The New Orleans Saints travel to face the Chicago Bears this Sunday, knowing they will have to take on one of the best defenses in the NFL. However, when Saints players open up the scouting report this week, they should be familiar with the winning formula. The New Orleans Saints rushing attack is key to victory in Week 8.
New Orleans Saints Rushing Attack Is Key To Victory in Week 8
Chicago Bears Weakness
The Bears defense is renowned for its opportunistic nature. Ever since the blockbuster trade to acquire Khalil Mack, Chicago has strived to build one of the best defensive units in the league. However, the Bears have shown themselves to be particularly average against the run in 2020. That is something that should play into the Saints hands on Sunday.
Chicago’s formula to win relies heavily on generating takeaways. But when they fail to create short field opportunities for their mediocre offense, it is usually because they are bullied on the ground. Although they sit at seventh in the league in pass defense, their rushing yards allowed per game is only good enough for 16th.
The Bears inability to run the ball themselves is equally as problematic. They sit dead last in rushing yards per game. The Saints defense is one of the best in the league against the run. If Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray get on track quickly this Sunday, the New Orleans Saints defensive line will get plenty of rest to help shut down the Bears offense.
New Orleans Saints Offensive Transformation
The Saints running game was long an afterthought in New Orleans when quarterback Drew Brees was in his prime. Now with the star quarterback in the twilight of his career, head coach Sean Payton has given more commitment to his team’s rushing attack. Payton has pushed for the drafting and signing of several traditional between the tackles runners in recent years.
Some have been more productive than others. For instance, the Adrian Peterson signing in 2017 did not work out. However, Mark Ingram found himself as a Saint on his second contract, and his replacement Murray both proved to be excellent complements to Kamara’s versatile ability as a runner.
The Saints game plan on Sunday will not change much from last season’s victory at Soldier Field. Last year’s contest was a close game through the first few quarters, but the Saints bullied Chicago on the ground late in the second half. With a banged-up roster, Murray rushed for 119 yards on 27 attempts and had two touchdowns.
The rushing attack that day was at its best late in the game even with both Kamara and Brees not in the lineup. This Sunday both Kamara and Bress will be on the field as New Orleans attempts secure a win over Chicago.
New Orleans Saints Rushing Attack Key in Week 8
The Saints rushing attack in 2020 hasn’t been explosive, but it has been efficient. Both Kamara and Murray are averaging over 4.2 yards a carry. Kamara’s 4.9 yards per attempt places him ninth amongst running backs in that category. Furthermore, the Saints superstar happens to lead his team in receiving yards nearly halfway through the season.
Kamara’s elite elusiveness makes him a special weapon both as a runner and a receiver. He runs smoothly, with deceptive speed and unexpected power that means he is rarely brought down by just a single tackler.
Defenders should have Kamara well scouted as he is now in his fourth year. But week after week, Kamara forces the opposition to take bad angles, and miss with weak arm tackles. It’s clear the Saints are continuing to build upon the formula they had so much success with when Ingram patrolled the backfield in Kamara’s first two seasons as a Saint. The Saints backfield now has Kamara’s speed and agility with Murray spelling him as a downhill thumper.
Kamara and Murray will attempt to wear down the Bears front seven from the offset on Sunday. When the Saints backfield is clicking, the whole offense becomes very difficult to stop. The New Orleans Saints rushing attack is key to victory in Week 8, but perhaps also key to the Saints long term success in 2020.