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Key Matchup of the Week: Saints run game vs. Cowboys Run D

Can Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram and Taysom Hill transform this Saints running attack and give the team a shot against Dallas?

NFL: Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

As the New Orleans Saints prepare for a second-consecutive Thursday night matchup, this time with the Dallas Cowboys, one matchup to keep an eye on will be that of NOLA’s run attack and the Cowboy run defense.

The Saints are currently 4-point underdogs to the Bills, according to DraftKings sportsbook, but one way they can defeat the odds would be to revitalize their run game.

It was reported on Monday that Alvin Kamara was back at practice in limited fashion, while Mark Ingram and Taysom Hill were full participants. It also was reported that Hill will be starting this game.

Assuming these three will play, this could be a huge boost for a previously struggling run game in New Orleans.

On the season, the Saints are averaging 3.9 yards per rush, which is tied for 25th-lowest in the league. Last game, without Kamara, Hill or Ingram, they rushed 24 times for 44 total yards (1.8 YPC).

Injuries all over the offense, including the offensive line, have a lot to do with these numbers. Also, the lack of consistency in the passing game makes it easier for defenses to predict when a run is coming.

But these numbers have to get better if the offense wants to move the ball. And this trio of athletes who are dangerous with the ball in their hands should help in that area to say the least.

Dallas, on the other hand, has struggled with defending the run all year and there isn’t much indication that that will change any time soon.

They’re fresh off of a game where they allowed 143 yards on the ground to the Las Vegas Raiders, and on the season, they’re allowing 4.4 yards per rush — T-22nd in the league.

Their team PFF run defense grade is 45.3, which is 27th in the NFL.

This is basically a weakness-on-weakness matchup, but with at least a little added hope for the Saints with the return of some of their playmakers in the run game.

The run game will probably be the only consistent way the Saints can move the ball on Thursday night, so this matchup could decide this game in the long run.

It will be interesting to see how much the Cowboys dedicate to stopping the Saints run attack given the lack of receiver talent and QB situation.

Hopefully, Taysom and the Boom and Zoom combination can be the spark this offense needs in a pivotal game for the Saints’ playoff hopes.

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