NFL Playoff rankings Top running backs head to divisional ar

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2023-01-24 04:02

Our NFL Playoff rankings are back with a look at the top running backsheading into this weekends divisional round.

Christian McCaffrey dominated for the San Francisco 49ers in their blowout win over the Seattle Seahawks during the wild card round. Obviously, he tops this list.

But where do other running backs rank as they look to lead their teams to Championship Sunday? We have you covered here with our latest NFL Playoff rankings at this all-important position.

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Ezekiel Elliott stats (2022):231 attempts, 876 rushing yards, 3.8 average, 17 receptions, 92 yards, 968 total yards, 12 TD

The regression weve seen from Elliott over the past three seasons is eye-opening. And it impacts him big time in our latest NFL Playoff rankings installment. Elliott averaged a career-low 3.8 yards per rush during the regular season. He also gained a mere1.5 yards after contact per tote. This just isnt going to cut it.

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Likely in the final days of his tenure in Big D, Elliott has taken a back seat to Tony Pollard (more on him below). The only saving grace is the 12 touchdowns he scored on 231 rush attempts. Coming off a wild card game in which he ran for 27 yards on 13 attempts, there shouldnt be much confidence in Elliott doing much against a league-best 49ers run defense on Sunday.

Devin Singletary stats (2022):177 attempts, 819 rushing yards, 4.6 average, 38 receptions, 1,099 total yards, 6 TD

As we saw during the regular season, consistent touches for Singletary was an issue in the first round of the NFL Playoffs. The running back ran the ball just 10 times, averaging a healthy 4.8 yards per rush. This comes after a regular season in which Singletary ran the ball fewer than 10 times in seven different games.

Given the turnover issues weve seen from Bills quarterbackJosh Allenrecently, getting more from the rushing attack moving forward in the NFL Playoffs is going to be key. That continues in the divisional round against the Cincinnati Bengals after gaining 48 yards on 10 attempts against Miami last week.

Isiah Pacheco stats (2022):170 attempts, 830 rushing yards, 4.9 average, 13 receptions, 130 yards, 960 total yards, 5 TD

A rookie seventh-round pick oout of Rutgers, Pacheco took the Chiefs lead ball-carrier role back in Week 10 and has run with it. Over the course of his final nine regular-season games, the youngster put up 750 total yards and four touchdowns. That equates to north of 1,400 total yards during a 17-game slate.

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As Kansas City prepares for its unnamed AFC Divisional Playoff game against Jacksonville, its clear that Pacheco is important to its success. Sure the focus is onPatrick Mahomesand Travis Kelce for the No. 1 seed. But this youngsters ability to provide balance could be the difference between playoff failure and another trip to the Super Bowl for Andy Reids squad.

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210 attempts, 814 rushing yards, 3.9 average, 60 receptions, 441 yards, 1,255 total yards, 9 TD

Dating back to his days with Oklahoma, Mixon has been underrated. Its one of the several reasons he fell to the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft to Cincinnati. Since then, hes produced at an extremely high level.

This past regular season saw Mixon tally north of 1,200 total yards for the fourth time in six seasons. He averaged 4.6 yards per touch and caught a career-high 60 passes. The Buffalo Bills will certainly focus a lot of their attention on theJoe BurrowandJaMarr Chaseconnection come Sunday. But Mixon could play a huge role despite putting up just 39 yards last week against Baltimore.

Whether its NFL free agent rankingsor NFL Playoff rankings, Sanders finds himself as one of the top figures. Set to hit the open market in roughly two months, he can prove himself as a franchise back with a solid postseason performance.

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Theres two issues here. Sanders saw inconsistent touches with Philadelphia during the regular season. Hes also not a receiving threat out of the backfield (124 catches in 57 career games). If Philly is to advance to Super Bowl LVII, it will need more consistency from Sanders. That starts Saturday night against the New York Giants.

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Travis Etienne stats (2022):220 attempts, 1,125 rushing yards, 5.1 average, 35 receptions, 316 yards, 1,441 total yards, 5 TD

Trevor Lawrence will get a lot of the praise after his Jaguars came back from a 27-0 deficit to beat the Los Angeles Chargers in the first round of the NFL Playoffs. But he wouldnt have been in that position if it werent for balance on offense in Jacksonville. Etienne tallied 109 yards on 20 attempts for an average of 5.5 yards per tote.

For the Jags, Etienne is going to be huge heading into the NFL Divisional Playoffs against the Buffalo Bills. The Jaguars have won four consecutive games in which Etienne has hit the 100-yard plateau.

Tony Pollard stats (2022):193 attempts, 1,007 rushing yards, 5.2 average, 39 receptions, 1,378 total yards, 12 TD

The Cowboys have a new RB1 and hes not looking back. A fourth-round pick out of Memphis back in 2019, Pollard proved himself as a part-time player in his first two seasons (4.8 yards per rush). But its been since the start of the 2021 campaign that hes flashed an ability to be a major part of the Cowboys offense.

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Back in 2021, Pollard put up north of 1,000 total yards at a clip of 6.2 yards per tote. He took on a larger role this past regular season by leading Dallas in rushing yards and matching Elliott for the team lead in touchdowns (12). Hell be a major part of what Dallas does come Sunday afternoon agains the NFLs best run defense in that of the 49ers. That was the case last week against Tampa with Pollard averaging 5.1 yards on 15 attempts.

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Saquon Barkley stats (2022):295 attempts, 1,312 rushing yards, 4.4 average, 57 receptions, 338 yards, 1,650 total yards, 10 TD

New York will need the explosive version of Barkley if the team is going to pull off an upset during Wild Card Weekend against the Minnesota Vikings. Returning from two injury-plagued seasons, this Penn State product was as dynamic as ever during the regular year.

Barkley put up north of 100 total yards seven times in 16 regular-season games. That included tallying 133 total yards in a narrow Week 16 loss to the Vikings. He went for another 109 total yards last week. A repeat performance Saturday night against Philadelphia could lead to an upset.

Christian McCaffrey stats (2022):244 attempts, 1,139 rushing yards, 4.7 average, 85 receptions, 741 yards, 1,880 total yards, 13 TD

CMC continued his dominant recent play in the NFL Wild Card round with 136 total yards in San Franciscos blowout win over the Seattle Seahawks. That included a career-long 68-yard run to help facilitate the 49ers first touchdown of the game.

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Since being acquired from the Carolina Panthers in a blockbuster trade, McCaffrey has been special in San Francisco. In the 10 full games that he has played in, the 49ers are undefeated.Hes tallied 1,284 total yards and 10 touchdowns. He is by far the best running back remaining in the NFL Playoffs. Its not close.

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