Saints’ success remains tied to their elite passing attack

Dec 25, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) is defended by Minnesota Vikings cornerback Jeff Gladney (20) in the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 25, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) is defended by Minnesota Vikings cornerback Jeff Gladney (20) in the second half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /
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(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

Overview

The Saints had a lot of success running the ball down the Vikings’ throat, but expecting that to continue would be foolish.

First off, rushing production is far less efficient than passing the ball. In this game, for example, they averaged 5.9 yards/rush attempt. Meanwhile, that number jumped up to 12 when they passed it.

Also, rushing is far more inconsistent. It relies on far more moving parts, and as we’ve seen from New Orleans this season, this makes an offense centered around a “ground and pound” approach incredibly risky, and with little benefit.

There is a lot to be worried about with the Saints.

Brees’ decision-making and arm strength are both not at expected levels right now, which is hurting the overall efficiency of the offense. Also, with Michael Thomas and Tre’Quan Smith injured, the receivers are struggling to separate.

With Thomas and Smith healthy, and with Emmanuel Sanders playing well, the Saints have enough talent to pass the ball effectively, especially since teams all be worried about their rushing attack.

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However, will their performance against the Vikings translate against much better defenses? The success of the passing attack will ultimately dictate their fate, and right now, it’s unclear what that will be.

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