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WORST RUSHING MATCHUPS
To view all of our Week 5 Matchup content, please see the links below:
Top 5 Passing Matchups Week 5
Bottom 5 Passing Matchups Week 5
Top 5 Rushing Matchups Week 5
Bottom 5 Rushing Matchups Week 5
Rushing Matchup Chart Week 5
Passing Matchup Chart Week 5
Cleveland vs Indianapolis
The Browns rushing offense was dealt a major blow last week as starting running back Nick Chubb was placed on Injured Reserve with a knee injury. Chubb had been coming off back-to-back games of over 100 yards and two touchdowns while leading the Browns rushing attack. Kareem Hunt was already heavily involved in this offense with double-digit carries in all four games, but expect his workload to increase even more as Hunt should become the primary ball-carrier until Chubb’s return. D’Ernest Johnson should also be involved, to an extent, as he saw 11 carries in relief of Chubb last week. However, Hunt’s workload may have been limited due to a recent groin injury, so temper expectations for the involvement of Johnson in this rushing offense.
The Colts defense comes off the heels of another incredible performance in which they allowed only 11 total points and 28 rushing yards to the Bears. This group is loaded with talent up front, starting with a stout defensive line that should hold up well against a formidable Browns offensive line. DeForest Buckner is one of the top interior defensive linemen in the league and having Justin Houston as his right-hand-man certainly makes for a tough right side of that defensive line. One of the top run-defending linebackers in the league, Darius Leonard, could be in question this week as he missed the second half of last week’s game with a groin injury. Keep an eye on his status, as Leonard is a key cog in this run defense, and his presence will be critical to the Colts stacking up as a formidable matchup for the weakened Browns rushing offense.
Chicago vs Tampa Bay
The Bears rushing offense has struggled to make much happen this season as they are the only team in football without a rushing touchdown while averaging a paltry 110 rushing yards per game. David Montgomery is averaging just 4.1 yards per rush and comes into this week after a 27-yard performance against the Colts. His offensive snap count skyrocketed to over 85% in the absence of Tarik Cohen as Montgomery is now being asked to play an every-down role. Montgomery has never been one to handle a heavy workload on the ground, eclipsing 16 carries just five times in his career. Last week he saw a season-low 10 carries while Cordarelle Patterson rushed three times. While Patterson should remain involved, this is a unique opportunity for Montgomery to finally shoulder the load if only the Bears coaching staff affords him that opportunity.
Tampa Bay’s defense has been stellar against the run this season, giving up an average of just 64.3 rushing yards per game and a league-low 2.7 yards per rush attempt. This front seven is stacked, starting with a heavyweight defensive line anchored by Vita Vea at nose tackle. Veterans like linemen Ndamukong Suh and Jason Pierre-Paul along with linebacker Lavonte David provide a solid foundation for this defense to thrive upon. Even the secondary--notably rookie safety Antoine Winfield Jr--have chipped in to help prevent splash plays on the ground. This has been evident on the stat sheet as Tampa Bay has given up a long run of just 14 yards--the best amongst any defense in the league. The middling Bears offensive line should be in a precarious position against this stalwart of a Buccaneers run defense.
Philadelphia at Pittsburgh
The Eagles rushing offense stalled out last week in a tough matchup against the 49ers, and they draw another formidable opponent this week in the battle of Pennsylvania. Miles Sanders has been the undisputed top running back for Philadelphia as nobody else has come close to his workload in snap counts or carries. Sanders is averaging a reasonable 4.6 yards per rush attempts in his three games this season, but he has found the end zone just once and didn’t see a single red-zone look in last week’s game. The offensive line has been a big story for this offense as they are a shell of their former selves with both starting guards sidelined, left tackle Jason Peters recently placed on injured reserve, and now right tackle Lane Johnson seeing his surgically-repaired ankle flare up causing him to miss time last week. At far less than full strength, this is just a mediocre offensive line to pave the way for Sanders in this difficult matchup.
