New Orleans limps home after 6-week absence Print
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Thursday, 20 November 2008 16:07
NFL Headline News

 NEW ORLEANS (AP) -The last time the New Orleans Saints played a game in the Superdome people were thinking Halloween - not Thanksgiving - and the Saints still had a running game.
By the time New Orleans limps onto the field Monday night, the Green Bay Packers will face the top offense and passing game in the NFL, and one of the worst running games.
New Orleans' ground game - once it's bread-and-butter with the combination of Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister providing strength and flash - now ranks 28th in the league. This week, the Saints signed running back Mike Bell and fullback Darian Barnes in hopes of beefing up their sagging rushing attack. That came after running back Aaron Stecker became the 13th player put on injured reserve by New Orleans this season.
filling in just understanding their role exactly, and understanding what they have to do for us to win the game.''
Bush, who has missed three games while recovering from surgery to repair the meniscus in his left knee, may be back. McAllister, who wears a brace on his left knee since surgery last year, missed practice on Thursday after having fluid drained from the knee a day earlier.
``The knee will be fine,'' McAllister said. ``That's just something we had done before this season.''
He normally has it done on the team's day off, but this week, McAllister, with teammates Will Smith and Charles Grant, were in New York appealing their possible suspension after testing positive for the diurectic Bumetanide, a banned substance.
Quarterback Drew Brees is putting up big numbers in the passing game, but the more one dimensional the offense becomes, the harder that will be.
The Packers have been vulnerable to the run and have had an inconsistent pass rush this season, but they have one of the league's best secondaries.
Meanwhile, Green Bay's running game looks solid, thanks in large part to Ryan Grant.
Grant was the Packers' breakout star in the second half of last season. Although he started only seven games, he gained close to 1,000 yards rushing.
the Packers' victory over Chicago.
Both teams are 5-5, but while that has Green Bay in a tie for first place in the NFC North, New Orleans is in last place in the NFC South.
After playing three road games, one ``home'' game in London, and having their bye week, the Saints will have a big, enthusiastic crowd. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers knows that can be taken care of.
``You've got to take the crowd out of the game early and make them one-dimensional,'' Rodgers said. ``Now, they don't mind throwing the ball 60, 58 times. They've done that this season. But we're going to need to get ahead early and let our defense rush the quarterback and hopefully make some big plays.''
The Saints got their first road win of the season last week, and would like another first Monday night: back-to-back victories.
``Generally when you see teams that make it into the postseason and win the division, there's a stretch where they've won three games, four games, maybe five games in a row and that's not uncommon,'' Payton said.
 

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