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(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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Saints Need To Run The Ball/Stop The Run Better

The New Orleans Saints are currently 7-3 on the year, and in sole-possession of first-place in the NFC South.

But many feel that if the Saints are to make a run at their second Super Bowl championship in the last three years, that they will have to do two things significantly better; run the football, and stop the other guys from running the football.

The Saints currently lead the NFL in total offense, averaging 436.9 yards per game, and while the Saints' ground-attack ranks a respectable 14th in the league in rushing at 117.5 yards per game, it's been a hit-or-miss situation. New Orleans has rushed for fewer than 100 yards in four games this year, including last Sunday's win over the Atlanta Falcons, where they netted just 41 yards on the ground.

Defensively, the Saints rank 19th in rush defense, allowing 121.5 yards per outing, and have appeared to be very susceptible against some of the league's top backs.

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(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Five Things The Saints Need To Work On Improving

The New Orleans Saints are 7-3 on the year, and are in sole-possession of first-place in the NFC Saints.

Like with every team though, there's certainly room for improvement.

With the bye week here for the black & gold, they can use it to get healthy, with linebacker Jonathan Vilma, cornerback Patrick Robinson, along with head coach Sean Payton being the most banged-up.

But the Saints can also use the bye week to work on areas that need improving, such as establishing a more consistent running attack, and becoming a better red zone defense.

In defense of Saints' red zone defense, the Falcons gained 481 yards of total offense last Sunday, yet only scored 23 points, in an overtime game, as the New Orleans defense was much better in the red zone.

What other areas do the Saints need to improve on following the bye week?

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(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Saints Defeat Buccaneers, 27-16

The New Orleans Saints got back in the win column on Sunday, defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 27-16, in an NFC South collision, at the Mercedes Benz Superdome, in New Orleans, La.

New Orleans led it, 17-3 at the half, and then coasted to the 11-point win, which kept them unbeaten at home this year.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees was 27-of-36 through the air, for 258 yards, and two touchdowns, while running back Darren Sproles contributed 168 all-purpose yards, including a touchdown.

With the win, the Saints maintain sole possession of first-place in the NFC south, with a 6-3 record, while the Bucs fell to 4-4.

The Saints are back in action next Sunday, November 13, when they travel to Atlanta, Georgia, to take on the second-place Atlanta Falcons, in another NFC South match-up.

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Getty Images
Getty Images
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NFL 2011 Season – Week Seven Recap

The Green Bay Packers survived a mild scare to stay unbeaten, while the Miami Dolphins and St. Louis Rams remained winless thanks to two potential new stars in Denver and Dallas. Here is the recap of the week seven action in the NFL:
Denver 18 – Miami 15 (OT)
After Tim Tebow led the Broncos to 15 points in the final 2:44 of regulation to tie the game, Denver beat the Miami Dolphins 18-15 on Matt Prater’s 52-yard field goal in overtime

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(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Ivory Not Activated By Saints … Yet

New Orleans Saints running back Chris Ivory is healthy and eligible to return from the physically unable to perform list. However, he was not activated today, and until he is removed from the PUP list, he cannot practice with the team. The Saints have a 3 week window to decide whether or not to activate him, release him, or place him on injured reserve.

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Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
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Should Saints Run Sproles More?

New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles is arguably the best free agent pickup in the NFC South this year. His speed and playmaking ability have been on full display through the first 6 weeks of the season, as he's been a heavy part of the offensive gameplan. But should the Saints run Sproles more between the tackles?

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Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
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Beyond The Mic: Ivory’s Return Begs Questions

New Orleans Saints RB Chris Ivory led the team in rushing a year ago as a rookie. His bruising style as a runner took its toll however, and he had two offseason surgeries. As a result, he's spent the beginning of the season on the PUP list. That will change next week, as he should be activated to the 53 man roster. How will coach Sean Payton deal with an already crowded backfield?

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