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Scouting Report: Key matchups for Sunday in New Orleans


The Giants and Saints will meet Sunday afternoon in New Orleans as the playoff race heats up. Here are two matchups that could determine the outcome:

Alvin Kamara vs. Bobby Okereke

Alvin Kamara is in his seventh season, but he has shown no signs of slowing down He still runs hard, can make defenders miss, and is a weapon in the passing game.

Despite missing his first three games of the season due to a suspension, Kamara still has 564 rushing yards. He averages just under 15 carries for 56 rush yards per game. Jamaal Williams will also run the ball, in addition to what Taysom Hill gives as a running quarterback. Kamara is only averaging 3.9 yards per carry, but he has done more damage as a receiver.

The Saints will try to get Kamara the ball in the passing game by isolating him on opposing inside linebackers in the middle of the field. They let him run option routes, which Kamara excels at and allows him to create space against less athletic defenders to make yards after the catch. Kamara is second on the Saints with 63 catches and fourth on the team with 402 receiving yards.

Bobby Okereke could often draw the assignment on Kamara, and his speed and quickness will be a good match in coverage. Okereke is ninth in the NFL with 119 tackles and has sideline-to-sideline speed. He has been one of the Giants' most consistent defenders this season alongside Dexter Lawrence and Kayvon Thibodeaux. The Giants have struggled to stop the run this season, allowing the fourth-most rushing yards per game (135.1) and second-most yards per rush play (4.81).

Saquon Barkley vs. Demario Davis

Saquon Barkley remains the centerpiece of the Giants' offense. Despite missing three games due to injury, Barkley is 11th in the NFL in rushing yards with 783 and averaging 4.23 yards per carry. Barkley's big play ability still makes a difference for the Giants, with the sixth-most rushes of 10+ yards in the NFL (20). According to Pro Football Focus, Barkley's 3.1 yards after contact per carry ranks eighth in the NFL.

Demario Davis leads the Saints in tackles with 91 and is second in sacks with 5.5. He is also second on the team in quarterback hits (10) and tackles for loss (seven). He is a versatile player, who does a little bit of everything for the Saints as a three-down inside linebacker. Davis owns the No. 22 defensive grade of anyone in the NFL with at least 200 snaps, according to PFF's grading system. He can stop the run, rush the quarterback, and play in coverage.

The Saints have one of the best pass defenses in the NFL, but they have had some issues against the run, allowing the seventh-most rushing yards per play in the NFL (4.57). The Saints are tied with the Giants and Packers for the most 10-yard rushes allowed in the NFL (53), and only five teams have allowed more runs of 20 or more yards (11).

View rare photos from the all-time series between the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints.


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