Tommy Kelly’s Possible Absence in Patriots-Saints Could Launch Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles in Run Game (Video)

FOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots’ run defense may take another step back on Sunday.

The defensive line’s effectiveness against the run has already decreased from past seasons, being ranked No. 23 in the league and allowing 116.4 yards per game and 4.1 yards per carry. Now, Tommy Kelly has missed practice two days in a row. He went down with a non-contact knee injury during Sunday’s game.

Rookies Joe Vellano and Chris Jones will likely fill in for Kelly and Vince Wilfork, who was lost for the season in Week 4. Vellano and Jones struggled against the run in the Bengals game. The Saints don’t have as strong of a rushing game as Cincinnati, but Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles are due for a big game.

To hear more about how the Patriots match up with the Saints, watch NESN.com Patriots writer Doug Kyed discuss Sunday’s game with Nick Underhill of MassLive.com in the video above.

Have a question for Doug Kyed? Send it to him via Twitter at @DougKyedNESN or send it here.