BOTTOM 5 RUSHING MATCHUPS WEEK 16
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Detroit vs Tampa Bay
The Lions seem to have found their lead back of the future in D'Andre Swift, a dynamic dual-threat talent who fights for every yard. But Swift still doesn’t see significant volume, and certain game situations can limit his impact. Swift has been the de facto lead back for 7 games now and flashed real explosiveness, yet the Lions have still ranked 30th in raw yardage over that span. Simply put, when Swift isn’t rolling along as the offensive focal point, this isn’t a very imposing attack. And it doesn’t help that the mediocre front line just took a nosedive - all the way to 32nd in Footballguys’ Matt Bitonti’s rankings - with the loss of Pro Bowl center Frank Ragnow.
The Buccaneers, after a week off from erasing opposing run games, bounced right back into another dominant, shutdown performance. Falcons running backs produced all of 21 yards on their 12 attempts Sunday; were they able to burn out some second-half clock on the ground, they may have held onto their win. But virtually no one has been able to find any room against this suffocating unit over the past two years, so there’s no shame there. Dalvin Cook ran up 102 in Week 14, but no one else has even reached 60 this season. Even high-efficiency ground games like the Saints (89 running back yards), Packers (80), and Chiefs (59) have more or less hit brick walls in this matchup. This front seven has simply dominated in the trenches, even with star nose tackle Vita Vea on the shelf, and the linebackers have cleaned up beautifully in the gaps. And they’ve certainly found a run-support gem in rookie Antoine Winfield Jr Jr., an invaluable tackler in the box. It’s hard to pinpoint a formula to beat such a strong unit, and even harder to project the Lions’ ho-hum ground game to do it.