Rushing Stats Analysis – Find the Gap Week 15
Up until this week, it was all for positioning and pride. Now, in the playoffs, to the victor go the spoils. So which rushing teams can help you find that gap and exploit it?
Due to illness last week, I wasn’t able to release my Week 14 article. But we’re right back on that old bike for Week 15, and ready to give you some teams who should be at the forefront of your mind for rushing success.
WEEK 15 SELECTIONS
MIAMI DOLPHINS (vs. JETS)
The Dolphins are hitting a rich vein of form, and this one has a W plastered all over it.
REASONS TO CONSIDER
- Although the Miami rushing attack has lost many components this week due to COVID, help is on the horizon. Malcolm Brown is back in practice and is designated to return from Injured Reserve. He will join Duke Johnson in a makeshift backfield should he manage to re-enter the starting lineup. Brown has the highest carry average of any Running Back over 10 carries, and has broken off the longest run of any Dolphins rushing personnel this season. The former Ram has been in and out of the team this year. Nonetheless, he will relish the opportunity for a lead role after being messed around in Los Angeles’ RBBC committee last season.
- The Dolphins come into this divisional matchup on a five-game hot streak. During those games, the team have averaged 29.75 carries a game. This stands to be another one-way match up against a despondent Jets team, who already lost to Miami four weeks ago. Week 11 saw a Myles Gaskin-led team total of 33 carries, 115 yards and 1 TD. A similar amount of rushing attempts is expected.
- The Jets have found it difficult to get anything going, especially since Zac Wilson returned to the side. 6 of the 9 games featuring Wilson have not seen a passing touchdown from the rookie Quarterback. Elijah Moore and Corey Davis have hit IR, so passing options are even more limited. And, with Michael Carter injured for the remainder of the season, the rushing personnel looks slim as well. Miami are in the perfect position to take advantage and stretch out in this game.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (vs. FALCONS)
The Niners have seen inconsistent form this year. But November and December have allowed them to turn the corner, and they are in a strong position for the playoff stretch.
REASONS TO CONSIDER
- The main reason for their strong form? The resurgance and return of key offensive pieces George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. Aiyuk and Kittle are hitting their peaks at the right time, and its refreshing to see the Niners give Deebo such a chance lined up behind the line. Games before the bye week had Samuel getting a minimal share of rushing attempts. But games post-bye have the Wide Receiver getting a bigger proportion of the carries when he has the chance. And those four games with carries have produced five rushing touchdowns.
- Samuel’s rushing usage in the Niners games has been so problematic for opposing defenses. His primary carry direction has been around the outside of the offensive line. And it has produced very well in his previous games. Carries for 49, 27, 25 and 21 yards have torn apart covering defenders, and has allowed for more flexibility when it comes to the run game. Jeff Wilson is counted amongst the healthy backs, and Eli Mitchell is on the comeback train, so Deebo provides an excellent foil to those middle-pounding backs.
- The Falcons have managed to put up a good show against struggling teams, such as an injury-ravaged Saints team in Week 9, the imploding Jaguars and (gulp) the Panthers. But they have crumbled at the mere sight of strong defensive units. With the Niners looking to keep pressure up for the playoffs, this will be a PIVOTAL game for them to assert some defensive dominance. They need to ground the Falcons – and the offense should be able to do the rest.
Join me next week to see how these two teams got on!
Until next time,