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|AP NFL Most Rushing Yards||Odds|
|Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns||+350
|Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts||+400
|Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans||+1500
|Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings||+2000
|Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals||+3000
|Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers||+4000
With the QB position up in the air in Cleveland, expect them to lean heavily on their run game and if Chubb can stay healthy he is their go-to man on the ground.
Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns (+350)
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The NFL has certainly become a passing league, but that game plan requires a steady counterbalance with the run game to keep defenses in check, and the RB who generates the most yards in a season is recognized at the end of every season, the goal for most pro backs.
Last year’s winner – Indy Colts RB Jonathan Taylor – is also this season’s odds-on favorite, challenged closely by a two-time winner of this distinction – Tennessee Titan’s RB Derrick Taylor – two backs in their prime who could easily have the season of their career in 2022.
One key to winning this prestigious rushing title is getting snaps and staying healthy which is tough to do while getting pummeled, so here we examine the favorites for this honor and briefly evaluate their odds and predictions for becoming the NFL Total Rushing Yards Champ of 2022.
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Despite the Indianapolis Colts failing to make the playoffs in 2021, their star RB Jonathan Taylor had himself a breakout season while posting the most yards of any running back (1,811) as well as leading the league in carries (332), rushing TDs (18), and rushing yards per game (106.5).
Not bad for just his second season in the league, the 23-year old Taylor a former Wisconsin playmaker where he was a 2x Unanimous All-American and 3x Consensus All-Big Ten, a 5’ 10 226 pound bull who can run the 40-yard dash in 4.39 seconds, a deadly combo for defenders.
The Colts will have Matt Ryan under center this season, a veteran QB who knows exactly how valuable a dual threat RB and checkdown receiver like Taylor is in the backfield, the third-year pro now with 76 catches for 659 yards 3 TDs, his most productive seasons could still be ahead.
Besides the Colts Jonathan Taylor, the AFC South has another of the league’s top runners on this list, the Tennessee Titans’ Derrick Henry, a two-time winner of this NFL Most Rushing Yards Award and he was on his way to a third one when his 2021 got cut short with an injury.
Henry is becoming a rarity at his position at 28-years old with the RB taking some of the most brutal punishment in games of all the football positions, but except for last season he has been a durable and dependable player, including showing up post-rehab for the postseason last year.
For two straight seasons – 2019-2020 – Henry led the league in carries, rushing yards, and yards per game, so expect a healthy him to begin to carry a similar load in 2022, his presence in the backfield a huge plus for HC Mike Vrabel and QB Ryan Tannehill as the Titans battle to win.
Though he missed three games last season due to injury, Cleveland Browns RB Nick Chubb had the 2nd most rushing yards during 2021 averaging 5.5 yards per carry and almost 90 yards per game, and he might have been even more productive had their pass game been on point.
Last year, Cleveland suffered from poor QB play with Baker Mayfield battling a shoulder injury all season, so the Browns running was an obvious option that defenses could game plan around making Chubb’s productive season even more impressive, numbers that are typical for him.
In Chubb’s four NFL seasons, he has posted 1,000+ rushing yards each year (that is if you count his 996 yard rookie season), a back who shares the backfield with RB Kareem Hunt, and both will be a help to whichever QB ends up being under center for the Browns this season.
Fourth on the list here is a true dual-threat back, Minnesota Vikings’ RB Dalvin Cook, a veteran 3x Pro-Bowler who is about to play in his sixth NFL season who hurts defenses on the ground and through the air with his speed and power making him difficult to tackle in the open field.
Last year Cook only played in 13 games due to a dislocated shoulder, that season with 249 carries for 1,159 yards and 6 TDs along with 34 catches for 224 yards, production that could not keep the shaky Vikings from earning just an 8-9 record and avoiding the playoffs again.
Cook is 5’ 10” and 210 pounds so he is large enough to take a hit, but he is still fast enough (4.49 second 40-yard dash speed) to be dangerous on the run, the Florida State alum a 2x first-team All American and All-ACC while playing there, his off the field persona equally impressive.
If you watched the Super Bowl last season, you remember the Cincinnati Bengals RB Joe Mixon who carried the ball 15 times for 72 yards and caught 5 passes for just a yard in that loss, this sixth-year pro ready to have another breakout season if he can stay healthy.
Mixon has proven to be mostly durable during his NFL career, but in 2020 he only played in six games due to a foot injury that forced him onto IR, and that was just after the Bengals’ front office agreed to extend his contract for four years at $48 million, a tough way to follow that deal.
In his six NFL seasons, Mixon has carried the ball over 1,100 times for 33 touchdowns plus he has caught 171 balls for 1,322 yards and 8 touchdowns, a dual threat who helps QB Joe Burrow in times of trouble as a checkdown receiver who uses his 6’ 1” 220 body to keep things fair.
In 2021, the NFL’s Total Rushing Yards leader was Jonathan Taylor of the Indy Colts.
A nationwide panel of fifty members of the AP who cover the NFL on a regular basis selects the winner of the NFL Most Rushing Yards award at the end of the season before the playoffs.
The league will announce the winner at the NFL Honors Presentation, which is held the night before the Super Bowl is played.
This season, the presentation will happen on Saturday, February 11, 2023, and as usual, it will not be televised for the public, but chances are the names of the winners will leak out so keep checking back for all the latest news and updates.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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