The New Orleans Saints have, to put it lightly, struggled this season in various aspects of the game. With this, they now head into week 5 at 1-3 against the 2-2 Seattle Seahawks and are in desperate need of a second win on the season. Both the Saints’ run defense and the Seahawks’ run offense have been lackluster if you look at the stats alone, but both units have also produced beyond what the stats can show. In this article, I will talk about how these units have performed so far, and then how we should expect them to perform against each other this Sunday.
How have these units performed to date?
The Saints’ run defense has been good this season simply put, but they have been on the field for such a long time due to a lackluster offense which has forced them to allow production late in games. The Saints rank 19th in the league in the least rushing yards allowed at 499, have allowed 3 rushing touchdowns on the season (T-3rd least), have allowed the 10th least first downs via the rush at 24, and most importantly, have tied for the 10th lowest YPC allowed this season at 4.0. As I said, the production allowed is relatively poor overall with the high yards total, but the low yards per carry and first downs allowed are promising, as it shows this is not an effectiveness issue for the defense, but an exhaustion issue.
On the other side of the ball, the Seahawks’ rush offense is 14th in the league in rushing yards with 459, are tied for the 4th highest yards per carry at 5.2, are tied for 6th in rushing touchdowns with 3, and are tied for 12th in rushing first downs at 26. Overall the Seahawks rushing offense has had its moments and overall has been effective in producing when on the field, but also are tied for the 8th least rushing attempts in the league at 89. This creates the high yards per carry but low total yards, as they have not been utilized at high volume so far.
What should we expect from these units?
This matchup is going to be similar to how it has been so far for the Saints. If they can take time off the clock on offense and actually sustain drives, which they were able to do last week somewhat, they will perform well in terms of run defense late in the game. If they do the “run-run-pass-punt” scenario that we have oft seen this season, then the run defense will hold only for so long before it gets gashed.
With how the offense has looked under Andy Dalton so far, I would say we see some improvements in scoring, and the defense holding up late against Seattle. As much as I have been scared about this offensive unit, the fact that Alvin Kamara is returning and Andy Dalton was making the plays he needed to last weekend, there is hope for both sides of the ball in New Orleans.