RB Paul Smith - Denver Broncos

5-10, 234Born: 1-31-1978College: Texas-El PasoDrafted: Round 5, pick

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Week 11: at Minnesota Vikings

All RB vs MIN

FBG says: Bad matchup. The duo of Broncos running backs has led this rushing offense to an average start to the season as Denver ranks 16th in the league with 113.2 rushing yards per game. While Royce Freeman has edged Phillip Lindsay in snaps for six straight games, Lindsay remains the top running back as he has led the team in carries every week while out-producing Freeman in nearly every major rushing statistic. The bye came at a good time for the Broncos ground game as both running backs had been dealing with their own injury issues leading into Week 9 (Lindsay with a wrist, Freeman with a shoulder). The Broncos offensive line grades out as a below-average unit due to the absence of right tackle JaWuan James, who is missing time with a knee injury for the second time this season and remains questionable for this week. The Vikings have been tough on the run for most of the season, including last week as they successfully sold out against the run to limit Ezekiel Elliott to only 47 rushing yards on 20 attempts. Elliott and the Cowboys rushing offense represented the first true test this team had faced on the ground as their rushing competition had been relatively weak in preceding games. Despite missing top interior lineman Linval Joseph, this Vikings defensive line did an excellent job against a stout Dallas offensive line as the strong play from defensive ends Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter helped carry them. Joseph is expected to miss again this week, but if this defensive line plays as it did in last week's game, they should still be in decent shape against a much weaker interior offensive line from the Broncos. It certainly helps to also have talented run-defending middle linebacker Eric Kendricks and an elite pair of safeties in Anthony Harris and Harrison Smith to support the second level of run defense. All are reasons why this defense has allowed an opposing running back to exceed 50 rushing yards just four times in 10 games on the season--further testament to why the outlook for Denver's ground game looks grim this week.

Weekly Performance vs RB 1, RB 12, RB 24, RB 36

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Schedule

11@ Minnesota Vikings
12@ Buffalo Bills
13vs Los Angeles Chargers
14@ Houston Texans
15@ Kansas City Chiefs
16vs Detroit Lions
17vs Oakland Raiders