The Duel

3 Running Backs That Could Knock Off Ezekiel Elliott for the NFL Rushing Title in 2019

Zach Brunner
Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys
Detroit Lions v Dallas Cowboys / Tom Pennington/Getty Images
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The NFL has evolved into a pass-happy league over the past couple decades, making the role of a workhorse running back a rare one. However, there are some players who still serve as their team's bell cow. One such player is Ezekiel Elliott, who has led the NFL in rushing in two of the last three seasons, including 2018.

Given that Elliott has led the league in rushing in each season in which he's played at least 15 games, it could be tough to take the rushing title from him this season. Still, there are a few players who have a chance to knock off Elliott in 2019.

3. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

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Last season, Joe Mixon finished fourth in rushing yards, with 1,168, but he reached this total in just 14 games. His 83.4 yards per game average ranked No. 3 in the NFL, behind Elliott and Todd Gurley. The Cincinnati Bengals also get star receiver A.J. Green back from injury, which could open up more running lanes for Mixon.

2. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers

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Christian McCaffrey was a much improved rusher in 2018, tallying 1,098 rushing yards, which was No. 6 in the NFL, on 5.0 yards per carry. That's a massive leap from 2017, when he amassed just 435 rushing yards on 3.7 yards per carry. If he makes another leap in 2019, it's not a stretch to think McCaffrey could surpass Elliott and win the rushing title.

1. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

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Saquon Barkley finished second in rushing during his rookie season, running for 1,307 yards. Much like Elliott, Barkley basically has no competition for touches. The New York Giants also bolstered their offensive line with the addition of Kevin Zeitler, so Barkley could be even more efficient in 2019. Given that Barkley is one of the most talented players in football, he's got a chance to lead the league in rushing behind the Giants' revamped offensive line.


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