Pierre Thomas (ankle) has already been ruled out for the game and Reggie Bush (fibula), who carried the ball just seven times this season, is currently listed as doubtful.
Past Thomas and Bush, New Orleans' depth chart is very thin when it comes to running backs. The 22-year old rookie Ivory has the most rushing attempts (66) on the team in his six games played, including a 158-yard performance against the Bucs three weeks ago.
As a team, the Saints have scored on the ground just twice this season, and the other two backs they have on the depth chart have a combined 173 rushing yards and one touchdown. One of the two, Ladell Betts, was cut before the season but was brought back after Bush broke his leg in September.
In six of the Saints' eight games they have been held to under a 100 rushing yards, but Drew Brees' passing attack has allowed them to win five games, good enough for second place in the NFC South. With a solid 20-10 victory over the defensive-oriented Steelers despite just 30 rushing yards last Sunday night, the Saints may not have to run the ball in order to play in January.
But, if they want to consistently win ball games, and stay alive in the close, back-and-forth games, they are going to have to have a solid run game. Once Bush and Thomas are back and healthy, New Orleans may end up being the strongest team out there. I advise you to start Chris Ivory in your fantasy league this week, he should see plenty of second half carries if New Orleans pulls ahead early.
Chris Ivory: AP Photo/Chris O'Meara