Top 5 Rushing MATCHUPS WEEK 9
To view all of our Week 9 Matchup content, please see the links below:
Top 5 Passing Matchups Week 9
Bottom 5 Passing Matchups Week 9
Top 5 Rushing Matchups Week 9
Bottom 5 Rushing Matchups Week 9
Rushing Matchup Chart Week 9
Passing Matchup Chart Week 9
Pittsburgh at Dallas
Pittsburgh's rushing attack continues to be up and down throughout the year. This is a team that’s backbone is their offensive line which grades out as an A+ by Footballguys Matt Bitonti. Running back James Conner continues to be the workhorse, averaging 17.4 carries per game over his last six contests and he has rushed for over 80 yards in four of those contests and under 50 yards in two of those contests albeit games against difficult defenses in Baltimore and Philadelphia. When Conner gets to the second level he is dangerous and should be in a great position this week against Dallas.
The Dallas run defense has largely been like the rest of the team which is just uninspired this year. Allowing 139 rushing yards per game - which ranks as the second-highest in the NFL - this is a unit that has struggled up the middle as Antwaun Woods and Neville Gallimore have let too many offensive linemen get to the second level where Leighton Vander Esch has struggled with consistency this season. The last three weeks have been especially bad for this defense as they have allowed 159 rushing yards in three contests against poor rushing offenses in Philadelphia, Arizona, and Washington allowing Boston Scott, Antonio Gibson, and Kenyan Drake all to have their best games of the season.
Jacksonville vs Houston
Jacksonville is going to rely heavily on James Robinson to continue his strong play as the team turns to Jake Luton this week at quarterback. While Robinson has not been perfect, he is averaging 4.5 yards per carry and is coming off his best game as an NFL running back rushing for 119 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers. The Jaguars offensive line is a much better run-blocking unit than they are a pass-blocking unit as their strength is up the middle with guard Andrew Norwell leading the way.
The Texans' run-stopping unit has been embarrassing throughout the season. Missing their defensive space-eating defensive tackle D.J. Reader, the Texans have looked uninspired for most of the season as seemingly every running back they’ve faced has had success against this team. Averaging an astounding 151 yards rushing this year, Houston has high paid defensive players in Zach Cunningham, Whitney Mercilus, and Justin Reid, but they’ve largely struggled this season while J.J. Watt has been the lone bright spot on this defense. Expect the Jaguars to lean on James Robinson in this one as they look to grind this game out and keep it low scoring.
Minnesota vs Detroit
Minnesota’s rushing attack is the bright spot on this team thus far in the 2020 season as Dalvin Cook is working towards an All-Pro type season. Cook has scored a touchdown in every game this season amounting to 10 rushing touchdowns in 6 games and is averaging 5.3 yards-per-carry. He would be solidly in the MVP discussions if the team was not 2-5. The Vikings will look to ride Cook to get on a winning streak to try to salvage this season after an abysmal start.
The Lions are a team that has been trying to find a run-stopping identity since allowing Damon Harrison to leave town in the offseason. The Danny Shelton and Nick Williams combination that they brought in has been adequate against average rushing attacks but has largely struggled against the elite running backs. The Lions have faced the Saints and the Packers and got shredded by both of them as they allowed an average of 200 yards rushing between the two games. The bad news for the Lions is that they face the best running back in football in Dalvin Cook which should make for a long game for the Lions this week.
Kansas City vs Carolina
The Chiefs rushing attack was largely non-existent last week and it didn’t need to be. The Jets seemingly sold out to stop the Chiefs run game which left their secondary to be exploited by Patrick Mahomes II who threw the ball for 416 yards. This has largely been the story of the Chiefs season which makes them so incredibly difficult to stop. Edwards-Helaire has been inconsistent on the year mostly due to game planning as he has three games this year with 20 or more carries while also having four contests with ten or fewer carries.
The Panthers defense has largely been a stalwart as a favorable rushing matchup this season and for good reason. This is a team that is allowing the third-most fantasy points to opposing running backs and largely has played a weak schedule. The quality running backs that they have faced have all dominated against this defense as Josh Jacobs ran for 93 yards and 3 touchdowns, and Alvin Kamara ran for 83 yards on just 14 carries. This defense has also allowed 100-yard games to Todd Gurley and Leonard Fournette. The problem is that this is a team still rebuilding as they lost Luke Kuechly due to early retirement and are trying to implement a new scheme under Matt Rhule.
NY Jets vs New England
There’s not much to like about the Jets rushing attack this season as Frank Gore leads the team in rushing with just 340 yards on the season and has yet to score a touchdown. La'Mical Perine has seen 19 carries over the last two games, but the rookie has been even less productive than Gore. While the offensive line is certainly not great, it is not the weakest spot on the team as it ranks 25th in the NFL this season, but the problem is the lack of passing threat as Sam Darnold has not thrown for over 230 yards this season and has thrown for under 200 yards in four of his six games.
The early-season success of the Patriots has officially worn off for this defense as they are playing as we all expected them to when they lost Kyle Van Noy, Danny Shelton, Jamie Collins Sr, Dont'a Hightower, and Patrick Chung. Over the last three games, the Patriots have allowed 160 rushing yards per game to Buffalo, San Francisco, and Denver none of which boast a potent running attack. The problem here is that the front seven for the Patriots is incredibly weak, and they are still trying to play the patented Bill Belichick nickel defense which just has put too much pressure on John Simon and Ja'Whaun Bentley. Simon has largely been a defensive lineman for most of his career dating back to college.