Rushing Stats Analysis: Find the Gap – Week 12
Thanksgiving promises many things. Turkey. Celebrations. And the Detroit Lions letting everybody down early. But before we dig into the week’s tasty action, how did the Week 11 rushing choices get on?
Week 11 selections
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – 30 carries, 134 yards (4.5ypc)
Another early game, and the blow outs carried over from Week 10’s games. This time, it was the Patriots shutting out the Falcons with some supreme defensive work. Only two touchdowns came in this match – one passing, and one run in from the D/ST. However, that kind of rushing was not what we were looking for! Damien Harris was touted as the starter, but the Patriots took it easy with the Running Back’s share. Instead, Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson split the main amount of carries in this game, with 125 carries between them.
TENNESSEE TITANS – 25 carries, 103 yards (4.1ypc)
This was the shock of the week across all games. The top seed in the conference turned over by a surprising Texans defensive unit. As a result, the Titans couldn’t get a solid grab on this game and only managed 25 carries. A committee of AP, Dontrell Hilliard and D’Onta Foreman all had decent returns considering their carry volume. But it was not enough to turn the tide. Since the game, Adrian Peterson was released – perhaps the Titans go with a reduced number of rushing personnel next week?
WEEK 12 SELECTIONS
We have three early games this week, so the time between those games are much reduced. It could be risky to trust those games for big scoring outcomes.
And, that aside, home and away records are not looking great across the board, so it has been difficult to find those ideal matchups.
So which teams could offer a rushing delicacy this week, based upon the stats?
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – vs. TITANS
I’ve opted for the Patriots again, and they’re facing my other rushing selection from last week!
REASONS TO CONSIDER
- Last week’s outing against the Falcons didn’t produce any rushing touchdowns. But the three week average continued to rise, up to 6.46 yards per carry! That’s an incredible output, and it’s no coincidence that this efficiency surge has come alongside the rise of the New England defence.
- The New England defensive unit have done some numbers on opposing offenses in recent weeks. You could almost say that they’ve returned to their pre-COVID strength, with some key retentions and impressive additions (hello, Mr. Judon!). This week’s match puts them against a Titans offense who are missing some key offensive pieces. Since those players went out injured, we’ve seen the Titans’ rushing approach transition towards a very diluted committee approach. Carry efficiency has dropped off a cliff. And rushing touchdowns have trickled to a nothing. And now they come up against a defensive unit who have conceded only 5 rushing touchdowns across Quarterbacks (2), Running Backs (2) and Wide Receivers (1). Those two conceded Running Back touchdowns is the smallest amount for any team in the league. And I have been wrong before, but I believe it could be quite surprising if the Titans get the ball in to score on the ground.
- This defensive might has taken pressure off the offense. The ‘no-pressure, no-risk’ approach has helped Quarterback Mac Jones settle into the team. And their Running Backs have seen a large proportion of carries, with 310 – the 8th highest in the league. These have gone mainly to Rhamondre Stevenson (67 carries; 6 games) and Damien Harris (143 carries; 10 games). Between them, they have 10 rushing touchdowns – Harris on 7 and Stevenson on 3. Harris’ limited return last week came in the early drives, and was efficient (3 carries for 10 yards or more). If the Patriots defence what they’ve done so well this week, I can see the game script tipping in New England’s favour. I expect to see Harris taking more of the carries this week, and continue that scoring streak.
HOUSTON TEXANS (vs. JETS)
Despite their victory against the Titans, is it a good choice to slot in the Texans? Well, there are a few other factors at play here…
REASONS TO CONSIDER
- The Jets have lost some very important offensive players. As well as losing off-form Zach Wilson, the New York side have had to bench both previous starting Quarterbacks because of COVID. Mike White and Joe Flacco may not be elite Quarterback options, but they offered some decent output in recent games. And now we’re likely to see Josh Johnson taking the field. Sure, Johnson was able to offer a 3-1 TD:INT game against the Colts in Week 9. So maybe there’s some concern there. But the Jets have also lost Michael Carter for several weeks due to injury. Carter has separated himself from the rest of the committee in recent weeks, so they lose a key member of rushing personnel as well.
- The New York defense have also conceded the most rushing touchdowns this season. 17 of them have broken the Jet’s goal line so far, which is 4 more than the nearest team! They’re also third highest in rushing yards conceded, and fifth highest in rushing attempts against. So their 2021 record this season is not looking good, despite the arrival of former Niners defensive co-ordinator Robert Saleh.
- The Texans also come into this game with their highest three-week average of the season. It might not be as high as other teams, but there has been a steady uptick since the Week 4-7 average. The Jets could offer a great opportunity to have that continue.
- The release of Philip Lindsay and trade of Mark Ingram has also cleared up the committee in this team. The departures leave David Johnson and Rex Burkhead, who had 31 carries between them last week. Johnson saw more carries, but Burkhead was the most efficient with the carries. It’s likely that Rex ruins everything and claims the early-downs role, with Johnson being the third-down and pass catching back.
- We’ve also got to keep an eye on Tyrod Taylor! The Quarterback’s return has added needed dimensions to this offense, and he scored two rushing touchdowns last week! That’s three in his four available games, and there’s no reason he can’t run it in again this week too.
A risky choice, but let’s see if it comes to fruition this weekend!
Until then, keep rushing!