NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Arian Foster, Chris Johnson, Top 10 Running Backs
The 2010 season of the National Football League has been as exciting as ever. There isn't an undefeated team through seven weeks, something NFL fans haven't seen in quite some time.
A lot of unknown journeymen are making names for themselves, en route to one of the most exciting seasons of NFL football we have seen.
This slideshow takes a look at the top 10 running backs, based on their production this season. Both rushing, receiving and kick/punt returns will be factored in, if necessary.
No. 10 Ray Rice- Baltimore Ravens
Last season with the Baltimore Ravens, former Rutgers standout Ray Rice managed to gain 1,339 yards on the ground, while finding the endzone seven times.
He proved that he was a viable threat out of the backfield, leading the Ravens in receiving, with 78 receptions for 702 yards and another touchdown.
In the offseason, the Ravens bulked up their receiving corps, trading for Pro Bowler Anquan Boldin, as well as signing Donte' Stallworth and T.J. Houshmenzadeh.
Despite the more balanced attack the Ravens offense is utilizing, Rice is still having a solid season, rushing for 523 yards and a touchdown, while making 24 receptions for 139 yards.
No. 9 Thomas Jones- Kansas City Chiefs
After a career season for the New York Jets, in which he rushed for 1,402 yards while scoring 14 touchdowns, Thomas Jones was castaway, as the Jets front office believed he was too old to continue that success.
In the offseason, the Kansas City Chiefs jumped on the opportunity to add a power-style running back to compliment their own speedster, Jamaal Charles.
The dynamic duo has ran the ball well, constantly keeping opposing defenses on their toes due to the change of pace style of running.
On the year, Jones has rushed for 461 yards and scored three touchdowns.
No. 8 Michael Turner- Atlanta Falcons
After a career year in 2008, in which Michael Turner rushed for 1,700 yards with 17 touchdowns, he was plagued by injury in the 2009 season. Despite the injuries, he still managed to rush for 871 yards, scoring 10 touchdowns in 11 games.
Turner is a thickly-built runner, and is hard to bring down, and is really a workhorse in the Atlanta Falcons backfield.
This season, he has rushed for 587 yards and three touchdowns, despite missing time due to injury.
No. 7 Frank Gore- San Francisco 49ers
Frank Gore of the San Francisco 49ers is another prime example of a workhorse running back. He carries the ball 18-25 times per game, and can always be counted on to gain those crucial three to four yards to move the chains.
After an impressive 2009 season in which Gore rushed for 1,120 yards with ten touchdowns, he is off to a slower start in 2010. The 49ers have been throwing the ball more, and Gore now has 573 yards with one touchdown on the year, but you can be sure he will hit the century mark.
No. 6 Steven Jackson- St. Louis Rams
Steven Jackson has been a superstar on one of the most lackluster teams in the National Football League for almost a decade. He eclipsed Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson and Marshall Faulk for the leader in rushing yards of a St. Louis Rams running back, but doesn't have the notoriety of the two.
Still, Jackson is a complete running back, and has never asked for a ticket out of St. Louis. Last year, Jackson rushed for 1,416 yards, scoring just four touchdowns due to the inconsistency of the Rams offense.
This season, Jackson has already rushed 617 times, finding the endzone twice, and has a little weight off his shoulders, thanks to rookie quarterback, Sam Bradford, making plays.
No. 5 Jamaal Charles- Kansas City Chiefs
Jamaal Charles exploded on to the scene last year, rushing for 1,120 yards and seven scores, catching 40 passes for 297 yards, and another touchdown, in limited playing time.
The Kansas City Chiefs added to his success by bringing in Thomas Jones, to create one of the most powerful running back tandems since the 2008 Carolina Panthers backfield of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.
Charles has seen his reps go down this year, due to the strong play of Jones, but his numbers would indicate otherwise. He has rushed for 489 yards with two touchdowns, and has caught 12 passes for 130 yards.
No. 4 Rashard Mendenhall- Pittsburgh Steelers
Rashard Mendenhall of the Pittsburgh Steelers got his chance to prove himself last season, rushing for 1,108 yards with seven touchdowns.
The Steelers felt confident enough in his ability to be an every down back to opt against grabbing another running back to compliment him in the wake of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's absense due to suspension.
Mendenhall hasn't let down, rushing for 532 yards and five touchdowns on the year, but it will be interesting to see if he continues to get as many opportunities to contribute now that "Big Ben" is back under center.
No. 3 Arian Foster- Houston Texans
When the Houston Texans drafted running back Ben Tate out of Auburn in the 2010 NFL Draft, Arian Foster believed he would serve as a complimentary backup for the rookie. However, after Tate was placed on Injured Reserve with an injury, Foster showed the Texans that he had what it took to carry the team.
On the season, he has rushed for 635 yards, scoring six touchdowns, and is averaging 105.8 yards per game!
He is a game-changing running back, and with defenses already focusing on all star wide receiver Andre Johnson, Foster's opportunities will not decline.
No. 2 Chris Johnson- Tennessee Titans
After an unprecedented 2009 season in which Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson rushed for 2,006 yards, 14 touchdowns, while catching 50 passes for 503 yards and three touchdowns, he said that the encore was yet to come.
Johnson stated in the offseason that his goal for 2010 was rushing for 2,500 yards. While he has been playing well, rushing for 662 yards with seven touchdowns, I don't see him gaining the 2,500 yards this year.
He has been inconsistent this season, and one game he will rush for 120, but run for 40 the next. Opposing defenses are stacking the box, and are forcing Vince Young to make plays.
No. 1 Adrian Peterson- Minnesota Vikings
Adrian Peterson, in my opinion is one of the best running backs I have ever seen. Since I am 18 years old, I missed out on the glory days of Walter Payton and Barry Sanders, but Peterson is simply in a league of his own.
Defenses stack the line with eight or nine defenders, and Peterson simply weaves, jukes, or powers his way through them. Last season, Peterson rushed for 1,383 yards, scoring 18 touchdowns.
This season, he is currently leading the National Football League in rushing, gaining 684 yards on the ground, while scoring five touchdowns. He hasn't fumbled yet this season, which was a major knock on him previously in his career.
With the recent addition of Randy Moss, along with weapons like Percy Harvin, defenses have to stay honest, leaving Peterson with more room to succeed.