The New Orleans Saints officially ruled out running back Darren Sproles for the week ten contest against the Atlanta Falcons. Sproles will miss his second game in a row as a result of a broken hand he suffered in week eight. The Saints’ ground game has been less than extraordinary this season, but last week the rushing attack came to life against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Saints rushed for a total of 140 yards in week nine en route to a 28-13 victory against the Eagles. Chris Ivory, the number four running back led the charge as he accounted for team highs in carries (10) and rushing yards (48) as well as the lone rushing touchdown. Furthermore, running backs Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram chipped in with good production as they had 44 rushing yards a piece last week. With Sproles out the Saints will look to the running back trio of Ivory, Thomas, and Ingram to carry the load once again in week ten.
There are some questions surrounding how well the Saints’ ground game will fare but I think they will be just fine. Ivory proved that he is ready when given the opportunity and now that he will get more playing time I know he will not disappoint. Furthermore, Thomas and Ingram are more traditional running backs than Sproles and they could have big games as well.
The Saints have had proven success with a triumvirate of running backs before. Last season in the playoffs the Saints got great production on the ground with the combination of Sproles, Thomas, and Ivory. The Saints are hoping that their rotation of three running backs will continue to have success against the Falcons.
The Falcons are ranked 24th in the NFL in rush defense as they give up 127.5 yards per game on the ground. The Saints should take advantage of the Falcons’ below average rush defense and really attack on the ground. I think the Saints will have success with the run and will ultimately open up the passing game for Drew Brees.
While it is unfortunate the Saints will be without Sproles I do not think it will affect the ground game too much. The Saints are very deep at the running back position and the three guys behind Sproles are pretty good in their own right. The rushing attack should look to build on last week’s success and they will be fine even with Sproles missing the game.