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Chris Carson

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Why Chris Carson will prove to be the Seahawks’ biggest X-Factor against the Falcons

When looking at the NFL’s Week 8 schedule, there are a couple great matchups that really stand out. The Seattle Seahawks versus the Atlanta Falcons is not one of them. Seattle has been a great team all season, and it shows in their 5-2 record. The Falcons on the other hand, have been simply abysmal. Their defense offers all the resistance of wet cardboard, while their offense hasn’t been anything to write home about. The entire Seahawks offense will have an easy day, but the strength of their team will come through again, with running back Chris Carson leading the team to an easy win.

If you take a cursory look at the Falcons’ rush defense, they don’t look too bad. Coach Dan Quinn’s defense is only allowing 3.7 yards per carry, a good number. But there’s a catch. When the opposing team gives their running back at least 20 carries, the Falcons’ run defense begins to fall apart. Three running backs have topped 20 carries, and two of them topped 100 yards. Chris Carson has had more than 20 carries four times this season, and three of these times he’s topped 100 yards by a healthy margin. In those three games, Carson is averaging 4.8 yards per carry. The stage is set for Carson to get fed the ball (more on that later) and succeed.

The Atlanta Falcons are currently 1-6. What that translates to is quite a bit of playing from behind. Unfortunately for Atlanta, the Seahawks are great at playing with the lead, due to their style of play. Coach Pete Carroll’s offense is powered by the run game and Chris Carson. To show just how effective the run game has been, we’ll look at adjusted yards per carry. This stat measures yards per carry, but eliminates all rushes past 10 yards to truly show a runner’s efficiency. Carson is averaging 4.1 adjusted yards per carry. If the former Oklahoma State Cowboy can match that against the Falcons, he’ll salt the game away for Seattle by just grinding out yardage towards the end of the game. It won’t be pretty for fantasy managers who start Carson, but he will be a key part in ending the game for Seattle.

Another thing that Carson has going for him is his strength. On three separate weeks, Carson has gained 100 yards after contact, according to NFL Research. That stat is absolutely ridiculous. It certainly helps in putting away games, when the defense is tired of tackling such a physical runner. All of these factors have set the stage for Carson to help lead the Seahawks to 6-2.