Can Saints ride Murray to victory?

Can Saints ride Murray to victory?

We’ve seen how New Orleans cope, in fact thrive, in adversity. But now they face at least a week without their lynchpin in the backfield, Alvin Kamara. That puts real pressure on Latavius Murray and Dwayne Washington to keep the running game up to snuff.

An ailing Alvin Kamara had 31 yards on the ground a week ago against Jacksonville. Kamara failed to average three yards a carry. As a team, New Orleans earned 104 yards from 26 carries in what was much a group effort. Replacement Murray has averaged 5 carries a game for yards and has just 1 TD to his name so far. Now without Kamara, even as a decoy, the Saints backs have to unpick a vaunted Bears defensive line.

Running game dependency

The Saints are more reliant on their running game than usual with Brees down. Teddy Bridgewater has been far from explosive with seven yards per attempt and just seven TDs in five games this season.

What’s more, with the Bears able to focus less attention on the backfield without Kamara, they can rotate coverage more towards Michael Thomas and be more creative in how they defend him. Kamara’s absence will be particularly felt in the passing game as he is one of the best receiving backs in the league. The Saints’ WR is used to tight coverage but he’ll be in for a tough day in Chicago today.

Offensive challenge

The Bears game is by no means a lost cause for the Saints. Their defence is more than capable of suffocating the anaemic Bears attack, like they did to the more explosive Jags. However it may be their biggest offensive challenge yet. New Orleans need to keep the chains moving and give their defence a chance to rest.

The Saints will target a win and can do so even without Kamara. No one expected them to go undefeated without Drew Brees and their 4-0 record so far gives them some breathing space. A win though would be another challenge overcome. Yet another different hurdle cleared. Not to mention stamping their authority on the NFC playoff race as the most battle tested team so far.

Image: USA Today

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