The New Orleans Saints rushing offense this season has been somewhat stunted by quite a few factors. The offensive line shifting around since last season, Alvin Kamara being injured at times, Mark Ingram fumbling the ball at a high rate, and a high dependency on that unit to perform. In this article, I will be breaking down both this unit as well as the Minnesota Vikings' run defense so far, and then going into which unit could prevail on Sunday morning, and why.
How have these units fared so far this season?
Well, simply put, the Saints’ rushing offense has not been up to standard. Not to say it is the worst in the league, as it has been efficient, but not enormously productive. The Saints rank 16th in rushing yards and rushing yards per game this season, tied for the 5th most rushing down fumbles at 3 and are tied for 12th in rushing touchdowns at 2. As I mentioned before, unproductive, but efficient, as the Saints rank 4th in the league in yards per carry with 5.5, in the 5th least amount of attempts on the season with 61. This unit has been good when on the field, except the issue is it has been underutilized in the second half due to fumbling troubles with both Mark Ingram, and in the last game, Alvin Kamara even lost one.
On the other side, the Vikings' rushing defense has also been very hit or miss so far. They have given up the 9th most rushing yards, the 2nd most rushing touchdowns, and tied for the 4th most rushing first downs allowed. They are tied for the 13th highest yards per carry allowed which all in all is pretty good at 4.8, lower than the Saints’ season average. In week 1 they held Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon under 100 rushing yards, which is impressive in itself, but then most recently allowed Jamaal Williams to have 87 yards and 2 touchdowns and D’Andre Swift had another 31 on the ground. Like I said, hit or miss for both units, so it makes sense the Vikings are only 2.5-point favorites heading into the game according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
What to expect in week 4 between these units?
As many of us remember, the last time these two teams matched up, Alvin Kamara set the Super Bowl era single-game rushing touchdown record with 6 on Christmas day. Should anyone be reasonably expecting that to happen again, despite how much we would enjoy it? No. Minnesota has held strong against the Green Bay Packers rushing game so far, and this unit has at least been coherent compared to previous seasons, and the Saints are struggling both with fumbles and with some inconsistent offensive line play.
In terms of what to expect, we should see a game where Alvin Kamara revitalizes himself, maybe gets close to or goes over 100 yards on the ground for the day and has a touchdown or two. While this will likely not be any form of earth-shattering performance from the Saints rushing attack, it will be somewhat of a return to strength, as Minnesota is coming off getting hit pretty hard by Jamaal Williams, and with Kamara wanting to get back to form more and more by the week, he could look to do so in London. This will absolutely be a good test for both Kamara as well as the Saints' offensive line, to see if they have just had a rough start to the year, or if they actually have some larger concerns to fix.
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