What Are Realistic Expectations for Derrick Henry and Cam Akers Returning From Injury?

Tennessee Titans fan Mohammed Khan gives running back Derrick Henry (22) a crown after a game.
Tennessee Titans fan Mohammed Khan gives running back Derrick Henry (22) a crown after a game. / Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com / USA

A couple of featured running backs are returning in time for the NFL playoffs, with the Los Angeles Rams somehow getting Cam Akers back and with King Henry slated to make his return in the divisional round of the playoffs. Returning from injury, bettors need to consider what can be expected from these running backs in the playoffs.

Cam Akers has a game under his belt for the Rams

Akers’s first game back for Los Angeles wasn’t exactly a statistical outpouring, but it doesn’t matter. Akers played only 20% of the snaps, getting five carries and three targets. Quite frankly, none of it matters. I’m just happy that he got back on the field and got through the game without aggravating his injury. 

It’s safe to assume that Akers is not going to have a stranglehold on this backfield throughout the playoffs. Sony Michel has looked good, and Akers is the future of their backfield. They will likely be cautious with him again in the wild card game against the Arizona Cardinals, even in an elimination game. I would expect him to get a little more work than last week, but not by much. 

Derrick Henry has another week to rest

With the Tennessee Titans having the No. 1 seed in the AFC, they have a first round bye and home field advantage. Oddly enough, after they lost Henry for half the season, their run game kept on humming.

For the first right games of the season, the Titans offense averaged a whopping 39.4 carried, 16.5 rushing yards, and 9.6 rushing first downs per game. After losing Henry, the backfield of D’Onta Foreman, Dontrell Hilliard and Jeremy McNichols led a backfield that averaged 30.6 carries, 122 yards, and 6.8 rushing first downs per game.

Is it a decrease in production? Absolutely. But it’s still nothing to bat an eye at. 

The injury that Henry is returning from is much less severe than that of Akers. With Henry healthy and ready to roll, I would expect him to step back into his lead back duties in their first game. The Titans will host the lowest remaining team from the AFC after the Wild Card round, and will likely give their lead back a healthy workload.