Patriots Running Backs Need to Be More Consistent
Sony Michel has had great games when healthy this year. The rookie has been a stud, making opponent’s respect the run game. Last week in Miami wasn’t the same ground game as we saw against the Vikings. Sony Michel has the talent and football IQ to have great games. The rookie just needs to be more consistent, weeks 4-6 he was running like a veteran.
New England lost him for a few weeks after a scary looking injury. Michel returned in week 10, although limited as the team wanted to be cautious. He had 11 attempts for 31 yards, and the Pats lost to Tennessee.
New England came out of the bye with Sony looking great, as he rushed for 133 yards on 21 touches and a touchdown. The last two weeks the Pats featured running back hasn’t eclipsed 65 yards on the ground or a touchdown.
The Running Game With The Return Of Rex
Sony’s Numbers were expected to go down slightly with Burkhead coming back from IR. The Patriots brought Rex back in week 12, and Michel had his second best game of the year. Since then, the numbers show that Michel is still getting the same amount of touches as he did weeks 4-6. The yards and touchdowns haven’t followed. Sony should get back on track against the Steelers, in a huge game for both teams.
Rex Burkhead came back from a long stint on the IR, looking to help the offense. The hope was to take some pressure off of Michel and James White, since they’ve been overworked most of the season. Rex didn’t play in week 12, while Sony and White ran all over the Jets. Burkhead’s return hasn’t been what I expected it to be. Rex has only 11 rushing attempts for 22 yards in two games, with 3 receptions for 24 yards. The Patriots could be bringing him back slowly, as they know what they’ve got in him from last year.
James White has been the glue, doing his job catching passes out of the backfield, also as the early down back on occasion.
White did have a good day running the ball alongside Michel in week 12, adding 73 yards on just 9 attempts. This was his highest total of rushing yards of the season. The following week, White had a great game against the Vikings. But last week against Miami he had his lowest output of the year rushing and catching the ball. New England’s on to Pittsburgh, and this running game should get back on track.
The Patriots Run Game Will Be Fine Moving foward
The Patriots have one of the best RB groups in the NFL, and they will need it against a tough Steelers run defefese. James White and Sony Michel could be used heavily this week to keep Pittsburgh’s potent offense on the sideline. James White and Sony Michel have been very impressive this year, but because of injury we’ve yet to see both at a high level consistently. The offensive line, and injuries to Gronk and Dwayne Allen, have also contributed to some inconsistencies in the run game.
New England is as healthy as it’s been all year, and the Patriots RBs are going to use that to their advantage. James White and Sony Michel will most certainly be used heavily, since history shows this is when New England starts to lean on the run game.
Rex Burkhead could have a breakout game, or he could still be getting some rest for the home stretch. Bill Belichick is impossible to predict, especially when it comes to RBs. Anyone who plays fantasy football knows that. The Steelers are having a rough stretch as of late, and I expect Michel and White to run all over them. New England’s RBs will set up the play action pass, and the Patriots will need the run game the rest of the way to be SB contenders.