Wild Card Round Comparisons: Running Backs

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By Paul Bowman, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Leading up to the Eagles matchup with the Chicago Bears on Sunday, Sports Talk Philly and Eagledelphia will compare the personnel of the two teams each day until gameday is here.

In this edition of our week-long comparison we will look at the running backs that the Bears and Eagles will field on Sunday.

Chicago RBs | Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen

The Bears have quite the combo at running back. They essentially have what the Eagles had hoped to have between Ajayi and Sproles at the top of the depth chart early in the season.

Jordan Howard provides the type of ground and pound, power running that the Eagles have missed much of this season. He is also the workhorse of the backfield. In 2018, Howard carried the ball 250 times for 935 yards and nine touchdowns. He has only topped 100 yards twice this season, however. He has not gotten back to the level he was at the previous two seasons and is averaging just over 3.7 yards per carry.

Cohen, on the other hand, has done much better than anticipated and has turned into a huge threat as a speedy scat back. While he does get some carries (averages 4.5 yards per carry), Cohen is a big receiving threat that cannot be overlooked. The back has racked up 733 yards on only 73 receptions and has registered five reception touchdowns.

Philadelphia RBs | Josh Adams, Wendell Smallwood, Darren Sproles

The Eagles running back room was devastated by injuries this season, leaving Wendell Smallwood as the only back that has been active with the team all season long. While Smallwood has yet to take on a major role in the offense, he has proven to be a good complimentary back and a good fit for the running back committee setup the Eagles run. He averaged nearly 4.2 yards per carry and earned himself 364 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

Josh Adams, an undrafted rookie, signed with the team in the spring, but found himself on the practice squad prior to injuries forcing him to the active roster. Since then, the first-year man has found a home with a running style similar to that of Jay Ajayi but with more speed. In the 11 games he actually played a role in this season, Adams racked up 562 yards on 130 carries (4.3 yards per carry). Adams did struggle to get anything at all going against the Rams and Texans, however.

Darren Sproles missed 11 games with a hamstring injury he suffered in week one, but looks to be back to his 2016 form since his return. A dangerous third-down back who provides much the same skill set as Cohen, Sproles has proved vital with 13 catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns since his return as well as 130 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown. Sproles also provides good blitz pickups and is a major reason that the Eagles have converted all five of the fourth down conversions they have attempted over the past two weeks.


The Bears will enter with two very young runners, one who is overachieving and one who is underachieving. Both play a significant role.

The Eagles will bring in an ever-dangerous veteran, an undrafted rookie and their own third-year player. The three backs have found a grove working as a committee and have much less defined roles than those of the Bears backs.

Both teams come in with receiving threats and somewhat of a power run attack. The Bears have two better established runners, but the Eagles have a rising star and a veteran who is as healthy as he’s been in three years. Chicago has the more consistent attack, and while Philadelphia has seemed to effectively get all three of their backs into a rhythm over the past few weeks, the Bears’ consistency takes the edge..



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