Go here for this week's Passing Matchups.
Top 5 Rushing Matchups
Washington at Houston
Washington had an impressive upset victory against the Eagles in Week 10 on Monday Night Football. J.D. McKissic missed Week 10 with a neck injury, and Antonio Gibson limped off with what appeared to be an ankle injury but was able to return to the game and is a full participant in early week practice. Since Brian Robinson returned from his shooting injury, Robinson has led the team in carries each week, including 26 carries, 86 rushing yards, and one touchdown against a tough Philadelphia defense. Carson Wentz is eligible to come off injured reserve this week, but Taylor Heinicke has been named the starter.
Houston’s run defense has been absolutely horrendous this season, as they have given up the most rushing yards per game (181.8), more than 20 yards per game above the next team (Detroit). The list of players who have gashed Houston is long, including 161 yards to Jonathan Taylor in Week 1, 157 yards to Khalil Herbert in Week 3, 143 yards to Josh Jacobs in Week 7, Derrick Henry had 32 carries for 219 yards in Week 9, and 152 yards to Saquon Barkley last week. Overall, the Texans have given up league-worst rushing yards (156) and touchdowns (1.4) to opposing running backs. The linebacker play in Houston continues to be a massive problem as rookie Christian Harris remains one of the league’s worst run-stoppers, as has rookie Jalen Pitre at the safety position.
Buffalo vs Cleveland
Josh Allen suffered an elbow injury against the Jets in Week 9 that left him questionable for Week 10. Allen was able to play and ran for 84 yards against the Vikings. Devin Singletary has been the team’s leading rusher and is coming off a performance of 13 carries, 47 yards, and two touchdowns against Minnesota. James Cook has been more involved since the team traded Zach Moss to Indianapolis but is not a threat to Singletary’s workload.
Cleveland has given up the tenth-most rushing yards in the league per game (131.1). The team started well, holding Carolina (54) and the New York Jets (93) in check, but have given up at least 160 yards in four of the past six games to Falcons, Chargers, Ravens, and Miami. The team traded for linebacker Deion Jones, who made his debut in Week 7, but he has performed poorly against the run in three games with Cleveland. Jones was one of the worst run defenders for Atlanta in 2021, so he is unlikely to make the defense rebound against the run.
NY Giants vs Detroit
The Giants have found their offensive identity this season relying heavily on Saquon Barkley as a runner. The team has won five of their last six games, with Barkley rushing for 31, 13, 22, 24, 20, and 35 attempts during the six-week span. Rookie right tackle Evan Neal was inactive for the second consecutive week due to a knee injury, so his status should be monitored. Daniel Jones has at least five carries in every game this year and has the potential for a good rushing game against a defense that has been gashed by rushing quarterbacks this season.
The Lions have given up the second-most rushing yards per game (160.9). They have also given up the second-most rushing touchdowns per game (1.67) and are tied for the third-most rushing yards per attempt (5.3). Two of Detroit’s best performances against the run have come in Week 8 against Miami (107 rushing yards) and Week 9 against Green Bay (106 rushing yards) before surrendering 258 yards to Chicago Bears last week. The team surrendered 90 yards to Jalen Hurts in Week 1 and 147 to Justin Fields in Week 10 so they are susceptible to a quarterback willing and capable of running like Daniel Joens. Detroit Lions safety DeShon Elliott landed in the concussion protocol this week, putting additional stress on a secondary already without Tracy Walker.
Kansas City at LA Chargers
The Kansas City rushing offense has fluctuated in rushing workload this season. The team named Isiah Pacheco their starter multiple weeks ago, but there was not a true change in the pecking order of the backfield until Week 10. Clyde Edwards-Helaire only played four snaps and did not see a single touch in Week 10, with Pacheco carrying the ball 16 times for 82 yards. Pacheco is trending up as the fantasy football playoffs approach, while Edwards-Helaire is unusable at present. Offensive tackle Andrew Wylie left Week 10 against the Jaguars with a sprained elbow, so his health status should be monitored.
The Chargers were the third-worst defense against the run in 2021 when they surrendered 138.9 rushing yards per game. The team made moves to improve the defense but has been worse, allowing 146.8 rushing yards per game, the third most in the league. The team has given up more than 200 yards in three of the prior four weeks before giving up 157 rushing yards in Week 10 to San Francisco. The team is extremely depleted on the interior of the defensive line, after losing Austin Jackson to a knee injury in Week 9, cutting Jerry Tillery before Week 10, and losing both Otito Ogbonnia and Christian Covington to injured reserve in Week 10.
Tennessee at Green Bay
Ryan Tannehill returned in Week 10, which opened the passing offense in a way the team was unable to with Malik Willis at quarterback. Derrick Henry is a consistent high-volume running back with at least 17 carries in every game since their blowout loss in Week 2 against Buffalo. Overall, the Titans rank ninth in the league in rushing yards (133.4 yards per game) and run the ball 11% over expectation based on their game situation.
The Packers have given up the seventh-most rushing yards in the league (140.6) and have allowed 0.9 touchdowns per game. The team has been surprisingly porous on defense, allowing at least 115 rushing yards in every game except against Tampa Bay in Week 3. Edge defender Rashad Gary has been one of the team’s better run defenders but suffered a torn ACL during the Week 9 loss to Detroit. The team was also without De’Vondre Campbell with a knee injury in Week 10. This is a defense that really has struggled in the linebacker and safety positions, as this team is completely designed to stop the pass and has done it incredibly well this season. However, rookie linebacker Quay Walker and safeties Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos have all had their issues with consistently stopping running backs from getting to the second level.
