The New York Giants have been very dependent on running back Saquon Barkley to generate offense this season, and that trend should continue in their Week 15 matchup against the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints currently have the league’s sixth-worst rushing defense, having allowed 1,710 rushing yards and 4.6 yards per rushing attempt this season, according to Pro Football Reference. Despite winning their Week 14 game against the Panthers, they allowed 204 rushing yards on 39 carries.
The Giants dominated the ground game against the Packers
The Giants torched a bad Packers run defense on Monday in which they had 209 rushing yards and got two touchdowns from Barkley, who had 86 yards on 20 carries on the night as well.
The Giants’ passing game has slightly improved in recent weeks but still ranks towards the bottom of the NFL. Therefore, they need to continue to use the run game to their advantage and expose a weak run defense that the Saints have, who have also allowed 131.5 rushing yards per game, according to Pro Football Reference.
Barkley has been carrying the load for the Giants this season
Barkley’s workload has significantly increased since quarterback Daniel Jones suffered a torn ACL that ended his season. He has surpassed 20 carries in a single game four times this season and is currently eighth in the NFL with 188 total carries despite missing three games with an ankle injury earlier.
The heavy reliance on Barkley has come with its ripple effects, as early in it was easy for teams to centralize their defensive scheme around stopping the run, especially since New York appeared reluctant to utilize quarterback Tommy DeVito in the passing game. There is also an injury risk when it comes to overusing Barkley, who has dealt with injuries many times in his career as a result of high usage.
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DeVito’s development has opened up the field for Barkley
However, over the past three weeks, DeVito has made strides in the passing game, which has opened up the field for Barkley to make plays on offense. His two touchdowns against the Packers were the first time this season he had multiple rushing touchdowns in a game and was also the first game he had a rushing touchdown since Week 2 against the Cardinals.
With DeVito quickly developing into an efficient passer, the Saints will likely have to gameplan against both the pass and run, and their significantly weak run defense could make life a whole lot easier for Barkley.
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