Here are my top ten run defenses to target this week. New Orleans is on their bye, FYI.
- LA Chargers (-1). Brandon Gdula of NumerFire had Jacksonville listed as the defense giving up the most success to RBs before Sunday. The Jags got ran all over, yet the Chargers still found a way to pass them for his number one. I agree with that as they just can’t tackle right now. The Giants have struggled to run the ball, but rookie Wayne Gallman looked effective down the stretch Sunday. If he can fend off Perkins and Darkwa to consolidate the lead role he would have a nice game.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (-8). Wow did the Jags get gashed by the Jets rushing attack. They travel to Pittsburgh this week where LeVeon Bell has broken out of his early season funk. The only threat to Bell having a colossal day is the Steelers feeling comfortably enough ahead to give battering ram James Connor some work.
- San Francisco 49ers (E). The Niners are losing ground due to the volume opponents run on them. That’ll happen when you trail most of the time. Whether or not that continues against the Colts this week is hard to guess, but I expect the Colts to score points. Jacoby Brissett’s ability to run will also add extra stress.
- Los Angeles Rams (-3). Who would have guessed the Rams defense would struggle this bad and their offense would carry the load? The main driver here is the volume of rushes they’ve faced since they just don’t seem to get stops. The Seahawks have evolved from their peak Beastmode days but they still want a heavy percentage of rushing in competitive games. Spin a roulette wheel to guess which ‘Hawks RB benefits from this match up. Coach-speak says Rawls, history says Lacy, and raw talent says Prosise. The Seattle inactives will be telling, but I’m most interested in Prosise rest of season. He’s younger and arguably more talented.
- New England Patriots (E). This defense is definitely broken. They made the floundering Panthers offense, the one the Saints just destroyed, look like a juggernaut. I doubt much gets fixed on a short week travelling to Tampa Bay. The Bucs high octane offense doesn’t offer any respite either.
- New York Jets (E). In a battle of who could blunder less the Jets were victorious. It figures the year they need to lose the most they’re beating teams they could lay down for. Their run defense remains a liability, though. They face the Browns who’ve been in negative game scripts since week 2. That could change against the Jets and Hue Jackson may finally get to run the ball. This is Isaiah Crowell’s last exit for me, though.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (-1). In true AFC North fashion both teams stuck with the run when they beat the Ravens Sunday. Alex Collins found plenty of room to run prior to fumbling and being benched*. The Jaguar backs run hard similar to Collins, which could be trouble for Pittsburgh this weekend.
- Detroit Lions (+4). Dalvin Cook was on his way to a nice day before the disastrous ‘non-contact injury’ struck. Had he not been forced out the game would have went differently. The way to beat the Lions remains the ground game. The Panthers offense is still rooted in their rushing attack. It could be any Carolina RBs day.
- Dallas Cowboys (N). A lack of talent is catching up with this unit. Many of their defects get covered up by the offense controlling the ball and slowing the pace of the game to a grinding halt. They haven’t been able to do that as effectively this season. Don’t expect them to against the visiting Packers either.
- Baltimore Ravens (N). Key injuries to their defensive line have eroded a solid run defense. MLB CJ Mosely is a machine, but he can’t make every tackle. This unit needs to get above water before teams see them as prey. They face the Raiders, who just lost Derek Carr for some time. Establishing the run should be Oakland’s focus. My season long Lynch shares would greatly appreciate if they did.
Follow Mike Alexander on Twitter @Roto_Wan.
*Corrected benching to benched.