Despite a disappointing 8-8 season in 2011, the Philadelphia Eagles received a stellar performance from running back LeSean McCoy. In his second year as the team’s feature back, McCoy broke out for 1,309 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns, averaging 4.8 yards per carry. He led the NFL with 20 total scores and earned both a Pro Bowl and AP All-Pro bid.
McCoy should only be better in 2012. He’s still just 23 years old and he played just two years in college, so he has little mileage on him. McCoy will be without his All-Pro left tackle in Jason Peters, but Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans have been given well-deserved contract extensions, and both Jason Kelce and Danny Watkins will be entering their second seasons in offensive line coach Howard Mudd’s system.
McCoy has little-to-no injury history in the National Football League, and he should be a top-five running back in the game once again. Here are game-by-game predictions for McCoy in 2012.
Projected Stats: 20 rushes, 134 yards, 6.7 YPC, 1 TD; 2 receptions, 18 yards; 22 total touches, 122 yards, 1 TD
The Cleveland Browns were one of the NFL’s worst-rated defenses in 2011, allowing more rushing yards than any team in the game but one. They were torched for nearly 300 ground yards by the Houston Texans and over 250 by the Baltimore Ravens, and they should have a tough time containing LeSean McCoy in Week 1.
Projected Stats: 16 rushes, 75 yards, 4.7 YPC, 0 TD; 2 receptions, 20 yards; 18 total touches, 95 yards, 0 TD
LeSean McCoy won’t have as easy of a time against the Baltimore Ravens as he did against the Cleveland Browns, especially as the Ravens ranked second-best in the league in total yards allowed and average yards per attempt allowed.
The Ravens have an extremely formidable front seven with Haloti Ngata, Terrence Cody, Ray Lewis and Sergio Kindle (assuming the 2010 first-round pick can show something next year). They will be without Terrell Suggs next year, but they should still give McCoy a tough time on the ground.
Projected Stats: 24 rushes, 129 yards, 5.4 YPC, 2 TD; 3 receptions, 46 yards; 27 total touches, 175 yards, 2 TD
The Arizona Cardinals likely won’t be very good in 2012, whether they go with Kevin Kolb or John Skelton at quarterback. The Philadelphia Eagles should be able to beat up on the Cardinals subpar defense, and I expect Michael Vick to have one of his best games throwing the football.
That means LeSean McCoy will get to run the ball more than normal, as the Eagles should have a significant second-half lead.
Projected Stats: 19 rushes, 102 yards, 5.4 YPC, 1 TD; 4 receptions, 58 yards, 1 TD; 23 total touches, 160 yards, 2 TD
The New York Giants are the defending world champions and an extremely tough football team, but they’re not a great team in stopping the run. Three of the last four times LeSean McCoy has faced them, he has managed to top 100 rushing yards, including both contests next year.
I have him putting up one of his best all-around performances of the year in 2012, totaling 23 touches for 160 yards and two scores, and I think the Philadelphia Eagles will win this game in a shootout.
Projected Stats: 13 rushes, 49 yards, 3.8 YPC, 0 TD; 1 reception, 7 yards; 14 total touches, 56 yards, 0 TD
This represents LeSean McCoy’s worst game thus far of the 2012 season, but he will be playing the NFL’s stingiest defense in the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers were the No. 1-rated unit in the league last year in both scoring and total defense, and Andy Reid has never performed well against the Steelers.
The Eagles have averaged fewer than 15 points in the three times they’ve faced the Steelers under Reid, and they have scored just 18 total points the last two contests. This game will be a low-scoring one, and with McCoy’s performance totaling just 56 yards, I don’t think the Eagles will win.
Projected Stats: 20 rushes, 85 yards, 4.3 YPC, 1 TD; 5 receptions, 56 yards; 25 total touches, 141 yards, 1 TD
The Philadelphia Eagles facing the Detroit Lions could be a 42-35 shootout, or even higher. The Lions don’t have a good defense, and when the Eagles faced Detroit in 2007, they exploded for 56 points.
The Eagles will probably pass a ton, but I think McCoy having 20 carries is a reasonable number.
Projected Stats: 15 rushes, 59 yards, 3.9 YPC, 0 TD; 2 receptions, 11 yards; 17 total touches, 70 yards, 0 TD
I have the Atlanta Falcons winning the NFC South in 2012, and they have an underrated defense that consists of John Abraham, Ray Edwards and Sean Weatherspoon in the front seven, and Brent Grimes, Dunta Robinson and Asante Samuel in the backfield. The Philadelphia Eagles will struggle to score points, although the Eagles have always done well against the Falcons.
