Nick Chubb vs. Jonathan Taylor vs. Ezekiel Elliott: Who Will Win NFL Rushing Title?

Can Jonathan Taylor win the rushing title?
Can Jonathan Taylor win the rushing title? / Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY

With news coming out earlier this week that Derrick Henry will miss a majority, if not the entire season with a foot injury, the rushing title is back up for grabs.

Henry had a near 300 yard lead on the next closest running back, Jonathan Taylor, but now it's back up for grabs with a much more crowded field.

So, let's handicap the rest of the field and see who is in best shape going forward? Here are the current numbers heading into Week 9.

NFL Rushing Leaders Through Week 8

  • Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts: 649
  • Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns: 584
  • Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals: 572
  • Ezekiel Elliot, Dallas Cowboys: 571
  • Damien Harris, New England Patriots: 517
  • Darrell Henderson Jr., Los Angeles Rams: 507
  • James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars: 482
  • Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints: 480
  • Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens: 480

Can Taylor Run Away With the Crown?

Taylor has a steady lead on several running backs, and he's in great shape to take home the rushing crown.

First, he has a light schedule in terms of rushing defenses, starting on Thursday against the New York Jets that feature a rush-heavy script. The Colts are 10.5-point favorites at WynnBET Sportsbook as of this writing. The team also plays the Jaguars twice and the Cardinals, who are near the bottom of the league in rush defense success rate, meaning that Taylor is in prime position to rush for close to 1,500 yards on the year.

Second, the running backs chasing him, for the most part, are in time shares. Kareem Hunt is out for the foreseeable future, but Nick Chubb has been battling leg injuries all season. There is a chance the volume isn't there for the Browns back towards the end of the year to push for the title.

Elliott has looked spry of late, but he is splitting carries with Tony Pollard. With the NFC East likely in hand early this season, there's a strong likelihood that the Cowboys rest Elliott down the stretch to save him for the postseason.

Mixon is the dark horse, in control of the back field in Cincinnati, who have been a borderline elite offense this season with Joe Burrow at the helm. Cincy also plays some easy rush defenses such as the Chargers, but also play in the physical AFC North that may keep his rush total within reason.

So, I'll side with Taylor to have the motivation, get the reps and also the opportunity to run away with this title by the end of the season.

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