Against a favorable matchup in the Detroit Lions Jordan Howard has the chance to put a strong game together. Can he go over 100 yards for the first time all season?
All season this blog has told you that Matt Nagy will play the matchups to determine his running back usage. The ineptitude of the Bills offense through last game off, but Nagy has generally attacked his opposition greatest weakness. For the Detroit Lions that weakness has been the running game.
To be fair, the Lions added Damon Harrison before the trade deadline. He is the best run stuffer in the NFL and has only played two games for them. Still, he has not made an immediate impact.
Matt Breia put up 138 yards on 11 carries the following week. While the Patriots did not run the ball well, the game script got away from them. It was also the very first start of rookie Sony Michel on the road. He ended with 14 carries for 50 yards, and the Pats ran for 87 yards on 14 rushes.
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The Green Bay Packers struggled to run the ball as well. However, they got behind early just like New England. Even worse than New England was the turnstile at running back at that point. Three backs had between four and seven carries and the Packers churned out 88 yards on 17 carries.
Aside from that, teams have run with ease. Ezekiel Elliot put up 125 yards on 25 carries. The Dolphins combined for 101 yards between Frank Gore and Kenyan Drake. Chris Carson had 105 yards on 25 carries.
Last week Dalvin Cook ripped off a 70 yarder, and the Vikings backs ran 20 times for 120 yards.
The fact of the matter is that unless the Lions get out to an early lead, and hold onto it throughout the game, teams run on the Lions consistently. While this will be week three of Damon Harrison added, this is also week three of Jordan Howard getting his mojo back.
After posting what was easily the best game of his season with 22 carries for 81 yards and a touchdown against New York, he went on the road and wore down the Buffalo Bills with two touchdowns. His second touchdown run was impressive because all of his touchdowns have been goal line work. However, Howard burst one from outside the 10 and punished a safety on his way in.
When looking at the strength of schedule of run defenses the Bears have faced, it is no surprise 81 yards has been his best output. Since week one they have face the 2nd, 13th, 15th, 16th, 9th, 18th, and 12th best run defenses. The only defense they faced below average against the run was Howards 81 yard breakout.
The Detroit Lions rank 30th against the run. After breaking out against the 18th and 12th rated defenses in the NFL, there is a good chance that is going to be looking for a breakout performance against the 30th ranked group.
At home against a division rival who struggles against the run seems like a spot that Matt Nagy would call for Howard. Even if the game is close, or they are trailing expect Nagy to work 20 carries into the game plan for Howard. Look for Jordan Howard to put up 100 yards for the first time this season.