Cleveland’s Nick Chubb was leading the NFL in rushing entering Week 17 last season but was passed on the final day by Tennessee’s Derrick Henry. Here are Chubb’s odds at Mybookie to lead the NFL in rushing yards in the 2020 regular season as well as his over/under yardage total.
Chubb was the No. 35 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Browns out of Georgia. In 2018, his 996 rushing yards set a Browns rookie record while his 1,145 scrimmage yards ranked second among all Cleveland rookies. Chubb played in all 16 games with nine starts, totaling 192 carries for 996 yards (5.2 avg.) with eight TDs and 20 receptions for 149 yards with two TDs.
He had four 100-yard rushing games and was the first Brown to accomplish feat in back-to-back games (Weeks 15-16) since 2012. He also became the first Cleveland player since 1975 (Greg Pruitt) with rush TD in five consecutive games (Weeks 9-10, 12-14). Among Browns rookies all-time, his 10 total TDs ranked tied for second while his eight rush TDs rank tied for third. Chubb had a 92-yard TD run vs Atlanta on Nov. 11, 2018, that was the longest in team history and second-longest by a rookie in NFL history. Chubb also became the first Browns player and fourth rookie in NFL history to record both rushing and receiving TDs in back-to-back contests.
Last year, Chubb had 1,494 rushing yards and eight touchdowns along with 36 receptions for 278 yards. His 1,494 rushing yards were the second-highest behind Derrick Henry, who rushed for 1,540 yards. Pro Football Focus charted Chubb as leading the league in yards after first contact last year.
Chubb has rushed for 2,490 yards in his first two seasons and scored 16 TDs, but even with that impressive production, there is room for improvement, especially in short-yardage situations in the opponent’s red zone. Chubb has had some struggles in short-yardage and goal-line runs in his pro career. For example, Chubb rushed 15 times inside the 5-yard line for the Browns last season. He lost a total of 14 yards on those carries while scoring just two touchdowns.
NFL Network analyst and Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson predicted Chubb will lead the league in rushing in the 2020 season.
“Since Nick Chubb was drafted in 2018, all he has done is broken the most tackles of any running back,” Tomlinson said. “He graded out the highest, according to Pro Football Focus, of any running back. And he’s only second in yards after contact to Derrick Henry. This guy is in the perfect offense. Kevin Stefanski’s offense is going to be two tight (ends), going to be run heavy, play action will come off that. That’s the perfect offense for Nick Chubb. He’s going to get the opportunity. I’ll go even a step further, guys. Nick Chubb will lead the league in rushing next year. He’s going to get the opportunities. I bet you he’ll approach almost 300 carries. I know they’ve got Kareem Hunt in the backfield. But Nick Chubb is a dog. And it’s about time people started respecting this man.”
The hiring of new Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski could bode well for Chubb. Stefanski’s lone full season as Minnesota’s offensive coordinator last year was tailback Dalvin Cook’s third season in the pros and far and away his best. Cook was relatively free of injury problems that had previously plagued him, but his numbers were scintillating all the same with career-highs of 1,135 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns.
Stefanski loves to run the football and uses it to setup the play-action passing game. As the Vikings offensive coordinator, Stefanski had the fourth highest run play percentage in the NFL. Stefanski is known for his zone running scheme, which best suits a one-cut running back who has the strength to break tackles and speed to break off a long run.
However, Chubb likely will have to share carries this year with Hunt. Hunt played in just eight games in 2019 but isn’t far removed from a rookie campaign that saw him finish as the league’s best running back with 1,327 yards. Hunt is a playmaker who can be a game changer whenever the ball is in his hands. Stefanski knows he will have to involve Hunt during games, and it may create more of a 50-50 split in the backfield.The Browns are 9-point underdogs for Week 1 in Baltimore.