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Top 5 Rushing Matchups Week 2
To view all of our Week 2 Matchup content, please see the links below:
Top 5 Passing Matchups Week 2
Bottom 5 Passing Matchups Week 2
Top 5 Rushing Matchups Week 2
Bottom 5 Rushing Matchups Week 2
Rushing Matchup Chart Week 2
Passing Matchup Chart Week 2
BALTIMORE Ravens RUSHING OFFENSE at HOUSTON
The Ravens offense picked up where they left off in 2019 as they amassed 38 points in a blowout victory over the Browns. This rushing offense somewhat struggled to put up the flashy numbers of 2019 though as Lamar Jackson rushed for only 45 yards with Mark Ingram behind him at 29 yards from 10 carries. The Ravens coaching staff followed through on an offseason statement of taking a rotational approach to the running back position as no single Ravens running back played more than 39 percent of the snaps. Rookie J.K. Dobbins saw most of the goal line work last week in what was a surprising level of usage considering the strong goal-line role Mark Ingram held last season. If that usage continues, it is great for the rushing offense overall but concerning for Ingram’s fantasy prospects.
The Ravens will draw a favorable matchup against a Texans defense that just gave up 166 rushing yards to the Chiefs, third-most yards allowed from Week 1. Texans linebackers played poorly in Week 1 while their defensive interior showed little promise beyond the few snaps from run-stopper P.J. Hall. J.J. Watt remains a powerful force on this defensive line and will play a key role in keeping tabs on Lamar Jackson, but the Ravens have one of the more talented offensive lines in football despite their less-than-stellar run-blocking performance from Week 1. Houston’s linebacker group was already in question coming into the season after a rough 2019 campaign, and there was little improvement shown from last week to instill confidence in their ability to bounce back this week. Houston allowed over 250 rushing yards and 41 points in a blowout loss to the Ravens in 2019, and the matchup dictates they could be in for much of the same in Week 2.
CLEVELAND Browns RUSHING OFFENSE VS CINCINNATI
The Browns offense had a tough start to the season as they managed only three points against the Ravens last week. On the ground, it was actually Kareem Hunt who out-carried Nick Chubb 12-to-10, in part dictated by the pass-heavy game script with Hunt playing more of the pass-catching role for this offense. Nick Chubb should remain the primary run-down back here, but Hunt certainly offers some upside on passing downs and looked good enough in Week 1 to push more of a timeshare than originally expected in this backfield. Tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. left last week with a leg injury and did not return. Center J.C. Tretter is also on the injury report as he played through a knee injury in Week 1, but both Tretter and Wills should be suiting up this week barring no late setbacks. With all 5 starters, this is a decent offensive line that should be able to hold their own in this matchup.
The Bengals defense allowed a total of 155 rushing yards (fifth-most) to the Chargers in their Week 1 debut, including an average of 4.4 yards per carry to Austin Ekeler and 5.0 yards per carry to Joshua Kelley. Expectations were higher for this defensive line considering the addition of D.J. Reader during the offseason, but injuries have already taken a toll on what looked to be a relatively promising unit. Geno Atkins missed Week 1 with a shoulder injury and remains questionable coming into a quick turnaround Thursday night game this week. D.J. Reader was carted off from last week’s game with cramps but is not considered a threat to miss time this week. Mike Daniels also missed time last week as he re-aggravated a groin injury, so he also may not be 100% even if he does suit up. Looking to the second level--the Bengals linebackers remain healthy and new addition Josh Bynes had a solid game against the Chargers--but other younger linebackers Germaine Pratt and Logan Wilson will need to further prove their worth. While a return from Geno Atkins would undoubtedly boose this run defense, the early health concerns and questionable support over the top remain reasons why the Browns should have the edge in this rushing matchup.
Cincinnati Bengals RUSHING OFFENSE at CLEVELAND
The Bengals offensive line had a tough time in Week 1 as Joe Mixon managed to rush 19 times for just 69 yards while quarterback Joe Burrow was constantly under duress. The matchup in the trenches was a very difficult one though, as the Chargers front seven is loaded with talent. Joe Mixon did make a few nice plays in Week 1 and clearly has the volume to excel on the ground after getting 19 carries in his first outing. The Bengals offensive line is not the strongest in the league, but second-year left guard Michael Jordan played well last week while right tackle Bobby Hart made some great blocks for their ground game. While the Bengals offensive line is certainly not an overwhelming favorite to win in the trenches, all they need to do is allow Mixon some chances to get to the second level. Given Mixon’s implied volume and success after contact (57% of his 2019 rushing yards have come after contact), he should have a good chance at busting a few big plays here.
