Yes, the NFL is a passing league. Still, it is nearly impossible to try to win a Super Bowl without a proper running game.
The NFL franchises know they need a great ground offense. Even quarterbacks are getting better and better at running the football.
NFL teams have noticed the importance of being able to move the ball by ground. This comes especially handy when the offense is in the red zone.
It minimizes the risk of turnovers, and it drains the clock when you need to manage time properly. If you use it well, it opens scoring opportunities, helping you become unpredictable.
When you grade something like touchdowns, the player who scores more rushing TDs will be declared the winner.
The 2006 season saw LaDainian Tomlinson get 28 rushing TDs, a record that stands to this day. Recently, we’ve seen Tennessee’s RB Derrick Henry dominating this category, winning it back-to-back.
Henry actually wears the crown as the rushing touchdown leader in the last two years. But remember the plethora of talented backs we have in the league.
We’ve seen franchises defy the “passing league” mantra and get run-first offenses. Tennessee, Cleveland, San Francisco, and Baltimore are some examples—all playoff-hopeful teams.
Let’s see the contenders get the most rushing TDs in the 2021 season!
Derrick Henry – Can Henry three-peat as rushing TD leader? Sure. Henry has been unstoppable and stays healthy. He is a behemoth; taking him down is mission impossible.
He has scored 33 TDs in the last two seasons. Even though the Titans reinforced their offense with Julio Jones, when they are near the end zone, you can bet Henry will be the first option. In a 17-game season, Henry’s TD numbers should rise like foam.
He is a wrecking ball and can push the line of scrimmage like a piece of paper. His power on short-yardage is also absurd, the guy is a tank.
Dalvin Cook – Dalvin Cook is a stud. He is unbelievable, he actually makes his QB Kirk Cousins look better than he is just by hanging in the backfield. The other teams know he is dangerous. Minnesota has a top-tier receiving corp, but without Dalvin Cook, they wouldn’t shine.
Cook had the second-most rushing attempts, rushing yards, and rushing TDs in the league.
All behind Henry. Now, the downside with Cook is that he has never played a full season. He struggles with injuries from time to time and in an expanded season, that could turn into a concern. Either way, his numbers will be explosive.
He is the main reason Minnesota can threaten the Packers for the NFC North title. Don’t believe it? Watch his performance at Lambeau Field on Week 7 last season. He had more rushing yards than his QB had passing yards, and more TDs as well.
Christian McCaffrey – CMC is the best back in the league. He is undoubtedly on the top tier. His numbers don’t lie. In his last full season (2019) he had 15 rushing TDs, dancing with the best. The upside with McCaffrey is that he is the clear-cut no.1 option in this offense. However, there are two downsides that cause concerns when betting for CMC.
The first one is we saw the high usage getting the best of him. He got injured and lost most of the 2020 season. Injuries to backs tend to be repetitive or at least have lasting effects.
Also, he produces a lot, but many of his plays also come by air. Could he be his own enemy by getting passing TDs? Maybe it’s a stretch to go that far, but there’s a reason he is third in the betting lines.
Nick Chubb– As mentioned above, the Browns are one of the best rushing offenses in the NFL. Nick Chubb is one of the main reasons for this. He is a yard-getter. Chubb will produce from the backfield. Even if he shares it with Kareem Hunt, who gets lots of snaps as well.
However, when it comes to getting into the end zone, sharing snaps hurt him. Nick Chubb has 28 career TDs. Henry and Cook have scored more in the last two seasons.
To put it in perspective. Chubb had 12 TDs last season; his teammate Hunt had 11. When talking about this category, it’s better to go solo than being in a partnership from the backfield.
Alvin Kamara – Honestly, it’s surprising to see Kamara this low. The Saints lost their future HoF QB in Drew Brees. Their only top-tier WR, Michael Thomas, will be out until the second month of action. The only way the Saints produce goods is by handing the ball to Kamara.
Plus, Kamara is as talented as any back in the league. Last season alone, he scored 16. Seven, yes, seven of them came against the Vikings on Christmas day. Kamara finds the end zone with ease.
The only downside here besides any injury would be if Taysom Hill is the QB. Hill runs the ball a lot and could decrease Kamara’s output near the end zone. Otherwise, he is a prolific player.
Ezekiel Elliott – What happened to Zeke? Usually seen at the top table of running backs in the league, Elliott had an awful 2020 season. He turned the ball over six times, the most among running backs.
He also had a career-low in rushing TDs and failed to get to the 1000-yard mark. And we are talking about a two-time rushing yards champion here.
Now, Dallas as a whole was dreadful, so let’s give Zeke the benefit of the doubt, and feed him in 2021. If the Cowboys want to aspire to high success, Zeke needs to deliver. He has the quality; he has the tools. Elliott needs to forget his last season, and stay sharp.
Aaron Jones – If you had Jones in your Fantasy team last year, chances are you’re ticked off with Packers’ HC Matt LaFleur. We are not here to talk about Fantasy, but this is how it all ties in. Jones’ owners were mad, and so should have been his rushing TD’s bettors.
Green Bay was the only team to pass more than they ran on offensive plays from the 1-yard-line in 2020. Basically, Aaron Jones could’ve got a lot more rushing TDs if it weren’t for the play calling on the infamous 1-yarder. Still, Showtime ended with a respectable 9 rushing TDs, what could’ve been…
LaFleur is still there, Aaron Rodgers is still there, Davante Adams is still there… The situation shouldn’t change much. The Packers were the best offense in points scored. You don’t change what isn’t broken.
Antonio Gibson – Here’s a sleeper, how about A-Gib going all the way as rushing TD champion? Well, it’s not going to happen, but the sophomore year should be a good one for Gibson.
The reason it’s not happening is simple. Washington’s offense is not good enough. Their strength relies on their defense. Even with new QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, he is a reckless slinger. Gibson is a back who will shine, but his output should mimic the 2020 season, with 11 TDs. Not enough.
Saquon Barkley – Have you noticed how three of the backs in this category are from the NFC East? There’s a reason for it, the three teams had their backs in really high regard. Barkley is a superstar. If healthy, he is top 5 in the position, with ease.
Unfortunately, that is a big ‘if.’ A gigantic one. In the last two seasons, he has missed 19 games. He only played twice last season. The Giants’ have a lot of weapons at their disposal, but if Barkley is healthy, he’ll get the snaps near the end zone. Can he stay on the field, though?
JK Dobbins – The Ravens were the worst-ranked passing offense in the NFL. How can they only pass the ball an average of 171.2 yards per game? Maybe because they ran it 191.9 yards per matchup. Top of the league, of course.
Even though many—validly—credit QB Lamar Jackson (he is +5000 to lead the league in rushing TDs by the way) for their rushing prowess, Dobbins was key as well. As a rookie, Dobbins got 9 TDs, sharing the backfield with Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards, and Jackson.
With Ingram out of the team, Dobbins should have some more snaps. That could translate to more trips into the end zone.
1. Go to your sportsbook and log in.
2. Look for the tab with ‘Betting Odds on NFL.’
3. Click on ‘Player Futures.’
4. Select ‘Most Rushing TDs.’
5. Place your bet on the bet-slip window.