Rushing Stats Analysis – Find The Gap: Week 17
Aside from Rex Burkhead ruining everything, it was a fairly normal week for the rushing personnel in the NFL. And when I say normal, I mean it was all over the shop. However, the selections from Week 16 fared fairly well. Who were they again?
LOS ANGELES RAMS – 33 carries, 159 yards and 1TD
The phased reintroduction of Darrell Henderson continues, and Sony Michel has made a big impact in this backfield. With Cam Akers getting activated from the IR list, this may not be the case for much longer – but Sony will have enjoyed his days in the sun. And his fine form continued against the Vikings, with 27 carries for 131 yards and a rushing score.
CHICAGO BEARS – 30 carries, 88 yards and 2 TDs
The weather had something to say about this game, as the harsh northwestern winter gathered in on Lumen Field. Still, the Bears came away with a victory and two rushing touchdowns, thanks to Monty, and his capable stand-in Khalil Herbert.
WEEK 17 SELECTIONS
I’ve been very careful not to just keep selecting the best rushing teams in the league. This isn’t helpful to anyone, and matchups will help out more in a tight spot. So the Colts haven’t featured much this season. Still, they’re up against a very weak Raiders secondary, and they’re missing their Quarterback Carson Wentz, so it looks like they’ll lean on the run game a lot. Load up Jonathan Taylor. Don’t get cute!
Other, edgier, selections are as follows:
THE EAGLES (at WASHINGTON)
It was a little hit and miss last week, but the Eagles came through on the ground eventually. This week should see Philly find that groove once again.
REASONS TO CONSIDER
- The Washington defensive line seem to have bigger fish to fry after last week. Two defensive linemen throwing fingers and punches at each other shows me that there is animosity in the locker room at the moment, particularly in the defensive unit. The offense haven’t been doing enough to keep themselves on the field, especially since losing some key playmakers. That’s putting a lot on the defence. And when it begins to rack up over several weeks, cracks start to form. And I think we saw a glimpse of it in the last game. All it’ll take is for Philly to have a good start here, and it may be the same old story.
- Their previous opponents got under their skin, and into the endzone. It was primarily an air onslaught, but Ezekiel Elliott did find a rushing touchdown amongst it. This came with every major rush contributor seeing over 4 yards a carry. Which translates to effective offensive play, and the inability to stop the first down (3 rushes equals 12 yards – enough to move the chains). The Philadelphia running game has been running hot recently, and I can see the Washington team also finding it hard to deal with them too.
- Chief among them is Jalen Hurts, who has picked up a good proportion of fantasy points using his legs. With Miles Sanders already ruled out this week, it’ll likely be power runner Jordan Howard and Boston Scott running the backfield. But Hurts has already got over 700 rushing yards this year – and 10 touchdowns. 2 of these came against Washington last time, so he’s a hot favourite to score again.
THE CHIEFS (vs. BENGALS)
Joe Burrow comes off a landmark game, but that’s precisely I’m putting the Chiefs rushing game down to do well this week.
REASONS TO CONSIDER
- Burrow’s hot form came to a peak as he ran up the score against the Ravens. With no secondary coverage, it was easy for the number 1 pick to find his men. As a result, these huge plays racked up the yards, and he saw over 500 in the Baltimore game. However, he comes up against a resurgent Chiefs defence, who have turned their performance around in recent months.
- The primary cause of this turnaround could very well be that they’re not having to keep the offense afloat in games. Patrick Mahomes and his offensive unit lost their footing in the early-mid point of the season, but seem to be back on track now. The Bengals have done a decent job against offenses as of late, but Mahomes knows the job that needs to be done. It’s likely he will be able to do that with his two main pass-catchers back in the fold. Travis Kelce is not OFFICIALLY out of COVID protocol yet, but Tyreek Hill is and, when they’re both on the field, it gets difficult to stop both of them. This will hopefully have an impact on game script in the Kansas City favour, and see the ground game used more frequently as the game wears on.
- With Clyde Edwards Helaire now looking doubtful for the rest of the season, it falls to players like Darrell Williams and newcomer Derrick Gore to put in the effort on the ground. Rushing output from the pair has been relatively decent, but I believe it will be a Williams-led backfield coming into this game. Williams has seen less of the ball in the games where CEH has been back, but has been trusted with double-figure carries when the sophomore was out.
Next season promises a different article series, so this may well be the last Find The Gap from 5 Yard Rush. Thankyou for those who have followed the series this year, and hopefully the rushing stats have given me some worthwhile advice to pass onto you.
Until next time