The Browns run defense has a notable weakness at linebacker that the Bengals should be able to exploit this week. Rookie Jacob Phillips is still getting his feet wet after the Week 1 debut, and middle linebacker B.J. Goodson is a sub-par signal-caller who will also have to keep up with what we have seen can be a mobile quarterback in Joe Burrow. The defensive line for Cleveland has some talent on the interior, but their edge defenders have notably struggled against the run in the past. The Bengals may not have an overwhelmingly positive matchup in the trenches, but their tackles excel enough in run-blocking to hold their own and all they need to do is find enough space for Mixon to make it to this sub-par run-defending linebacker group and secondary.
TAMPA BAY Buccaneers RUSHING OFFENSE VS CAROLINA
The Tampa Bay rushing offense may have put up lackluster numbers with just 3.3 yards per rush attempt in Week 1, but Ronald Jones II looked good on the ground as he overwhelmingly led this backfield with 17 carries. New addition Leonard Fournette saw just 5 rush attempts for five yards as he played only nine total snaps compared to 33 snaps from Jones and 25 snaps from LeSean McCoy, who saw just one carry. This backfield is loaded with weapons, and it is tough to assume the workload splits based on Week 1 since Fournette is so new to this offensive system. Expect to see the workload level out slightly for this week with Ronald Jones II likely maintaining the spot as the lead running back until Fournette is fully up to speed with the playbook. On the offensive line, the Buccaneers grade out as an average unit with a particularly strong left side along with one of the top centers in the league, Ryan Jensen.
The Panthers defense had low expectations coming into the season and they delivered on those in Week 1 as Josh Jacobs of the Raiders hammered away at Carolina for 93 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Nearly all snaps at linebacker went to Tahir Whitehead and Shaq Thompson, and neither are noted for their tackling prowess. The defensive interior is not much better for Carolina as half of their rotation consists of rookies who struggled in their opening week debut while the two veterans--Kawann Short and Zach Kerr--both looked sluggish. Kawann Short has been a talented player for a number of years, but he is returning from a shoulder injury that ended his 2019 season and still appears to be shaking off the rust. With the Buccaneers sporting a solid offensive line and a multitude of weapons in their backfield, Tampa Bay has a clear edge in what could be a lopsided matchup this week.
TENNESSEE Titans RUSHING OFFENSE VS JACKSONVILLE
The 2019 rushing title-holder Derrick Henry picked up right where he left off in Week 1 as he rushed for 116 yards with the highest workload (31 carries) of any running back last week. While Henry was far from efficient with those touches with a long run of only 13 yards, the Titans offense showed a continued commitment to the run by feeding him on every drive. Henry now has amassed eight 100-yard rushing games over his last 10 games dating back to November 10, 2019. The expected backup to Henry, rookie Darrynton Evans, missed last week with a hamstring injury and remains questionable coming into this week. Expect less of a workload for Henry if Evans suits up, but also expect the Titans will continue to center their offense around the rushing attack with Henry at the heart of that plan.
The Jaguars run defense had a reasonably successful showing in Week 1 as they limited Indianapolis to just 88 rushing yards, but a key injury to Marlon Mack certainly played a factor in offering less of a threat to this otherwise questionable defensive unit. Jacksonville is lacking playmaking depth both on the defensive interior and at linebacker. Abry Jones is the core of this run defense, and he is certainly a tough matchup to deal with. However, he will be up against an excellent left side of the Titans offensive line with very minimal help at other positions in the trenches. Linebacker Qunicy Williams remains out until at least Week 3 with an abdomen injury, which leaves Joe Schobert and Myles Jack as the main pieces of a linebacker group that has historically struggled against the run. The Jaguars will also be without starting safety Jarrod Wilson as he landed on injured reserve after Week 1. Losing depth over the top can be a big issue when facing a running back like Derrick Henry, who led the league by a wide margin in yards after contact (968) last season. Henry racked up 159 rushing yards and two touchdowns the last time he met this Jaguars defense, and while that’s a high bar to expect for this week, he has what it takes to continue eclipsing that 100-yard mark in Week 2.