Five best running backs on the Atlanta Falcons schedule in 2020
The Atlanta Falcons will face off against some of the greatest running backs the NFL offers in 2020.
In 2019, the Atlanta Falcons defense was middle of the NFL when it came to a total number of rushing yards given up (1,775) and rushing touchdowns given up (13). Even the 2019 Super Bowl champions were worse against the rush than the Falcons. (You take any good news you can with a second straight losing season)
However, the level of running back talent the Atlanta Falcons will face in 2020 is far greater than it was in 2019. Sure, they will still face off against Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, and Dalvin Cook but there are a couple other backs that they will see in 2020 that trumps the talent in 2019.
Now that the time for players to opt-out of the 2020 season has come to an end, here are the top five running backs the Atlanta Falcons will face in 2020.
1. Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers
This should come as no surprise as Christian McCaffrey is the best running back in the NFL. Even in 2019 when the Panthers were without Cam Newton, the Panthers were able to rely heavily on CMC and he did not disappoint.
McCaffrey has faced off against the Falcons six times in his career and has some pretty eye-opening numbers. 133 total touches, 791 yards but just one touchdown. While he has been able to go up and down the field on the Falcons, the defense has done a great job of keeping him out of the endzone.
McCaffrey averages one touchdown for every 24 touches (attempts and catches) during his career, so the fact that the Falcons have held him to just one in 133 total touches is something to build off of.
2. Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas Cowboys
One of the top running backs in the NFL. The Falcons will face him and Dak Prescott in Week 2 when they head out to Dallas and play the Cowboys in Jerry’s World.
Ezekiel Elliott and the Atlanta Falcons have faced off just once, Week 10 of the 2018 season. He accumulated more than 200 yards but just one touchdown in what turned out to be a three-point win for the Cowboys in Atlanta.
The Cowboys offensive line are not nearly as good as they were just two seasons ago and the improved Atlanta Falcons defense should be ready for Elliott and the Cowboys offense.
3. Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints
The Atlanta metro area native always plays well against his hometown team. There may not be a better matchup and talent then Alvin Kamara and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael – who runs Sean Payton’s offense about as well as Payton did.
While Alvin Kamara’s six games against the Atlanta Falcons have not been as successful as Christian McCaffrey, he has still put up some eye-popping numbers; in 96 total touches, he has accumulated 564 yards. However, he has had zero combined touchdowns.
That is the definition of bend but don’t break defense.
4. Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings
Dalvin Cook has faced the Atlanta Falcons just one time – last season and he embarrassed the Falcons the first game of the year when he totaled 120 combined yards and two touchdowns. With Minnesota bringing a lot of their offense back in 2020, Cook will be a lot to handle for most defenses with another year of experience under his belt.
One of the most versatile running backs in the NFL, he had more than 1,100 yards, 500 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns. The Falcons will have to know where he is at all times in 2020.
5. Josh Jacobs – Las Vegas Raiders
Josh Jacobs was the only running back taken in the first 52 picks of the 2019 NFL draft and he made quite a name for himself as a rookie as he rushed for 1,150 yards and seven touchdowns. While he was not used much in the Raiders passing game, he did average nearly nine yards a reception as well.
Other notable running backs on the 2020 Atlanta Falcons schedule
Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks
Former Parkview Panther rushed for 1,230 yards in 2019 and added another 266 in the passing game for the Seahawks.
Phillip Lindsay – Denver Broncos
One of the best NFL stories of the last decade. He has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons. He will be part of a two-headed monster with Melvin Gordon in Denver.
Melvin Gordon – Denver Broncos
Speaking of Melvin Gordon, he was one of the most wanted running backs this offseason after his five-year marriage with the Chargers came to an unhappy end.
Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers
In 2019, Aaron Jones carried the ball 236 times for 1,084 yards and NFL leading rushing 16 touchdowns among running backs. He will be a lot to handle in 2020.