NFL Christmas reaction: Can the Kamara Show take the Saints through January?
Alvin Kamara took over Christmas, tying the NFL all-time record with six rushing touchdowns and becoming the first man in over 90 years to hit that mark in one single game. Kamara and the Saints beat the Minnesota Vikings 52-33 on Friday, eliminating Minnesota from playoff contention and guaranteeing New Orleans a top-two seed should they beat Carolina in their final game of the season.
Division champions still not perfect
The Saints, who officially clinched the NFC South with their win, regained momentum after two straight losses heading into the playoffs. Most experts around the league have considered them among the favorites to make the Super Bowl out of the NFC, and that certainly won’t change following Friday’s win. But despite their record-setting performances, New Orleans still have some holes to fill up if they want to cement their status as a legitimate contender.
#NFL RECORD 🔥🏆
— Pickswise (@Pickswise) December 26, 2020
First of all, as great of a day as Kamara had, he did so against the Vikings. Kamara was electrifying, seemingly sprinting through the Minnesota defensive line at will. It wasn’t just Kamara – Latavius Murray averaged almost six yards on his 12 carries, and triple-threat Taysom Hill ran in for a touchdown. But don’t expect these kind of numbers against any team the Saints will see in January.
For the moment, the Saints would be penciled in to face the Arizona Cardinals in the first round of the playoffs. Minnesota can no longer catch the Cardinals after today’s loss, but for football’s sake, that’s probably for the best. Arizona’s defense is better than Minnesota’s, and their offense plays a different style to most of the NFC, so they’ll be able to make their mark against a usually-strong Saints defense that’s now given up 30-plus points in two straight.
Reinforcements coming for the Saints
If New Orleans can get through Arizona, or whoever the seventh seed is, they’ll play the big boys, and they’ll need more than just Kamara for that. The good news is that Drew Brees looked sharper today than he did in his first game back from a rib fracture last week. He’ll continue to improve in the postseason, a setting he’s familiar with. And he’ll get his top target back when Michael Thomas comes off injured reserve in time for the start of the postseason.
The NFC is still wide open, and New Orleans is as strong a team as any to come through and make it to the Super Bowl. But while Kamara ran the show today with the entire country tuned in, don’t fool yourself into thinking that he alone can run this team all the way through the playoffs.