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Saints DT Sheldon Rankins believed to have torn Achilles

Sheldon Rankins, Saints

If the New Orleans Saints are going to come back to beat the Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional round, they’re going to have to do so without defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins. Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network is reporting that the Saints believe Rankins tore his Achilles tendon.

The 24-year-old played his collegiate football at the University of Louisville and was originally selected by New Orleans with 12th pick overall of the 2016 NFL Draft. Rankins racked up 40 tackles, eight sacks, and a forced fumble this season.

Rankins missed five games of his rookie season after breaking his fibula. He still managed to finish with 20 tackles, four sacks, and a forced fumble. In 2017, Rankins started all 16 games and tallied 26 stops, two sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble.

New Orleans stepped up their defensive effort toward the end of the season. They ended up with the 14th ranked total defense in the league this season. They also ranked 14th in points allowed, giving up 22.1 points per game.

In their first matchup this season, New Orleans and Philadelphia met at the Superdome in week 11. The Saints dominated the defending champions 48-7. Rankins had a sack in the win.

New Orleans ended the season with a record of 13-3 and the one seed. Philadelphia got a wildcard spot at 9-7. The winner of this game will move on to battle the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game next weekend.

According to WebMD, a torn Achilles won’t be fully healed until at least a year after surgery. NBA Center DeMarcus Cousins tore his Achilles on Jan. 26 2018, he is expected to return to the court on Jan. 18.