The Cleveland Browns have started the season a disappointing 2-4. Despite having two of the league’s best receivers, the passing game has yet to take off how many imagined.
But the good news for the Cleveland offense, running back Nick Chubb has gotten off to a tremendous start this season. With 607 yards rushing through six games and an average of 5.3 yards per carry over 114 attempts, Chubb has quickly turned into one of the premier backs in the NFL.
Chubb, who was drafted four picks after his University of Georgia teammate and current Patriots’ running back Sony Michel, may look for retribution against one of the teams that passed on him.
He rushed for 996 yards in his rookie season, a hair more than Michel. But this season, Chubb already has nearly 60 percent more yards on the ground than the Patriots’ top running back. To drive that point home, Chubb will attempt to do what only Frank Gore has done this season against New England — rush for over 100 yards.
Nick Chubb Matchup vs Patriots
New England boasts the NFL’s second-best run defense this season in terms of yards allowed per game as opponents average just 74.7 a contest so far in 2019.
But Chubb is the best rusher New England will have faced this season by a wide margin. And New England, likewise, is the best rushing defense Chubb will face this year.
Chubb already faced Baltimore, who ranks third in rushing defense just behind New England. The result was a 165-yard performance by the second-year back on 20 carries and three touchdowns in a winning effort.
The 49ers rushing defense is eighth in the league, but Chubb still shredded them for 87 yards on 16 carries (5.4 yards per carry).
This will be the fifth time Chubb faces a top-15 rushing defense this season. His lowest total came against the New York Jets who limited him to just 62 yards on 18 carries (3.4 YPC). New England, just coming off a win over the Jets, could take a page out of their division rival’s playbook for this Sunday.
Should You Start Chubb vs Patriots?
This is a tough decision. Obviously, New England’s rushing defense has been other-worldly for much of the 2019 season, but they have yet to face a top back like Chubb at any stage during the season.
When they were tested with a top back in Frank Gore, New England succumbed to his shifty, physical rushing style. But already, the Patriots faced Le’Veon Bell twice in 2019 and allowed a total of 105 yards rushing on 33 carries (3.2 YPC).
Now, the Patriots will work on limiting a running back averaging over 100 yards per game this season and certainly have the personnel to do so. But with rainy conditions expected and the Patriots’ pass defense even stronger, the Browns may look to keep the ball on the ground in an effort to control the clock.
Chubb will definitely get the carries and won’t be held completely in check. It’s definitely possible he will find paydirt and receive a healthy amount of carries, so give him a start but make sure you have a solid backup option.