I have LeSean McCoy putting up so-so numbers but the Eagles winning.
Projected Stats: 23 rushes, 168 yards, 7.3 YPC, 2 TD; 3 receptions, 33 yards; 26 total touches, 201 yards, 2 TD
The Saints rated fourth-last in the league last year in opponents’ yards per carry, and I think LeSean McCoy will explode, a la Marshawn Lynch in the playoffs the other year.
Projected Stats: 17 rushes, 86 yards, 5.1 YPC, 0 TD; 6 receptions, 55 yards, 1 TD; 27 total touches, 141 yards, 1 TD
The matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys will be a tough one in both games in 2012, as the Cowboys added playmaking cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr, in addition to star defensive players Jay Ratliff and DeMarcus Ware.
I think LeSean McCoy will have a great all-around game, contributing out of both the backfield as a runner and as a receiver.
Projected Stats: 25 rushes, 125 yards, 5.0 YPC, 1 TD; 2 receptions, 20 yards; 27 total touches, 145 yards, 1 TD
This makes a heavy workload for LeSean McCoy, as he gets his third straight game with at least 25 total touches. He can handle a load though, and the Washington Redskins had a subpar defense last year.
McCoy only faced the Skins once in 2011 (missing the second contest due to injury), but he rushed the ball 28 times for 126 yards when he did play Washington.
Projected Stats: 11 rushes, 43 yards, 3.9 YPC, 1 TD; 5 receptions, 58 yards; 16 total touches, 101 yards, 1 TD
The Carolina Panthers had a subpar defense last year, but they made a significant move to upgrade that unit with the acquisition of linebacker Luke Kuechly in the NFL draft.
I think the Philadelphia Eagles will throw the ball a ton in this matchup, and it will be a heck of a game with Michael Vick and Cam Newton behind center for both teams.
Projected Stats: 14 rushes, 48 yards, 3.4 YPC, 0 TD; 3 receptions, 21 yards; 17 total touches, 69 yards, 0 TD
The Dallas Cowboys will have a really tough defense in 2012, and this will be the second time they’ll see LeSean McCoy. I think they will shut him down in this matchup, which puts more pressure on Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson and Co. in the contest.
Projected Stats: 22 rushes, 134 yards, 6.1 YPC, 2 TD; 3 receptions, 34 yards; 25 total touches, 168 yards, 2 TD
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the 32nd-rated scoring defense last year, the 30th-rated total defense, the 32nd-rated defense in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns allowed and the 31st-rated defense in yards allowed per rushing attempt. They gave up 200 yards in four separate contests and 160 ground yards 10 times.
I think LeSean McCoy will have a huge game against the Bucs when they meet in 2012, and 25 total touches for 168 yards and two scores would be one of his finest of the season.
Projected Stats: 19 rushes, 76 yards, 4.0 YPC, 0 TD; 2 receptions, 15 yards; 21 total touches, 91 yards; 0 TD
The Cincinnati Bengals had an underrated defense in 2011, ranking ninth in scoring defense and seventh in total yards allowed. Their run defense should be solid, and that’s why I have LeSean McCoy having about an average game by his standards in 2012.
Projected Stats: 22 rushes, 119 yards, 5.4 YPC, 1 TD; 7 receptions, 86 yards, 1 TD; 29 total touches, 205 yards, 2 TD
This would be maybe the best all-around game by LeSean McCoy in 2012. The Washington Redskins probably won’t be fighting for a playoff spot by this time in the season, but I bet the Philadelphia Eagles will.
Projected Stats: 20 rushes, 100 yards, 5.0 YPC, 2 TD; 4 receptions, 28 yards; 24 total touches, 128 yards, 2 TD
The Philadelphia Eagles against the defending world champion New York Giants in Week 17 in a game that could potentially decide anything from the final wild-card spot to the NFC East division title to even home-field advantage throughout the playoffs: It doesn’t get much better than that.
I have LeSean McCoy running for 100 yards for the eighth time this season and the Eagles coming away with a huge win.
Projected Season Stats: 300 carries, 1,532 yards, 5.3 YPC, 14 TD; 54 receptions, 566 yards, 3 TD; 344 total touches, 2,098 yards, 17 TD
Along with the stellar stats, I see LeSean McCoy starting for the NFC in the Pro Bowl. Adrian Peterson is recovering from a serious injury, and I think McCoy is the best this conference has to offer. McCoy will earn first-team All-Pro honors and finish in the top five in the league in MVP voting.