If you’re looking for huge games from running backs, now is the time they are most likely to occur. There are a lot more gigantic running games in December than occur early in the season.

Derrick Henry, of course, is exhibit A, with back-to-back monster games. And we’ll see a few more such games from other running backs in the final two weeks.

Part of this (I think) can be attributed to offensive lines and running backs needing time to jell. Late in the year, everyone has a better idea of how plays are suppose to work, and how they need to be timed. Weather might also be a factor, with lesser conditions dictating more running.

And there are some teams nowadays that are simply out of it, with injuries piling up some franchises probably just mailing it in. You get a playoff contender against an also-ran, and it’s a recipe for big stats.

Whatever the reasons, 200-yard games tend to get a lot more popular late in the year. Since the move to 32 teams, there have been 9 200-yard games occurring in the first five weeks of the season. There have been 31 such games in the final five weeks -- over 3 times as many. (There have been 23 of those games in Weeks 6-12). And I’m looking at just the 2002-2017 seasons here, so no Derrick Henry against Jacksonville.

Here are those backs. Guys from the last five weeks of the season are in bold. The guys from the first five weeks have black dots.

20079Adrian Peterson, MINvs. SDW 35-17302969.93
20032• Jamal Lewis, BALvs. CLEW 33-13302959.82
200915Jerome Harrison, CLEat KCW 41-34342868.43
200917Jamaal Charles, KCat DENW 44-242525910.42
20117DeMarco Murray, DALvs. STLW 34-72525310.11
20129Doug Martin, TBat OAKW 42-322525110.04
200317LaDainian Tomlinson, SDvs. OAKW 21-14312437.82
201614LeVeon Bell, PITat BUFW 27-20382366.23
201511Doug Martin, TBat PHIW 45-17272358.70
200617Tiki Barber, NYGat WASW 34-282323410.23
20123• Jamaal Charles, KCat NOW 27-24332337.11
20101• Arian Foster, HOUvs. INDW 34-24332317.03
200217Clinton Portis, DENvs. ARIW 37-7242289.52
200213Ricky Williams, MIAat BUFL 21-38272288.42
201112Beanie Wells, ARIat STLW 23-20272288.41
20098Chris Johnson, TENvs. JACW 30-13242289.52
201216Jamaal Charles, KCvs. INDL 13-202222610.31
20076Adrian Peterson, MINat CHIW 34-312022411.23
201312Knowshon Moreno, DENat NEL 31-34372246.11
200614Willie Parker, PITvs. CLEW 27-7322237.01
20081• Michael Turner, ATLvs. DETW 34-212222010.02
200213LaDainian Tomlinson, SDvs. DENW 30-27372205.93
200515Tiki Barber, NYGvs. KCW 27-17292207.62
200317Ahman Green, GBvs. DENW 31-32021810.92
200314Clinton Portis, DENvs. KCW 45-27222189.95
20024• LaDainian Tomlinson, SDvs. NEW 21-14272178.02
201314LeSean McCoy, PHIvs. DETW 34-20292177.52
20072• Jamal Lewis, CLEvs. CINW 51-45272168.01
200214Ricky Williams, MIAvs. CHIW 27-9312167.02
200816Derrick Ward, NYGvs. CARW 34-281521514.30
20167Jay Ajayi, MIAvs. BUFW 28-25282147.61
200610Willie Parker, PITvs. NOW 38-31222139.72
201215Adrian Peterson, MINat STLW 36-22242128.81
200917Fred Jackson, BUFvs. INDW 30-7332126.40
200611Frank Gore, SFvs. SEAW 20-14242128.80
201313Adrian Peterson, MINvs. CHIW 23-20352116.00
200511Larry Johnson, KCat HOUW 45-17362115.92
201213Adrian Peterson, MINat GBL 14-232121010.01
201217DeAngelo Williams, CARat NOW 44-382121010.02
20096Thomas Jones, NYJvs. BUFL 13-16222109.51
201511Thomas Rawls, SEAvs. SFW 29-13302097.01
200817Michael Turner, ATLvs. STLW 31-27252088.31
20092• Frank Gore, SFvs. SEAW 23-101620712.92
201616Jay Ajayi, MIAat BUFW 34-31322066.41
200916Jonathan Stewart, CARat NYGW 41-9282067.41
20058Tiki Barber, NYGvs. WASW 36-0242068.61
20114• Matt Forte, CHIvs. CARW 34-29252058.21
200316Jamal Lewis, BALat CLEW 35-0222059.32
201113Ray Rice, BALat CLEW 24-10292047.01
200411Edgerrin James, INDat CHIW 41-10232048.91
20166Jay Ajayi, MIAvs. PITW 30-15252048.22
201411LeVeon Bell, PITat TENW 27-24332046.21
201115Reggie Bush, MIAat BUFW 30-23252038.11
200217Tiki Barber, NYGvs. PHIW 10-7322036.30
200517Tiki Barber, NYGat OAKW 30-21282037.31
201510Adrian Peterson, MINat OAKW 30-14262037.81
200412Rudi Johnson, CINvs. CLEW 58-48262027.82
200517Larry Johnson, KCvs. CINW 37-3262017.73
201411Jonas Gray, NEat INDW 42-20372015.44
200612Shaun Alexander, SEAvs. GBW 34-24402015.00
20125• Ahmad Bradshaw, NYGvs. CLEW 41-27302006.71
201217Alfred Morris, WASvs. DALW 28-18332006.13
20037LaDainian Tomlinson, SDat CLEW 26-20262007.71

If you want to lower the bar and look at games with 160-plus yards (also a very productive game), it still tilts strongly in favor of late year.

Since 2002 there have been 95 such games in the final five weeks of the season. There have been only 49 of those games in the first five weeks – about half as many.

Week 19
Week 212
Week 310
Week 410
Week 58
Week 611
Week 717
Week 813
Week 914
Week 1012
Week 1115
Week 1216
Week 1317
Week 1420
Week 1518
Week 1610
Week 1730

If we’re looking for a game with 160-plus yards this week, I would be thinking either Nick Chubb or Ezekiel Elliott. Both backs are really good, and they’re both at home against really bad run defenses.

—Ian Allan