Rushing Stats Analysis – Find the Gap Week 15
After such extended weeks leading into the playoffs, it seemed so strange to see this week fly by in a flash. Now we are into Week 15, and rushing stats analysis could become even more important. Who should we take to help us into the next stage of our competitions? What can get us into…a playoff final?
Week 14 recap
As normal, we will look at the previous teams and how they performed this week based on the analysis of previous rushing stats.
NEW YORK GIANTS – 17 carries, 78 yards, 1TD
On the surface, the Arizona Cardinals came out of this match with the best rushing results. The Cardinals put down 43 carries, 159 yards and a touchdown. But, had this game been more competitive, then the Giants could have devastated the Arizona defensive line.
Wayne Gallman averaged 4.8 yards per carry, picking up 57 yards off 12 carries. Some of these runs were largely responsible for getting the New York offense into a scoring position. There, Dion Lewis ran in six of the Giant’s seven points. Lewis may have only got two carries, but he contributed one of the carries that went over 10 yards. And, had the Cardinals not been as effective in the early stages of the game, he could have added a few more.
Unfortunately, he and the Giants didn’t get the chance. I’ll take this as a loss and move onto our second team, the Green bay Packers.
GREEN BAY PACKERS – 31 carries, 120 yards, 1TD
The Packers fared somewhat better than my other choice, but it was a trademark day for Aaron Rodgers’ pass offense. The Quarterback threw three passing touchdowns to push the Packers ahead repeatedly. But the Lions managed to keep themselves in the game through the first half, which meant that Rodgers kept on having to find answers through the passing game.
As a result, the Packers’ rush offense didn’t see the action that was seen in the previous matchup against Detroit. Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams all saw a decent amount of carries later in the game once the game was safer. Jones came away with better yards and average than his partner. But it was the Quarterback Rodgers who ran in another touchdown, his second of the season. And it was likely that all Jones and Williams owners will have been cursing their luck.
RUSHING STATS ANALYSIS – WEEK 15 PICKS
After watching other fantasy analysts this week and how they extrapolate picks and recommendations, I have made alterations to my data collection. This should strengthen the results from my data input – and allow me to give you some more informed picks. So who will be the picks or Week 15?
BALTIMORE RAVENS (vs. Jaguars)
The Baltimore Ravens had a game on their hands for Monday Night Football. The Cleveland Browns took them to the wire. It was only through the play action of Lamar Jackson that took the cover away from Marquise Brown, and left the Wide Receiver open for that score. Of course, the Browns then marched back down the field straight after that and scored again. So it was up to Justin Tucker to finish off the game.
However, there are lessons to be learnt from this match, and it is one that people should pay heed to when it comes to this week’s selections. The pass from Jackson was a critical part of the game, but it should not take away from the fact that the Ravens put up 231 yards and 5 rushing touchdowns. All three major rushing pieces of this offense scored this week. Gus Edwards and Lamar Jackson saw two touchdowns apiece – and J.K. Dobbins found the endzone as well.
All this against a defence who had been relatively ruthless against ball carriers up until this week. Before Week 14, the Browns had only seen a decent 3.54 yards per carry through the centre and guard channels. They had conceded under 1000 yards from carries through the offensive line.
The Ravens changed all that, and now come into Week 15 on the hottest of streaks. And, after scoring what could have been the most rushing touchdowns in a single game so far this season, they have an opponent who are decisively shaky at defending on the ground.
RUNNING ON THE JAGUARS
As opposed to the Browns before last week, the Jaguars have a less than sterling record against the run. They have conceded the most yards to the carry out of all NFL teams. With this match-up, conceding just 7 yards will see them become the first team to concede 2000 yards on the ground this year. And, let’s face it, the Ravens could do that with one carry.
The Jags have seen the second-most carries behind Dallas, who faced just four more rush attempts in their first 13 games. And when broken down, there are distinct areas where the Jaguars struggle – around the edges of the offensive line. The Jaguarshave faced the most carries around the left AND right end, and have conceded the most yards in both these areas. The left end in-particular is seeing a rough time, having conceded 99 more yards than the next worst team (Jaguars – 442; Eagles – 343).
What could make this record even worse for the Jaguars is that they come up against a mobile rushing personnel group. The Ravens have made by far the most rush yards in the NFL this year – with last week’s marquee score adding to it. They are only one of two teams to go over 2000 rushing yards so far this year.
And, when separated into run direction, the news gets worse for Jacksonville. The Ravens rank first in yards gained from outside runs, with 916 yards. That is over 100 yards ahead of the next placed team. They have also run the ball the most to the right end of the offensive line, with 79 carries in that direction. And it’s that man Lamar Jackson who is the leading culprit – he’s contributed 39 out of that 79.
If there was ever a perfect match up for Jackson and the running backs to feast this week, then it’s here in Week 15.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (vs. Texans)
When it comes to analysis of the rushing stats, the Colts have not done at all bad this year. Sure, the lead back situation has been murky at best. But we might finally have a light at the end of the tunnel – just in time for the playoffs.
And it looks to be the rookie Jonathon Taylor who has made a mark in Frank Reich’s book. The Running Back has managed to show safe hands with pass catching. But he has also seen three 100+ scrimmage yard games in a row. The latest? 150 yards and two touchdowns against a Raiders defence who struggled to hold on. In that game, the rookie peeled off 6 carries of over 10 yards, including his 62 yard touchdown dash. In his dust, Nyheim Hines saw 7 carries and Jordan Wilkins garnered only one.
What was also promising about this game is that the game stayed relatively competive. The Raiders kept touch with the Colts for the majority of the first half and into the second. Yet the Colts continued to use Taylor regularly. And, another good sign was that he wasn’t subbed out after a loss on a carry, unlike on previous occasions. Instead, the Colts OC kept more faith with Taylor, and it paid off massively.
Hopefully his match this week will help continue his dominance at the position.
TESTING THE TEXANS
And, all things going well, he will get his chance against Houston. The Texans have struggled massively since losing the alpha receiver Will Fuller to PED discipline, and David Johnson to a string of injuries. They scored just 7 points against a dominant Bears defence and, as a result, saw a lot of the ball turned over to their opponents.
The game before that, they faced the Colts in their first divisional match, and that game was much closer than the Chicago one. In that match, Taylor picked up 91 yards off just 13 carries – an average of 7yards per attempt. The former Wisconsin man credits recent performances like the Texans match to seeing the game slow down around him. And, if his performance against the Raiders is the continuation of that, we could be in for a treat.
Of course it matters that the Texans have been porous in letting through opposing runners. Their bad form of conceding yards through the centre of the offensive line has continued. They are the only team to concede over 1000 yards through the central and guard channels alone. And they have the second-worst yard average for carries through that position – behind the Arizona Cardinals. Expand this to include runs through the tackles, and the Texans are nearly 200 yards ahead of the second worst team. They are just 7 yards short of being the first team to concede 1500 yards from carries through the offensive line. It sounds like both they and the Jaguars could be in for unenvied records this week.
Not only that, but they have taken a decisive and unwanted lead in conceding carries for over 10 yards – 52. That translates as 13% of carries that they have faced – one of the highest in the NFL. Taylor executed six of these on his own last week. Let’s see what he can deliver in Indianapolis this weekend.
Join me next week to see how these two teams fared.