Buccaneers Have Limited Alvin Kamara This Year, Can They Do It Again?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have done a good job of limiting New Orleans Saints star running back Alvin Kamara this year. Can they do it again in the playoffs?
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In the two regular-season matchups between NFC South rivals, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints, the Bucs did a sound job of limiting one of the NFL's most dangerous running backs in Alvin Kamara.

Across those contests, Kamara received 21 rushing attempts for just 56 yards, although he did score two touchdowns on the ground. He also had 10 receptions but for only 60 yards, his yards per catch dipping to well below his season average from 9.1 to six.

In total, Kamara averaged just 3.74 yards per touch in those games. During the entire season, Kamara averaged 6.3 yards per touch, the second-highest mark of his four-year career.

It's fair to say the Buccaneers defense, the NFL's best in run defense during the 2020 regular season, shut Kamara down. However, Kamara has been on an absolute tear since these two teams last met in Week 9, and New Orleans could very well push to unleash Kamara this Sunday.

In the seven regular-season games since, Kamara has rushed for 461 yards and an incredible 12 touchdowns on 91 attempts (five yards per rush), adding 25 catches for 191 yards and another two scores. Six of Kamara's rushing touchdowns came in a 22-carry, 155-yard performance against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 16.

The Saints have rarely fully committed to Kamara and the run game this season, as he's only notched 20+ carries in a game twice - against Minnesota, and in the Wild Card against the Chicago Bears, tallying 22 carries for 99 yards and a score.

And it would be odd to see New Orleans commit to a run game against the Buccaneers' strong rushing defense, especially after finding success through the air in Weeks 1 and 9. Drew Brees threw for four touchdowns and 222 yards last time.

However, we could expect to see the Buccaneers deploy more man coverage looks this time around, attempting to rattle Brees and forcing the Saints to look elsewhere for offensive production. That could lead to plenty of check-downs going Kamara's way, or perhaps a chance of plan in order to pound the rock

Should that be the case, New Orleans could depend upon its star running back as it did in weeks past. Tampa Bay's defense would appear to be up to the challenge, but this will be its toughest test yet.