clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NFL Week 9: How Saints run offense stacks up vs. 49ers run defense

Despite the San Francisco 49ers injuries, the New Orleans Saints won’t run free on Sunday

NFL: Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints are coming off of a massive win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in which the Saints rushed for 138 yards against the league’s top rushing defense. The total was a hair above their 121.6 yard per game average, but the manner in which they did it was utterly dominant.

This week, the Saints rushing offense turns its attention to the San Francisco 49ers, whose rushing defense is also in the upper echelon. The 49ers are tenth in the league against the run, averaging 106.2 yards against per game.

One of the keys for the Saints will be how often their offense is on the field. Nick Mullens has had his ups and downs, but he has proven to be, if nothing else, serviceable for the 49ers. The Saints defense will be looking to get the 49ers of the field quickly, as their run offense is currently one of the better ones in football.

When the Saints offense is on the field, expect an emphasis on balance. Fred Warner has been outstanding for the Niners this year, but the offensive line is healthy and matches up well against the rest of the 49ers front seven. With Richard Sherman injured, the Saints may try to attack the San Francisco secondary, both in the passing game and on sweeps to try to get Alvin Kamara into space.

Latavius Murray should be a bigger part of the gameplan this week, and there will likely be less emphasis on Taysom Hill, who actually led the team in rushing last week.

The defending NFC champs have dealt with a lot this season in terms of injuries, but the rushing defense has been far from bad. The Saints should be able to target weak spots, however, and Sean Payton has proven more than capable of adjusting week to week to maximize his offensive output.

This matchup is a bit of an unknown for the Saints as things are, but as always, Kamara will likely get some more carries once Murray and Hill loosen things up. From there, it will up to the 49ers to adjust, but this will likely be a game where the Saints try to hold the ball to offset the 49ers outstanding running game.