The Saints had the league's 2nd-ranked run defense during the season, allowing only 80 yards per game. The Rams had the league's 3rd-ranked rushing offense; it averaged 139 yards, and had 4 more TDs on the ground (23) than anyone but the Saints, who had 26. Something has to give.

New Orleans just lost defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins to injury, which will help. That could be huge, since during the season, with that run defense at full strength, there was not much doing against that defense. No back rushed for more than 76 yards against it, and only six teams averaged even 4.0 yards per attempt.

That said, one team was pretty effective running the ball against New Orleans: the Rams, who averaged 4.8 yards per carry when they faced New Orleans in Week 9. That was a lot better than most other ground games; only the Bengals had a higher average. Los Angeles fell way behind in that one, and had to abandon the run to catch up.

Here are the week-by-week numbers of lead backs and ground games against New Orleans this season.

TeamRushTDAvgTop RunnerYards
Tampa Bay11203.3Peyton Barber69
Cleveland9313.4Carlos Hyde43
Atlanta4802.2Tevin Coleman33
NY Giants6514.3Saquon Barkley44
Washington3922.2Chris Thompson17
Baltimore7713.3Alex Collins38
Minnesota8513.9Latavius Murray56
LA Rams9214.8Todd Gurley68
Cincinnati11016.9Joe Mixon61
Philadelphia5814.8Josh Adams53
Atlanta2601.6Matt Ryan16
Dallas10003.2Ezekiel Elliott76
Tampa Bay10504.6Jameis Winston47
Carolina9804.3Christian McCaffrey53
Pittsburgh6503.6Jaylen Samuels53
Carolina11123.0Cameron Artis-Payne56

Tough run defense, but with Rankins missing, and the Rams having had some earlier success (and now adding a fresh-legged C.J. Anderson to the mix) maybe they'll be a little better than expected.

--Andy Richardson