Rushing Stats Analysis: Find the Gap Week 9
After some surprising Week 7 results, I thought Week 8 would get me back on track. But, of the three predictions, two rushing outfits failed to perform. Let’s have a look at them before moving on…
Week 8 Results
CINCINATTI BENGALS – 16 carries, 41 yards + 1TD (2.6 ypc)
This was the worst of the three, as a resurgant Jets team fought and, at times, outclassed the Bengals to keep it close. Ultimately, they came away with the win, and the Mikes (White and Carter) were the surprise stars of the contest. Joe Mixon did manage a touchdown, but only off 33 yards in 14 carries.
Samaje Perine was not involved in the run game at all! Not the result I was expecting from this team, to be honest.
WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM – 24 carries, 112 yards (4.7 ypc)
OK, this one isn’t as bad as I thought. But Antonio Gibson took a step back in his involvement. Instead, rookie Running Back Jaret Patterson took more carries. Perhaps this was to avoid aggravating an injury before the bye week. But the Washington team didn’t do nearly as well against a weakening Broncos as I wanted.
BUFFALO BILLS – 23 carries, 102 yards + 1TD (4.4 ypc)
This game was also a lot closer than I predicted it would be. The Dolphins held on valiantly to a close game with the Bills. As a result, once Buffalo finally pulled away from their rivals, the run game couldn’t be as firmly established as last time. Devin and Zack managed a handful of carries each, but it was Josh Allen who scored that late rushing tuddy to make my prediction more respectable.
WEEK 9 PREDICTIONS
With Seattle, Tampa, Washington and Detroit on the byes, that gives us 28 teams to pick from. And there are two in particular who I think could have a very strong rushing week this week.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS – vs. BEARS
After what I said in my Spotlight on the Season article, I wasn’t expecting to be putting the Steelers on the list at all this year. But this is the second time so far!
REASONS TO CONSIDER
- The Steelers are using the rushing game more often than I anticipated, and this usage has seen a big up tick in the last three or four weeks. Upwards of 30 carries have not been uncommon! The willingness to use this rushing attack is very promising – and very good news for those who picked up Najee Harris with an early pick in their dynasty leagues.
- Harris has transitioned very well to the NFL, and is already breaking through to the secondary more often than opponents would like to admit. While he regularly get stopped under 3 yards going through the middle channels, he is finding rushing success there too. He is getting at least one 10 yard carry in each game in that direction.
- Their opponents, the Bears, are also struggling to contain rushing offenses as well – particularly in the last three weeks. Whether its been the Buccs tearing through the middle, or the Niners with multiple big runs around the outside of the line, the Chicago defence are seeming porous at the moment. Elijah Mitchell tore out 103 yards in just four carries last week. If the Steelers use their Wide Receivers on some of their expected sweeps and end arounds, then we could see rushing success from all directions.
ARIZONA CARDINALS – vs. NINERS
The Cardinals featured here recently, and they’re back once again. But, with Kyler Murray limited in training, does this mean a big workload for the Running Backs?
REASONS TO CONSIDER
- The Cardinals have just come off a disappointing last-gasp defeat to the Packers. They lost their undefeated record, and are likely thirsty for getting their campaign back on track. This game against a weakened Niners defence could provide the perfect opportunity.
- One thing is certain – San Francisco have found it difficult to slow down runs through the middle. The last few weeks have seen Jonathon Taylor, Khalil Herbert and Aaron Jones pull of big carries through the centre of the offensive line.
- The Cardinals didn’t manage any big runs in their last encounter, but that seemed to be because the Niners were keeping a close eye on Murray’s rushing threat. The Quarterback got stopped at or behind the line on six of his seven carries in that match. However, the other carry went for ten yards, so they were right to be wary. With Murray showing signs of injury, the Niners will also need to plan for a rushing offense based around the other personnel. But there is always a chance that Murray makes the game and causes havoc for game-planners.
- If Murray does make it, then this will free up Chase Edmonds and James Conner to take the tandem approach again. And, with Rondale Moore getting more involved, there are threats from everywhere. Conner is bagging all the redzone work, and is on a hot streak, with 8 touchdowns in 6 games. He is a red hot favourite to bag and continue that fiery run.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES – vs. CHARGERS
A quick bonus third team to consider here!
- The Eagles have come off a huge rushing game against the Lions, with four rushing touchdowns between the running personnel. This week, they face the Chargers, whose rushing defence have conceded the highest average length of carry through the middle of the offensive line (4.99 yards a carry).
- They have also conceded the second highest proportion of carries to go for between 4 and 7 yards (35%!).
- And you wouldn’t be wrong to assume that Jalen Hurts is going to be a big issue for them – they have found it very difficult to contain mobile Quarterbacks – Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes have run wild against them in recent weeks.
- Plus, with Jordan Howard continuing his role as a red-zone vulture, could we see his touchdown streak continue? The Chargers have conceded 9 touchdowns to rushing Running Backs this season – the third highest in the league so far.
Join me next week to see if these three teams fare any better than the previous bunch!