Bottom 5 Rushing Matchups
Arizona vs San Francisco
Week 10 saw the return of starting running back James Conner, who cashed in the opportunity with two rushing touchdowns. The rest of the running back position is in flux, with Darrel Williams on injured reserve and the team cutting Eno Benjamin. This leaves Keaontay Ingram as the primary injury away back behind Conner. The team was without Kyler Murray in Week 10 with a hamstring injury but should be on pace to play in Week 11. The team lost Zach Ertz for the season in Week 10, but his loss should have minimal impact on the running game.
Coming off a Week 9 bye, the 49ers held the Chargers to only 51 rushing yards on Sunday Night Football. The team has gotten healthy in recent weeks, including the return of linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair back from injured reserve. The team has only allowed 100 rushing yards three times, with a season-high of 168 in Week 6 to Atlanta. Overall, San Francisco has given up the fewest rushing yards in the league through nine weeks (82.7) and the fewest yards per attempt (3.4).
Green Bay vs Tennessee
Green Bay had a big performance on the ground against Dallas in Week 10. The team ran the ball 39 times against Dallas, which was 23% over expectation, given they trailed throughout the game. Aaron Jones has been the clear lead back in the backfield, with A.J. Dillon playing the smaller half of the committee. Left tackle David Bakhtiari has consistently been on the injury report this season, and the quick turnaround on Thursday Night Football is a spot to monitor.
After giving up over 200 yards to the Giants in Week 1 and 101 yards to Buffalo in Week 2, Tennessee has been an elite run defense. They have not given up 100 yards in the seven games since, including good performances against Josh Jacobs, Jonathan Taylor (twice), and Dameon Pierce. Tennessee only allowed 65 rushing yards to Denver in Week 10, despite missing Jeffery Simmons, Zach Cunningham, Bud Dupree, and Amani Hooker on their defense. The game is on Thursday night, so the short week warrants monitoring on the injury front.
Carolina at Baltimore
DOnta Foreman has taken over the running back job after Carolina traded Christian McCaffrey before Week 7. In the four games since McCaffrey was traded, Foreman has 15, 26, 7, and 31 carries. Foreman’s seven carries in Week 9 were in a game against Cincinnati, where Carolina was blown out. In the three other games, Foreman has at least 118 rushing yards. Chuba Hubbard returned from injury in Week 10 but had only five carries, ranking behind Foreman (31) and Raheem Blackshear (6) in carries. This appears to be Foreman’s backfield as long as he can continue to play at a high level, as Hubbard does not have more than nine carries in a game this season.
The Ravens are coming off a Week 10 bye. In the Week 8 matchup against Tampa Bay, the Ravens only allowed 44 rushing yards before allowing 48 yards in Week 9 to the New Orleans Saints. Overall, on the season, the Ravens have only allowed 92 rushing yards per game, the third-best performance in the league. This is a defense that has one of the better defensive lines in football, led by Calais Campbell, who in his 15th season, continues to be an extremely impressive run stopper, while Justin Madubuike is also having a career season for the Ravens. The change of scenery for Roquan Smith has led to much better play from the talented but inconsistent running back as the team has been extremely impressed with his time in Baltimore this season.
Dallas at Minnesota
Dallas has been without Ezekiel Elliott the past two games, giving Tony Pollard the opportunity to start. Pollard has averaged 18 carries, 123 yards, and two touchdowns. Pollard had double-digit carries in the two games before Elliott missed with injury. The team has seven rushing touchdowns in the past four games but remains committed to Elliott as their starting running back. Elliott was a limited participant on Wednesday, and if he returns to the Cowboys backfield, all signs are indicating that it will be going back to the committee approach for Dallas this week.
Minnesota has given up the 17th most rushing yards to opposing teams (111.3) and has given up the fifth-fewest rushing yards to opposing running backs (76). The defense had been hot, holding Chicago (78), Miami (73), and Arizona (78) all under 80 yards before allowing 137 rushing yards to Washington in Week 9 and 175 rushing yards to Buffalo in Week 10. The Buffalo performance was the worst of the season, but they surrendered 84 yards to Josh Allen. The team has not given up a 50-yard rushing performance to an opposing running back since giving up 57 yards to Latavius Murray in Week 4. This is a veteran defense with Pro Bowl caliber players at all three levels, with ZaDarius Smith, Danielle Hunter, Erik Kendricks, and Harrison Smith.
NY Jets at New England
The New York Jets showed a big commitment to the run during Week 9, with James Robinson (13 carries) and Michael Carter (12 carries), each with double-digit carries. Since Robinson was traded from Jacksonville, Carter has 19 carries to Robinson’s 18. The New York Jets offensive line has been decimated by injury throughout the season, and the team has a rushing success rate of 38.9%, the 25th-best in the league.
New England has allowed the 14th most rushing yards with 120.7 rushing yards but has given up the 10th fewest rushing yards to opposing running backs (84) and only allowed 0.1 rushing touchdowns per game. New England had held the Jets to 51 yards in Week 8 and held Indianapolis to 78 rushing yards in Week 9 before their bye. This is a defense that is not going to have the star names that others might, but they don’t have any glaring holes, either. JaWhaun Bentley and Jahlani Tavai at linebacker are both having career seasons this year, while the defensive line in Deatrich Wise, Matthew Judon, and Josh Uche have all been great this year in stopping the run.
|Week 11 Rushing Matchups
|at LA Chargers
|at Green Bay
|vs Kansas City
|vs Las Vegas
|at NY Giants
|at New Orleans
|vs LA Rams
|vs NY Jets
|at New England
|vs San Francisco