The Steelers continue to excel against the run year-over-year as they sit atop the league in run defense, giving up less than 60 rushing yards per game and a league-low 2.7 rushing yards per attempt. On top of their already impressive performance through three games, this defense is now coming off an impromptu bye week after their Week 4 contest against the Titans was postponed. While riding out the remainder of the season may be a grind, the Steelers defense is about as fresh as they will be heading into this home matchup with the Eagles. The trenches should be easily won by Pittsburgh against this banged-up Eagles offensive line, as the Steelers defensive line is the overall strength of this unit. The secondary certainly is capable of stepping up to help against the run, and linebacker Vince Williams still leads the league in tackles for loss (8) despite everyone else having an extra game on him. While Miles Sanders may log yards due to sheer volume, it will be an uphill affair against this elite defense.
LA Chargers at New Orleans
The Chargers backfield will have a different look this week as Austin Ekeler suffered a hamstring strain that landed him on injured reserve. A combination of Joshua Kelley and Justin Jackson will be expected to fill the shoes of Ekeler, who had led this backfield on over 65% of the snaps leading into Week 4. Joshua Kelley figures to see the bulk of the work as he has been moderately involved in the Chargers offense since Week 1, even racking up 23 carries in his Week 2 outing. However, Kelley has been wildly inefficient in his opportunities, averaging just 3.3 yards per rush attempt compared to the 5.1 from Ekeler. Justin Jackson has seen very limited opportunities, but the outlook for him should also be bleak considering the lackluster performance of this injury-ridden offensive line. Already without right guard Trai Turner (groin) and his backup Tyree St. Louis (concussion), the Chargers are also now lacking right tackle Bryan Bulaga, who is dealing with a back injury. This week’s practice report will be critical to watch for this offensive line, as missing these veterans for a second straight week could yield similar results the paltry 46 rushing yards the Chargers managed to amass in Week 4.
A stout matchup against the New Orleans Saints should make it tough on even a healthy Chargers offensive line in Week 5. The Saints run defense has been a solid group to start this season, allowing the sixth-fewest rushing yards per game (97.5) and fifth-fewest yards per attempt (3.6). It took Josh Jacobs 27 carries to amass 88 yards in Week 2, and every other lead running back has been held under 70 rushing yards--including all three Lions running backs, who were held to a total of just 67 rushing yards last week. David Onyemata headlines a strong rotation on the defensive interior that should have the edge against this bottom-tier Chargers offensive line. Demario Davis is an impact player at linebacker, while safety Marcus Williams has had a solid start to his season in the run defense department. The Saints defense should have an excellent chance at further extending their streak of not allowing an opposing 100-yard rusher--currently sitting at 47 games in a row.
Miami vs San Francisco
The Dolphins backfield has been a mixed bag thus far in 2020, but the workload has shifted in favor of Myles Gaskin as of recent weeks. Gaskin has been the only running back to see double-digit carries for Miami this season as he burst onto the scene with 22 rushing attempts in Week 3, followed up with 10 carries last week. Jordan Howard’s role, on the other hand, has significantly diminished week over week. While he remains the stated goal-line back, Howard has seen 8, 5, 3, and 2 carries this season and even fumbled last week to further solidify his spot in the doghouse. Both Matt Breida and Chandler Cox also remain in the mix, playing anywhere from 10-25% of the snaps thus far. The one thing all these running backs have in common though, is they are running behind one of the worst offensive lines in football. Matt Bitonti of Footballguys has Miami’s offensive line ranked firmly within his bottom-five as this group lacks any true playmakers and certainly lacks cohesion with two rookies starting both at tackle and guard.
There is no question that San Francisco’s front seven has been ravaged by injuries to start this season. They were dealt another blow this week with the season-ending injury announcement for Ezekiel Ansah--one of their top defensive linemen. While this run defense is a shell of its potential, the 49ers still have some talent remaining--and it looks to be enough to overcome the paltry Dolphins ground game. Arik Armstead will serve as a continued force on the edge of this defensive line, while rookie first-round selection Javon Kinlaw is looking like a great investment thus far based on his stellar performance on the interior of this defensive line. Linebacker Fred Warner will also serve as a constant reminder to opposing running backs that finding gaps against the 49ers will be no easy task. Even throughout the injury-laden start to 2020, San Francisco has yet to allow an opposing running back to rush for more than 63 yards and has limited the position to the fewest fantasy points per game, regardless of scoring format.