dalton’s five starts, and while the Saints are only 2-3 in that span, they’re firmly in the mix in the NFC South even at 3-5.
Dalton has performed well even without many of his top receivers. Michael Thomas is out for the season, Jarvis Landry has played only one game with Dalton, and even Chris Olave missed one of Dalton’s starts. Olave and Alvin Kamara should continue to serve as Dalton’s top weapons heading into Sunday’s game.
Andy Dalton vs. Baltimore Ravens
Dalton thrived against the Raiders’ struggling defense, but the Ravens’ defense could be a tougher challenge. Baltimore is allowing 6.4 yards per pass attempt, which is about middle of the pack. The Ravens have had some major defensive lapses, particularly against the Dolphins, but the unit has held up better in recent weeks as Baltimore has climbed to 5-3.
Notably, the Ravens have allowed 108 first downs via pass this season, the most of any AFC team. Dalton has enough talent and experience (plenty of it against the AFC North) to keep the Saints’ offense moving. Interestingly, Dalton does have a lengthy history of struggling in primetime.
Baltimore Ravens vs. New Orleans Saints Odds
The Ravens enter as 2.5-point road favorites, coming in at -132 on the moneyline. A Lamar Jackson-led team is going to get the nod over a team with as unstable of a quarterback situation as this most of the time, but the Saints’ impressive win over the Raiders is keeping this line close.
New Orleans’ defense finally arrived onto the scene last weekend, and Dalton continues to prove he’s a more capable leader of the offense than Winston. The Saints could be a trendy pick, especially as the Ravens deal with a few major injuries to their offensive weapons.