Playoff semifinal matchup this week, and I'm not excited about needing to use Aaron Jones. He's been playing great, but he's on the road against a Bears defense ranked 2nd in run defense. The Bears have also allowed a league-low 4 rushing touchdowns.
On the one hand, as we've pointed out in the Weekly recently, schedule has helped. The Bears haven't faced a lot of great running games or elite running backs. On the other hand, they just got done shutting down one of the most elite guys, Todd Gurley. So what to do with Jones?
Here's how the Bears have fared against starting running backs this season -- who they've faced along the way, for good or ill, and how those players have done.
|LEAD RUNNING BACKS VS CHICAGO|
Touchdown numbers include receiving scores, which count the same.
The Bears shut down several guys who aren't as good as Jones: Williams, Barber, Crowell. They also shut down Carson (Seattle was using a committee and hadn't figured out its running game early in the season), McCoy and Cook, the latter of whom have battled injuries and haven't put up good rushing numbers against anyone. Not much evidence there that Jones must be benched this week. Gurley had a poor game.
Both Detroit backs finished with good numbers. So did James White, albeit as a receiver (Jones is getting some of those chances these days). Those three guys and David Johnson all scored. Barkley had a big game.
Ultimately, I suspect I'll be starting Jones. Gurley is the only great back the Bears have shut down. Some other good backs either were just fine (Barkley), or at least got in the end zone one way or another (David Johnson, James White, the Lions backs). The other guys who struggled haven't done much in their other games, either.
Kind of wish Jones weren't playing at Chicago this week, but nothing I can do about that one. Probably in my lineup for Week 15.