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Week 14 NFL Preview: How the Saints running game stacks up against the Eagles rushing defense

Latavius Murray could be primed for another big game, but the Saints may expect more out of Alvin Kamara

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that the New Orleans Saints are the NFL’s leading rushing offense the last three games. They’re averaging 200.7 yards per game with Taysom Hill at the helm and, in turn, they’re 3-0.

Inversely, the Saints are 29th in the league in passing in the last three, ahead of the Ravens, Broncos and Bengals. The Broncos sample size is all out of whack from Kendall Hinton’s start against the Saints, while the Ravens had Robert Griffin III and Trace McSorley start against the Steelers. Against the Eagles, the Saints will likely try to replicate the same formula with Hill.

Alvin Kamara still appears to be transitioning to this new normal in which he isn’t a huge factor in the passing game. He had 88 yards against the Falcons on the ground last week, a season high, but Hill is also taking a lot of his yards on the ground.

Indeed, Hill had 83 rushing yards last week, marking the second time in three weeks Hill has been right around the Saints leading rusher. The outlier is the Broncos game, in which Latavius Murray rushed for 124 yards.

The Eagles seem like a perfect candidate for another big Murray game. They struggle between the tackles, and they’re 25th in the league against the run. They’re also seventh against the pass, so the Saints will have to know their limitations and gameplan around that.

Kamara has been strong in his last few outings against the Eagles. In their two matchups in 2018, Kamara had 71 yards rushing in both outings, and he broke 100 yards from scrimmage in both weeks. Even if the Saints don’t lean on Kamara — and the evidence in recent weeks suggests they won’t — he has a proven track record against these defenses.

On defense, the player to pick up is Alex Singleton, who has been decent when he’s been healthy. The Saints will undoubtedly try to have someone on the second level, as no one up front really gives the Eagles a push.

On the offensive line, Ryan Ramczyk is battling an elbow injury that forced him to leave practice on Wednesday. Otherwise, however, the Saints are in decent shape up front.

The reality is, the Saints have tipped their hand. With Hill at QB, they will live and die by the run. So far it hasn’t hurt them, and the Eagles are a good team to continue that against due to their abysmal run defense so far this year. Don’t expect to see much different this week — It should be a lot of read options and speed plays. The Eagles haven’t been able to defend this all season, so expect to see the Saints stick to what they’ve been doing the past few weeks.


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