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Primetime Prospects: 5 Saints Players to Watch Monday Night vs. the Ravens

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Aug 28, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (34) is tackled by New Orleans Saints outside linebacker Ramon Humber (53), defensive end Akiem Hicks (76) and inside linebacker David Hawthorne (57) during the first quarter of their game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints will be looking to bounce back Monday night against the Baltimore Ravens prime-time style after suffering two-consecutive, rare losses in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.  For the third-straight week, the Black and Gold  will be playing in front of a home crowd, seeking their first win since Oct. 30 on the road versus the Carolina Panthers.

Sean Payton and company will go head-to-head with John Harbaugh and his Charm City squad in what should be another physical matchup for the Who Dat Nation.  With kickoff set to go four evenings from now, let’s take a look at some Saints players to keep an eye on.

5. CB Keenan Lewis 

Keenan was limited to only ten snaps against the Cincinnati Bengals, which is part of the reason Andy Dalton, A.J. Green and company found so much success against the secondary.  Obviously there is more to blame, but Lewis’ presence will be imperative, especially against a longtime Saints killer like WR Steve Smith.  We’ll have to monitor his status throughout the remainder of the week, but I expect him to dress out.

It was nice to see Smith part ways with Carolina and the NFC South.  Like Coach Payton mentioned during his Thursday afternoon press conference, “Good news was he left our division, bad news is we’re playing him this year.”

New Orleans’ Pro-Bowl hopeful cornerback has an important task, stopping the Smiths.  Don’t forget about Torrey Smith.  Lewis will certainly have his hands full Monday with the two speedsters in the mix.

4. WR Nick Toon 

This one could be a bit of a toss up since Toon has not recorded a single stat this season, making brief appearances in only two games.  He returned for his third year in 2014, and between injuries and frustrating performances, his time has been extremely limited.

However, after the news of rookie WR Brandin Cooks falling on season-ending injured reserve with a broken thumb, it may be time to “Toon” in and watch the once promising wideout get to work on the field.

3. WR Joe Morgan

Morgan, like Toon, has been limited all year long, recording just one catch for seven yards that came last week against the Bengals.  He’s been plagued by injuries for most of his career and even ran into a little off-field trouble, but it looks like the team is beginning to regain its trust in the NFL‘s former yards per catch leader (2012).

Before the season began, the idea of the speed of Morgan, Cooks and Kenny Stills all on the field together was actually quite intoxicating, but that looks to be gone out the window now.  Can Morgan play an important role in the offense for the remainder of the season and possibly into the playoffs?  We’ll have to watch and find out.

2. LT Terron Armstead 

Armstead will certainly be busy Monday night keeping QB Drew Brees safe in the pocket.  While Haloti Ngata will be coming off the line, also giving guard Ben Grubbs a job against the Ravens’ 3-4 scheme, Terron will additionally be dealing with outside linebackers Elvis Dumervil and Courtney Upshaw.

Since both being selected in the 2006 NFL Draft, Ngata and Dumervil have combined for eight Pro Bowl appearances, so Armstead’s job will certainly not come easy.  Keep an eye on the sophomore tackle — this could very well be the most difficult challenge of his career up to this point.

1. FS Pierre Warren

The thought of Warren playing in his first ever regular season game is a bit terrifying to think about.  The 2014 undrafted rookie out of Jacksonville State (AL) was actually quite spectacular during training camp and the preseason, but unfortunately did not make the final cut for the 53-man roster due to a stacked position.

Warren was just resigned, and it sounds like Coach Payton will give him the start on Monday after seeing Thursday afternoon’s press conference.  He showed some serious potential with his speed and ball instincts, so we’ll have to see how he fills in for Rafael Bush and Jairus Byrd as the Saints’ third starting free safety this year.

I expect the Saints to have their hands full Monday night, but it seems like no matter what the case, the Black and Gold are truly unstoppable in the Superdome in prime-time contests.  I expect that trend to continue as New Orleans is desperate for a win to get back on top in the division.

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