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Top 5 Rushing Matchups
Dallas vs Detroit
The Dallas running game should get a boost in Week 7 with the expected return of Dak Prescott. Ezekiel Elliott had his best performance of the season in Week 6 against Philadelphia, carrying the ball 13 times for 81 yards and a touchdown. Tony Pollard also added 44 yards on 11 carries. Dallas has a middle-of-the-pack run-blocking offensive line, with tackles Terence Steele and Tyler Smith outperforming the interior of the offensive line. With Dak coming back, there will likely be even less certainty of the volume that these running backs will receive on a weekly basis.
As fun of a story as the Lions are through Hard Knocks, their defense is one of the worst in football. The Lions have given up the most rushing yards per game (167.6). They have also given up the most rushing touchdowns per game (2) and are tied for the third most rushing yards per attempt (5.5). The Lions are coming off a bye and will hope to reset their defense. This is a defense that has allowed Rhamondre Stevenson and Rashaad Penny to each top 150 yards over the last two games. The rush defense has been anchored by Aidan Hutchinson, their second overall pick in the 2022 draft and Malcolm Rodriguez, a sixth-round pick. Safety Tracy Walker was placed on injured reserve with a leg injury after Week 4, and replacement Kerby Joseph has struggled in his absence.
Jacksonville vs NY Giants
Jacksonville is coming off a strong performance in Week 6 against the Colts, where the team produced three different rushers with at least 54 rushing yards. After some early season struggles, Travis Etienne has outperformed James Robinson in the past three games on only two fewer carries. JaMycal Hasty has played a small role in the offense on the back of a 54-yard-long gain. Jacksonville has rushed for 136.7 yards per game, the eighth-best rushing offense in the league. This is a situation to watch, as expect Etienne’s role to continue to grow given the draft capital that they’ve invested in him and with him averaging 7.9 yards-per-carry over the last two weeks, it would be crazy for them not to give him the ball more.
The Giants run defense has been seemingly the one weak spot on this team that is surprisingly off to a 5-1 start. The Giants have given up the third most rushing yards per game (144.8) and surrendered a season-high 211 rushing yards against the Ravens in 2022. The best two performances against the Giants were 93 and 94 yards in weeks one and five but have surrendered at least 146 yards in the other four games. Cornerback Aaron Robinson was one of the Giants’ better run defenders but injured his knee in Week 4 and landed on injured reserve. Trae Crowder is second on the team in snaps on run plays and has been the team’s worst run defender, including missing tackles on 37% of his opportunities.
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