With two weeks left in the season, the New Orleans Saints hold on to the slimmest hope of sneaking away with the division. They need to win their last two games & have Tampa Bay lose their last two games (Carolina, Atlanta). Next up is the Philadelphia Eagles (13-2).
What has led to success for New Orleans this season? Establishing a running game with AK and Taysom, particularly AK.
Tackle (or Touch Any Part of) Alvin Kamara in a Phone Booth Challenge pic.twitter.com/2FC8XQn0RK— JetPack Galileo (@JetPackGalileo) December 20, 2022
Alvin Kamara has topped 100 all-purpose yards in the last two matchups (Atlanta, Cleveland). He averaged 22 touches in those two performances. Even when he’s finally getting applicable touches, it’s still not enough. AK averaged just 13 (!!!) touches in the five games prior to this mini winning streak. That’s asinine and seems almost intentional. Pete Carmichael has single-handedly dropped AK’s stock in the league, while I believe AK is still a top 3 RB at worst.
This is Pete seemingly not having a reasonable explanation for not lining up AK at receiver more this year (with Mike, Landry and Olave all missing extended time you’d think Kamara at WR would be a given)
OC Pete Carmichael on Alvin Kamara’s lack of snaps at receiver this season pic.twitter.com/F8gtxGZj5m— NOF (@nofnetwork) December 29, 2022
Kamara is this team’s best player, simply put. We know his talent-level and how to maximize his intangibles (get him the ball in space) but common sense isn’t always so common. Pete is starting games off with him splitting snaps, he’s ending games with him splitting snaps. He’s constantly running him up the middle as if he’s Marshawn Lynch - he has no motive to “force feed” him the ball. Through 15 games, Kamara has been on the field for 62 percent of the team’s third downs, down from his 81 percent rate in 2021. Pete has overthought the game-plan almost all year. In result, the offense has struggled mightily. There’s been a few good performances but that’s it, just a few. The season is almost over.
This is malpractice:
Alvin Kamara still has less red zone carries (13) than Breece Hall (15). Hall has not played since week 7.— Wyatt (@WyattB_FF) December 21, 2022
Here’s the injury report thus far for New Orleans:
We’ll keep an eye out on Kamara’s situation, but it doesn’t seem to be anything alarming as of yet. If and when he suits up for Philly, getting him 24+ touches should be the main priority for this offense. They’re going to need him. Philly’s bread and butter on defense is the trenches, and pass rush. Kamara out of the backfield in space would be a great counter to that. Establishing the run and winning the LOS would be an even better counter.
Contrary to popular belief, New Orleans matches up well with Philly (even with key injuries). Offensively, the O-line has consistently gotten better with time. I don’t expect Philly to have a field day roughing up Dalton. Defensively, New Orleans has been lights out (considering that they’ve missed three starters over the past two months + the offense not helping them out). With Lattimore, this secondary would matchup perfect with Philly. Without him, they still matchup fairly well but clearly not as much. I expect the defense to win possessions and stay ahead of the chains.
I expect Pete to put on his thinking cap and realize this offense peaks when Kamara peaks.
New Orleans beating Philly seems extremely unlikely to most fans, but I think these teams are evenly matched. I think it’ll mainly come down to - Can New Orleans efficiently run the ball and can their secondary win one-on-one matchups.
Philly hosts the Saints on New Year’s Day, at noon.