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TOP RUN BLOCKING DISADVANTAGES (WORST RUSHING MATCHUPS):
Jaguars -16.3 vs. Broncos*
San Francisco -15.7 at Rams
Lions -14.7 vs. Dolphins
Texans* -14.7 vs. Titans*
Packers -11.7 at Bills
Rams -11.3 vs. 49ers*
Colts -10.3 vs. Commanders*
*Denver OLB Baron Browning OUT
*Houston G A.J. Cann DNP Thu/Fri - illness; Tennessee DE Jeffery Simmons DNP all week - ankle
*San Francisco DT Arik Armstead OUT; LB Dre Greenlaw OUT
*Commanders LB Cole Holcomb OUT
Jacksonville Jaguars -16.3 vs. Denver Broncos
If there's one thing everyone in Denver can agree on it's that the Broncos defense has kept this team from being blown out of multiple games this season. Denver enters Week 8 in London with one of the highest rated run defense units according to our NFL Betting/Props Cheat Sheet. Ranking third overall in run stop win rate as a team per ESPN, Denver also has two players ranked top 10 overall at run stop win rate at each position, featuring D.J. Jones at #1 overall at defensive tackle. Bradley Chubb also ranks sixth overall per ESPN at run stop win rate and grades fifth overall at run defense per Pro Football Focus. Jacksonville also ranks dead last according to our consensus run block rankings, clocking in at 30th overall per Football Outsiders run blocking DVOA and 27th per Pro Football Focus' run blocking grade. Denver's front seven should have their way with Jacksonville, and this could lead to a frustrating game on the ground for Travis Etienne, and JaMychal Hasty to an extend. It will be tough to find running room against this front line.
San Francisco 49ers -15.7 at Los Angeles Rams
Christian McCaffrey's last game for Carolina was against this same Rams Defense, where CMC gained most of his rushing yards in the first half. Like Denver above, Los Angeles has two players in the top 10 for run stop win rate at each position. Justin Hollins rates ninth overall at DE/LB and A'Shawn Robinson rates fifth. The Rams front is #1 overall in our run defense consensus rankings, as PFF ranks Los Angeles #1 at run defense grade, ESPN #2 at run stop win rate, and Football Outsiders #3 at overall run defense. The Rams are also #5 in DVOA versus running back receiving, although McCaffrey could still get there with sheer volume in this matchup. It might not be the cleanest matchup on paper, but these two teams know each other well, and we expect each defense to show up and game plan well in this NFC South contest.
TOP RUN BLOCKING ADVANTAGES (BEST RUSHING MATCHUPS):
Bears* +18 at Cowboys
Vikings +15.3 vs.Cardinals
Titans +15.3 at Texans*
Saints +10.7 vs. Raiders
Eagles +10.3 vs. Steelers*
Browns* +10.3 vs.Bengals*
*Chicago T Larry Borom OUT; G Lukas Patrick placed on IR
*Houston DT Maliek Collins DNP all week
*Pittsburgh DT Larry Ogunjobi OUT
*Cleveland G Wyatt Teller DNP Thu/Fri; Cincinnati DE Trey Hendrickson DNP Thu/Fri
Chicago Bears +18 at Dallas Cowboys
PFF ranks Chicago as the #1 overall team in run blocking grade and our cheat sheet has the Bears as a top 10 consensus run blocking unit while factoring in their DVOA run defense ranking and ESPN run stop win rate. The Cowboys rank #1 across the board at pass rushing, but when it comes to run stopping, Dallas ranks below average, including a lowly 30th in ESPN's run stop win rate, 27th in run defense grade by PFF, and 25th in run defense DVOA by Football Outsiders. The Bear will be without guard Lukas Patrick and tackle Larry Borom, but both players are better at pass blocking than run blocking. No other team runs more than Chicago, and sheer volume alone here, even in a negative game script, could help the rushing trio of David Montgomery, Khalil Herbert and Justin Fields cash their overs in the ground game. Their longest rush props over are also worth a look here, especially given the recent success of Chicago coming off their Week 7 upset victory over the New England Patriots. This is the biggest run block advantage in our cheat sheet for all of Week 8, and the only real red flag here could be game script, as Chicago could be forced to abandon the run earlier than usual if Dallas is able to build an early and/or big lead here at home.
Minnesota Vikings +15.3 vs. Arizona Cardinals
The Minnesota Vikings are tied for the 2nd biggest run blocking advantage this week according to our NFL Betting/Props Cheat Sheet. Minnesota ranks fourth in run blocking grade by PFF, third by Football Outsiders DVOA, and seventh in nrun block win rate by ESPN. The Vikings actually sport the highest run blocking consensus average in the NFL when combining all three of those rankings. Coming off a bye last week, this could also be the healthiest the Vikings' offensive line has been all year. Center Garrett Bradbury leads the top-rated Vikings offensive line, as he ranks 7th at run block win rate by ESPN and 9th at run blocking by PFF. Guards Ed Ingram and Ezra Cleveland, along with tackle Brain O'Neill, all grade at least top 14 at run blocking per PFF. With another week of healing for the o-line and Dalvin Cook himself, we could indeed look at some rushing over props for the Vikings superstar running back on Sunday afternoon.
Tennessee Titans +15.3 at Houston Texans
We rank the Houston Texans as the worst run stopping defense in the NFL heading into Week 8, as they are dead last in PFF's run defense grade while also ranking bottom four (29th) in Football Outsiders' run defense DVOA and 25th in ESPN's run stop win rate. Derrick Henry is in an absolute smash spot in this AFC South Divisional clash, facing a defensive front line that has been ravaged this season by the likes of Josh Jacobs (20-143-3), Khalil Herbert (20-157-2, long rush of 52) and Jonathan Taylor (31-181-1).
By Ben Martinez & Chris Dell
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