BOTTOM 5 RUSHING MATCHUPS WEEK 18
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Washington at Tampa Bay
The Washington ground game finished their regular season campaign averaging just over 100 rushing yards per game and a sub-par 4.0 yards per rush attempt. Antonio Gibson has been the workhorse of this mediocre ground game, when healthy. He has been dealing with a lingering toe injury that sidelined him from most of Week 13 until Week 16. Gibson’s workload showed no signs of limitation as he was afforded 19 carries in last Sunday night’s matchup, but he still looked hampered by the injury and now comes into this week on short rest with the Saturday game. Peyton Barber has worked in the backfield more often with Gibson out or limited, but he only played 10% and 6% of the snaps in the past two weeks with Gibson back on the field. J.D. McKissick, however, has been seeing the field quite often depending on the game script. McKissick is a passing down specialist and will not eat into many carries, but he could steal snaps from Gibson if Washington gets down early--which the Vegas line implies could occur. The Football Team’s offensive line has been playing quite well and remains healthy coming into this week’s matchup, despite being in a rough spot in this matchup.
The top-ranked Tampa Bay rushing defense will square off against a Washington team that ranked 26th in total rushing yards this year. The Buccaneers have allowed only three running backs to exceed 50 rushing yards and have given up just one rushing touchdown to running backs in their last seven games. This front seven is highlighted by a solid group of linebackers in Lavonte David, Devin White, and Shaq Barrett. However, White will be unavailable for this week’s game due to testing positive for Covid. While the absence of these two has more of an impact on the pass-rush than run defense, it still would knock this defense down a few notches. The interior defensive line remains intact and strong though, highlighted by impressive play all season from Ndamukong Suh and William Gholston. This line will have their hands full in the trenches, but Tampa Bay should still have the edge here even if down a couple of their star defensive players.
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