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Cincinnati at Kansas City
After a disappointing season rushing the ball, the Bengals turned to their rushing attack to carry them to the surprisingly dominant victory against Buffalo last week. Joe Mixon had 105 yards on 20 carries which was just the second time that Mixon had topped 100 yards this season. The Bengals have offensive line issues as left tackle Jonah Williams and right guard Alex Cappa missed last week and are not practicing so far this week. Joe Mixon and the Bengals’ rushing attack have had a year to forget this season as Mixon totaled just 814 yards on the year, and volume over the second half of the season has been a concern as he averaged 17.3 carries per game in his first seven games of the season compared to just 11.6 in his last seven games. It’s a great sign for the Bengals that Mixon was able to get 20 carries this past week.
The Chiefs’ run defense is far from a perfect unit as the team is built to anticipate high-scoring games with defensive ends specializing in rushing the passer, while safeties Juan Thornhill and Justin Reid are coverage-first type players. The Chiefs, on the season, are allowing just 91 yards per game to opposing running backs which is the 14th-best in the NFL, but that does not tell the full story as the Chiefs are allowing the eighth-fewest rushing attempts per game at 20 but are allowing 4.5 yards-per-carry to opposing running backs this season. When teams commit to the run, this is a defense that has struggled to stop the run as they’ve allowed four running backs to top 100 yards this season, including 106 yards to Samaje Perine and the Bengals back in Week 13. What makes Kansas City’s overall run defense statistically as good as it is, is primarily that their offense gets out to an early lead, as they are second in the NFL in first-half points at 15.7 per game.
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