Since being traded from the Cleveland Browns to the Houston Texans near the end of the offseason, Duke Johnson has not provided the kind of production one would have expected. That being said, Johnson is coming off his best rushing performance of the season and is facing a Kansas City Chiefs team that just let Marlon Mack go off.
Although considered one of the league’s best teams, the Chiefs’ soft spot is most definitely the defensive side of the ball. While fellow running back Carlos Hyde has taken carries away from Johnson, the two have turned into quite a dynamic set of tailbacks.
However, it is Johnson that needs to set up if they plan on coming out of Arrowhead Stadium with a win. When Johnson is able to carry the ball, he is averaging a very impressive 6.4 yards per run. The Texans won’t stray far from the formula the Colts followed last week that led to their win in Kansas City.
Houston will have to run the ball right at the Chiefs defense as well as give Johnson the opportunity to receive little dump-offs from Deshaun Watson where he can make a play with blockers in front of him. Johnson is best utilized as a running back that can catch balls out of the backfield and the Texans must maximize his ability.
Indianapolis was able to give teams a formula on how to stop Patrick Mahomes and the high-powered Chiefs offense. The Texans will not win if they rely too heavily on Watson to simply just make plays for them. Johnson is a versatile back that fits perfectly into what Houston’s gameplan should be.
If he is able to get anywhere from 10-15 rushing attempts, it will open up the other aspects to Johnson’s game. The Texans should still try and utilize Hyde as a change of pace, but Hyde is too one-dimensional.
Having Johnson on the field gives Houston the threat to use him as a pass-catcher or a guy that is averaging more than five yards a run. We all know, Houston’s receivers are top-notch, including the Chiefs, and they will make sure it is not DeAndre Hopkins or Will Fuller that beats them.