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New York Jets Run Defense vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Run Offense

The Bucs pass more than they run by a 403-293 ratio. Tampa might get more conservative this week with their rookie quarterback facing a blitzing defense. The top back on the roster is Cadillac Williams. He's got 572 yards on 144 carries, a 4.0 average. Williams has a lot of natural ability. He doesn't have a ton of weaknesses. The production hasn't really been there, though. Derrick Ward, his backup, is an elusive runner only averaging 3.6 per run on 84 carries. You have to think he's regretting leaving the Giants.

Williams and Ward are both good backs. The problem seems to be their blocking. We discussed earlier how Tampa Bay doesn't pass block well. Their run blocking also leaves something to be desired. The offensive line is comprised of five players who have consistently lost matchups this season. That's the only way a run game struggles with talented backs. Sione Pouha and Shaun Ellis have favorable matchups. Bart Scott and David Harris should stay relatively clean.

Given the run blocking struggles, it's somewhat surprising the Bucs haven't used Ernest Graham as a runner more. Graham is two years removed from a breakout 898 yard campaign. He's working primarily as a lead blocker this year. He's a tough inside runner capable of picking up tough yardage. He only has 12 carries this year.

One area the Bucs can burn the Jets on the ground is in the quarterback position. Josh Freeman has a 7.6 average on 18 carries. If the Jets sell out on the blitz, I do worry about Freeman's ability to turn a broken play into something if he finds some open field. Aside from that, the Jets seem to have an edge against the run.