Monday Night Football will have a few exciting matchups to witness as the Houston Texans take on the Patriots at Gillette Stadium. One of the more interesting pair happen to be players a the same position with running backs Arian Foster and Stevan Ridley.
At first thought, the mentioning of Foster would almost carry the argument out the window with how dominant a player he has been for the past four years. Yet over this past year, Ridley has been an impact player in his own right.
Both Foster and Ridley are of similar size and weight and both have 1,000 plus yards rushing. They have been able to give their teams plenty of first downs, 64 and 66 respectively. Both also have managed to fumble only twice and lose one of those fumbles each. Both also sport a top ten offensive line in run blocking; which have helped these players rack up yardage and score as often as they do.
What makes them different:
What makes these players different is how their team uses them. Foster is used by the Texans more often than Ridley as he is a jack of all trades type of running back. Regardless of the situation, Foster is the back to get the most carries, spelled by Ben Tate as well as Justin Foresett sparingly. Foster is also targeted much more often in the passing game with 30 receptions on 44 targets.
Ridley on the other hand is used more so then any running back on his team, yet the Patriots use all their players for a specific role. While Ridley is used more often then not ( about 5:1 ) the Patriots use their players for specific situations and specific plays. In terms of the passing game, Quarterback Tom Brady is known for spreading the ball around to multiple receivers. As far as running back targets go, Danny Woodhead takes the cake as Ridley on has 6 receptions on 11 targets while Woodhead has 26 receptions on 32 targets.
What will separate these two players?
Ridley has the unfortunate news to play against the top rated defense against the run. Ridley will have his work cut out for him as the Texans have allowed only three rushing touchdowns and only 881 rushing yards, second only to Tampa Bay. If Ridley struggles early, it is likely that Tom Brady will attack the Texans defense through the air to expose injuries across the field; with Ridley’s targets being marginal at best.
Foster has an easier matchup against the 14th ranked rushing defense. Foster will however, have to battle the elements as Boston is much colder than Houston Texas. If the Texans begin to lose control of the game, the Texans will still use Foster as his big play ability, versatility and experience allow him to stay on the field and have his number called to make the play.
Edge : Foster
– Antonio Furgiuele