There’s no denying the NFL continues to trend to more air raid offenses. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are fresh off a Super Bowl win, but having a productive run game remains important.

There are a number of ways to rank run blocking in the NFL. In this article, we’re going to be using the statistic yards before contact per rush to rank the worst run blocking units.

We can’t blame the offensive lines completely, as there are other factors such as quarterback play.


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If a defense can stack the box because of poor QB play, it’s tough to block everyone.

However, this statistic gives us a good gauge on which run blocking units are among the worst.

Less Than 2 Yards/Rush

In 2019, there were eight teams that averaged less than two yards before contact per rush.

Those teams are:

LAC (1.9)

WAS (1.9)

CIN (1.9)

TB (1.8)

JAX (1.8)

MIA (1.7)

PIT (1.4)

NYJ (1.4)

What did all of these teams have in common?

None of the teams finished the season with a winning record or made the NFL playoffs.

Another thing these teams all had in common was that they ranked in the bottom-half of the league in rushing yards. It’s tough to gain yards on the ground when you’re being hit immediately.

Here’s how these eight teams ranked in rushing yards per game in 2019: 

LAC (90.8 RYPG - 28th)

WAS (98.9 PYPG - 23rd)

CIN (94.8 RYPG - 25th)

TB (95.1 RYPG - 24th)

JAX (106.8 RYPG - 17th)

MIA (72.2 RYPG - 32nd)

PIT (90.4 RYPG - 29th)

NYJ (78.6 RYPG - 31st)

A few of these teams were expected to have strong running games in 2019.

Le’Veon Bell was expected to push the Jets in the right direction. Sam Darnold was injured for a bit, but the Jets struggled to block anyone and Bell ended the season with only 789 rushing yards.

Another team that was surprising to see here are the Jaguars. Leonard Fournette managed to put up big numbers (1152 rushing yards) despite poor run blocking, but he only had 3 rushing TDs.

Does Run Blocking Lead to Success?

Looking at the same statistic, four teams averaged more than three yards before contact per rush.

Those teams were:

ARI (3.3)

BAL (3.2)

CAR (3.1)

SF (3)

As you have probably surmised, run blocking doesn’t necessarily lead to success.


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The Panthers and Cardinals both missed the playoffs despite ranking well in yards before contact per rush.

However, the Ravens and 49ers both found success with a strong run game.

Playoff Bound

The 49ers made the Super Bowl and the Ravens played in the AFC Championship Game. Both teams ended up losing to the Chiefs, but it shows a strong run game is still important in the NFL.

Baltimore led the league in rushing (204.8 RYPG), while the 49ers ranked #2 (153.5 RYPG).

So, while run blocking doesn’t guarantee success in the NFL, the worst run blocking teams in the NFL last season struggled mightily, and you can use that information when betting in 2020.

With little on the betting board and many of you at home because of the coronavirus, I know a lot of you are spending time studying the NFL futures markets for the upcoming 2020 season.

When you’re handicapping NFL futures markets keep this information in mind.

Study every offensive line during your handicapping process. One way to utilize the data above is by looking at the “Will This Team Make the Playoffs” props available at many sportsbooks.

About the Author

Scott is one of our newest writer and handicapper here at ScoresAndStats.com, but he has been writing sports betting content for more than a decade online. His work has been featured on many websites.

 

Scott is a millennial (born in 1989) who grew up in Toronto, Canada and he has never left the big city. He grew up playing a few sports (hockey, soccer and baseball) when he was younger. His favorite sport was hockey and he played goalie. He still likes to get out to the rinks to play some pick-up with his buddies.

 

Growing up in Toronto, Scott is a huge fan of all Toronto teams.

 

He watches the Maple Leafs and Raptors religiously. Scott also enjoys watching the Blue Jays, Argonauts and TFC.

 

His best sports memory was when the Raptors were crowned the 2019 NBA Champions. Unfortunately, he’s still waiting for the Maple Leafs to win a Stanley Cup during his lifetime.

 

Scott may be a diehard fan of Toronto sports teams, but he loves watching all sports. He’s a huge UFC fan (look for his UFC betting articles for most events) and he’ll watch just about anything, including tennis, golf, soccer and cricket.

 

Scott is a numbers guy and he likes digging deep into the statistics when handicapping games. He also likes to identify value bets in markets most bettors overlook, including player/team props.

 

When he’s not handicapping and watching sports, he enjoys golfing in the warmer months. He also loves burgers and poutine. Not only is that his favorite meal, but he has tried over 100 burgers in Toronto and he’s constantly looking for the best new burgers in the city.

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