Well, another week of NFL football has come and gone, and with that came the next heartbreaking loss in the long history of Saints' heartbreaking losses these past 10 years. At 1-3, the New Orleans Saints now look to take on a 2-2 Seattle Seahawks team who have somewhat been exceeding expectations to an extent.
With Alvin Kamara potentially returning from injury in Week 5, the Saints rushing attack should look to get back on track this weekend provided he gets utilized well. In this article, I will be covering how the Saints’ rushing attack and Seahawks’ rushing defense have performed so far this season, and how we should expect these two units to match up against each other.
How have these units performed so far this season?
When you look at the Saints rushing production so far based on yards alone, it does not necessarily look enormously impressive, currently sitting 16th in the league with 446 rushing yards. However, you need to take into account both the fact that they have been dealing with Alvin Kamara’s injury since the second half of Week 1 and even then, have been productive in terms of efficiency.
The Saints are tied for 6th in the league in yards per carry at 5.1, as well as in rushing touchdowns with 4, and are tied for 11th in first down percentage when rushing at 26.1%. The obvious issue so far this season has been fumbling on rushing downs, however, where the Saints are tied for 2nd most in the league at 4 through 4 games. All things considered, without Alvin Kamara the Saints have been efficient at running the ball when they have chosen to but have struggled with production and ball security.
On the other side of the field, the Seahawks' rushing defense has been, well, to put it nicely, underperforming. They have given up the 4th most rushing yards at 616, are tied for the 3rd highest yards per carry allowed at 5.1, have tied for the 3rd most rushing touchdowns allowed at 6, and have given up the 7th most rushing first downs this season at 30. The only statistic they have not allowed the opposing teams to gash them in is rushing first down percentage, where they rank 15th lowest at 24.8% of rushing downs gaining a first down. This does need to be taken with a grain of salt, however, as they allowed 141 of these yards to Cordarrelle Patterson who was on a tear prior to his injury.
What should we expect from these units?
In the past, Alvin Kamara has had his way with Seattle in his two games played against them, however, the majority of his production came through receptions. In these two games, he only has 120 total yards on the ground in 36 carries (3.3 YPC) and a single touchdown. Obviously, this is not the worst stat line, especially considering he had 92 and 128 yards receiving respectively in these two matchups, but on the ground, he has somewhat been held in check. As for this season, there is not much to go on, so it is pretty much up in the air on his end, considering through 4 games he has only played in 2 and not having a touchdown or 100-yard game to his name this season. Granted you would not expect one with his rib injury, but we just are not sure what we should see from him as of yet.
The Seattle defense is a good first opponent for Kamara to return against, considering they have struggled mightily this season. The Saints should get the rushing game going early, and presumably will considering Seattle just gave up 108 rushing yards to Jamaal Williams just last week, so Dennis Allen and Pete Carmichael know that will be a key to winning. It will all come down to how effective Kamara can be, and whether or not he has to shake the rust off first or comes out firing on all cylinders. Expect a pretty solid performance from Kamara more than likely, as he will want to prove himself after his various struggles over the first 4 weeks.